RogerBW's Blog

Bonnie and Clyde 05 July 2021

1967 crime, dir. Arthur Penn, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway: IMDb / allmovie. Bored girl meets bad man. Death ensues.

This was the film that Badlands inspired me to go back and watch: reviled by many contemporaneous critics for its gore and its glorification of unalloyedly bad people (the Production Code had only just been formally replaced by the MPAA rating system, though of course it had been largely ignored for some time), but rather more formative than Malick's piece in terms of the conventions of later film. (Though the messed-up sexuality shown here would generally be replaced later by enjoyable messed-up sexuality, at least enjoyable to the people involved, because that way you get to show a sex scene.)

What really struck me here was the performance from Dunaway, whom I'd only seen previously in the original Thomas Crown Affair where she didn't especially impress. Here she's able to get her teeth into the part and play probably the most complex character in the piece (though that's not a very high bar); to me that was exemplified by a late scene in which Bonnie asks Clyde what he'd do if they could start all over again, and his immediate response is "have my hideout the other side of a state border from the places I'm robbing". An armed robber is all Clyde is and all he can conceive of being (and Beatty plays him effectively as such)… and Bonnie, having committed herself to him and his activities, realises that there is no way out, and she's going to have to ride it to the end so she might as well do it with good grace. Dunaway doesn't get lines that express her reaction, and has to do it all with expressions and body language, but it's a superb piece of acting.

Once more if you want more of my witterings you should listen to Ribbon of Memes.

Tags: film reviews

See also:
The Thomas Crown Affair (I)

  1. Posted by Chris Bell at 11:14am on 05 July 2021

    Never bothered to see the film (nasty people behave in a nasty way; meh, says adolescent self) but I vividly remember that after it came out, everyone at my school felt obliged to dress as if she were in it; and skirts that length and shape make ordinary women's legs as opposed to Faye Dunaway's legs look as if they were heavy furniture. Wearing such uncomfortable and unflattering clothes probably warped the worldview of a generation of female mid-teens, after the comparative freedom of the fifties and early sixties.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1