FILMS… Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

 

They Robbed Banks : The Story of Bonnie and Clyde…

 

With two wonderfully photogenic 1960s leads telling the true tale of those young loved up 1930s infamous violent bank robbers.

 

Bonnie And Clyde (1967) Official Trailer #1 – Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway Movie, Movieclips Classic Trailers

As Bonnie Parker herself wrote in her poem, The Trail’s End

If you still are in need of something to read,
Here is the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

This is the story of Bonnie and Clyde (1967),  as told by a movie from made nearly 35 years after the crimes, with this film itself just over 51 years old. With Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty in the titular roles. And supported by two Genes with Gene Hackman in the first of their collaborations, the other being Young Frankenstein (1974). But this film one of Hackman’s first cinematic film roles, and the screen debut of Gene Wilder.

Bonnie and Clyde is a part myth, part true biopic of those infamous violent robbers from the early 1930s… Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.  And the Barrow Gang. The film heralding a new kind of film making with the film showing scenes of a more explicit sexual and violent nature.

The film starting with an eerie sepia Warner Bros emblem, followed by a silent slide show punctuated only with the chilling click. This as we see each new photo of Bonnie, Clyde and other pertinent characters in this tale. These photographs showing “Bonnie” and “Clyde” from babies to as the pair are seen in the final prologue, the film talent playing them, in character.

This enough to put the chills in you if you watch the similar lifespan (but as shown in a montage of home movies) for the opening credits for 500 Days of Summer (2009). Should you mute the volume.  Bonnie and Clyde‘s photographs interspersed with the primary cast fading into blood-red. With the  prologue telling the back story of their real life counterparts before they met in 1931. And setting the time and tone of this movie.

We return to a Depression hit America, on the same timeline as The Postman Rings Twice (1981) and Pennies from Heaven (1981) for this true crime tale set in the 1930s. On meeting our leading lady, she’s in bed, nude and restless. Banging the rails of the bed with her fists, her anger showing us ominously that she’s not as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside. Bonnie (Dunaway)  gets up, and goes to the window with her breasts covered by the window frame (I assume made especially for this purpose). And she spots a handsome young man (Beatty) apparently casing out her mother’s car. She calls to him and this breaking that silence as Bonnie meets Clyde.

She’s kind of intrigued by him, and his audacity. So she dresses and goes to join him.  As their fates merge, she finds out he’s not out to steal the car as she suspected, as the pair fall into a slow, sexy flirtation. With him confessing he’s just out of jail for armed robbery, and reading her like a book. Which fascinates and intrigues her. And tells her his job, he robs banks. Which she seems quite excited by asking him pointed questions, as she’s girlishly coy on over a soda.

As they approach a grocer’s store, she cheekily and flirtily asks him if he has the nerve him to rob it. As he brandishes a gun, which she strokes with obvious pleasure. He then robs the bank, in a bid to impress her. After watching his final gunshot. it seems this crime is a bit of a turn on for her. She ferociously kisses him at the wheel after they make a getaway. And it is then that they introduce themselves to each other and the audience as Bonnie and Clyde.

Hoping to seduce this almost stranger, she’s saddened to find out that he isn’t able to perform in bed and makes to leave.  Still understanding her, without knowing her he believes correctly that she responds to flattery and that she wants the good things in life. And Clyde tells her can give her all that she wants, this new life appealing to her. With Bonnie appearing bored with her then routine as she knows it.

After showing her how to shoot at a derelict farm, he finds she’s a natural. The farm owner returns saying the house has been retaken by the bank. And this action of the banks angering Clyde. The three then take turns shooting the placard telling of the bank’s notification of re-ownership. Then Clyde tells the man and his friend that he and Bonnie rob banks.  This leading to Bonnie and Clyde robbing here and there, both successfully and unsuccessfully.

On a visit to a garage, the pair enroll the easily strayed C W Moss (Michael J Pollard) to be their getaway driver and mechanic. And he leaves the garage with the couple willingly. But the trio’s first job is almost bungled when C W parallel parks the car and is unable to make a quick getaway. On their departure Clyde shoots the manager in the face from the fleeing car, with this the gang’s first killing.

Clyde is implicated in this crime, and he’s identified by his photograph. After these events hit the newspapers, he is identified, but not the others. He appears tormented with regard to the implications for Bonnie. Clyde encourages the unidentified Bonnie to return home, this leading to a big decision for Bonnie…

In their first scenes together you meet this photogenic film couple as Bonnie and Clyde, they seem almost too pretty to play this violent couple. With Dunaway strikingly and flawlessly pretty and him the stuff Hollywood starlets would break their heart over. And did. In the initial scenes, the acting pair show their characters’ obvious attraction in subtle ways through her flirtatious looks, and the stroking of his gun and her coke bottle. Demonstrating a sexual undercurrent which is finally released like an orgasm as he joins her after robbing this first grocery store with her. With Dunaway playing Bonnie like a cat toying with her prey.

After this scene, Beatty and Dunaway continue play their roles convincingly. Showing their undeniable screen chemistry naturally and befitting each screen and in each interaction they engage in. Both believable in their screen relationship, showing the couples more tender moments as a couple, as the pair are seen with others and in their disagreements. These scenes made us understand their characters more fully, and their relationship as much more than a sexual attraction. But a relationship that they both understood each other so well, that they knew exactly how best to support or  to hurt each other.

In his screen time with Gene Hackman as Clyde’s brother, Beatty and Hackman as Buck Barrows show a great manly rapport. Hackman almost SHOUTING his lines with enthusiasm as Buck is reunited with his quieter brother, Clyde.  This made his Buck character more bumptious and to me more likable than his silent but violent brother. Estelle Parsons, in an Oscar-winning Supporting Actress role, played Buck’s wife Blanche. Blanche was a character that really irritated me with her shrillness and her whining on par with those initial scenes of Wendy in The Shining (1980). Her portrayal in the movie is one that the real Blanche Barrow was embarrassed at and she successfully sued the film about her movie depiction, as opposed to her true self.

Pollard’s C W was played naively, trustingly and innocently also earning a Best Supporting Actor award. As his character seemed in awe of his new-found celebrity and identity as “the unidentified man” in such (in)famous company .Gene Wilder in his debut showed his fear of the gang realistically as his character was taken hostage with his girlfriend. He then struck a black comic rapport with Buck.  Having not seen Young Frankenstein. it was nice to see the men who played Lex Luthor and Willy Wonka in some scenes showing a comic side to their characters.

At times the film almost had a Keystone cop feel to the robberies, with the accompanying music in scenes where characters escaped from the police. I was happy to see that there was less attention to those parts of this story, and more scenes on building their characters. Giving us a more rounded view of their characters, their nuances, aggravations and desires. These seen in those believable scenes where the couples had differences, in Bonnie and Blanche mutual hatred of each other and how events affected them individually. Most interesting to watch were the effects of the women’s animosity had on the Barrow brothers, as brothers and as their lovers.

With regards to scenes, these were beautifully set up and these often had a gritty feel to them. With the wardrobe of the leads becoming increasingly more stylish as the film progressed. This as the couple became more notorious and celebrity, This with anyone and everyone telling the press of their encounters with the gang. Scenes involving gunfire, these were executed showing the realistic effects of the gunfire on their victims. One scene shot at night, quite frighteningly had only the headlights of the car and the gunshots illuminating the action. The final scene, where Bonnie and Clyde are gunned down were Tarantino inspiring. Although comparing them, Tarantino more comic, less brutal.

This 54 second final scene, where the pair meet their maker is reportedly one of the most violent climaxes to a film at this time. The final scene of the lovers, as they scream to separated by death is an image that stays with you long after the film. As the gunmen see Bonnie and Clyde’s dying bodies through the glass of their car windscreen. and then the silence as chilling and eerie and silent as those final credits return. And it is there that we leave them with this chillingly, the last verse of Bonnie Parker’s poem…

Some day they’ll go down together
they’ll bury them side by side.
To few it’ll be grief,
to the law a relief
but it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.

 

Weeper Rating 😦  😦  😦 /10

Handsqueeze Rating 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 10

Hulk Rating: ‎  ‎ ‎mrgreen ‎  ‎mrgreen ‎  ‎mrgreen /10

Additional Trailer: No

Dynamic Duos in Classic Film Blogathon, No 25

This film was entered into the Dynamic Duos in Classic Film Blogathon run by Classic Movie Hub and Once Upon a Screen. Other posts here with this cast include Warren Beatty in that One Step Beyond episode. Faye Dunaway stars in Network and The Towering Inferno. Gene Hackman is featured as an Academy Award Winning Best Actor in a Superhero Movie.  And in Gene Wilder’s tribute was written about in his role as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

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6 thoughts on “FILMS… Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

  1. Brilliant film. It may not be 100% accurate, but it comes fairly close and is a very enjoyable film. Faye is awesome in this. The shooting scenes still come across as graphic and shocking even by today’s standards. The final shootout is horrifying. I think the way they were gunned down in real life was total overkill.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember when I first saw a picture of the actual Bonnie and Clyde. I was disappointed that they didn’t look like Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway (they weren’t even close)! Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway did make a great team in the film. It’s hard for me to see anyone else playing Bonnie and Clyde (even if the real life couple wasn’t nearly as good looking).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A landmark film that stays with you and a terrific choice for the blogathon. Bonnie and Clyde may actually be the most dynamic duo in the bunch. Thanks so much for joining us.

    Aurora

    Liked by 1 person

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