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 and photos from Warner Bros.Seven Arts
As Bonnie Parker 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 made nearly 35 years after the crimes, with this film itself just over 51 years old. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty sizzle in the titular roles.
These two are supported by two Genes with Gene Hackman in the first of their collaborations, the other being Young Frankenstein (1974). This film is one of Hackman’s first cinematic film roles and the screen debut of Gene Wilder.
Bonnie and Clyde is a part myth, the 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 filmmaking with the film showing scenes of a more explicitly sexual and violent nature.
The film starts with an eerie sepia Warner Bros emblem, followed by a silent slide show punctuated only with the chilling click. This is 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 is enough to put the chills in you if you watch a similar lifespan (but as shown in a montage of home movies) for the opening credits for 500 Days of Summer (2009). That’s only if you mute the volume though! So I wouldn’t advise it…
Bonnie and Clyde‘s photographs are interspersed with the primary cast fading into blood-red. The prologue telling the back story of their real-life counterparts before they met in 1931. This sets 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 measured especially for this purpose). She spots a handsome young man (Beatty) apparently casing out her mother’s car. Bonnie calls to him and this breaking that silence as Bonnie meets Clyde.
Bonnie is kind of intrigued by him and his audacity. 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.
Clyde confesses he’s just out of jail for armed robbery and reading her like a book. This both fascinates and intrigues her. He tells her his job, he robs banks. She seems quite excited by this asking him pointed questions, as she’s girlishly coy over a soda.
As they approach a grocer’s store, she cheekily and flirtily asks him if he has the nerve to rob it. He brandishes a gun, she strokes it with obvious pleasure 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. 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 make love 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. Clyde tells her can give her all that she wants, this new life appealing to her. 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 with a gun. The farm owner returns saying the house has been retaken by the bank. 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 enrol the easily strayed C W Moss (Michael J Pollard) to be their getaway driver and mechanic.
He leaves his garage job to “work” 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 Beatty the man that Hollywood starlets would break their heart over and do.
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. Dunaway plays Bonnie like a cat toying with her prey in her and Beatty’s joint scenes.
Beatty and Dunaway play their roles convincingly. Showing their undeniable on-screen chemistry naturally, befitting each screen and in each interaction, they engage in. Both are believable in their on-screen relationship, showing the couples in a rounded way with 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 be more likeable than his more 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.
Pollard’s C W was played naively, trustingly and innocently. This actor 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 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 are 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 mutual 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. 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 had only the headlights of the car and the gunshots illuminating the action. The final scene, where Bonnie and Clyde are gunned down was Tarantino inspiring. Although comparing them, Tarantino is 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 and are separated by death is an image that stays with you long after the film. The gunmen see Bonnie and Clyde’s dying bodies through the glass of their car windscreen.
The silence is chilling and eerie and silent as those final credits return. 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: /10
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 One Step Beyond and Heaven Can Wait. Faye Dunaway stars in Network and The Towering Inferno. Gene Hackman is featured in Superman and as an Academy Award Winning Best Actor in a Superhero Movie. Hackman films also include Misunderstood. Gene Wilder’s tribute was written about in his role as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.