Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Natural Born Killers

Bonnie and Clyde
Director: Arthur Penn
Cast: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Michael J. Pollard, Estelle Parsons
Released: August 13, 1967

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture (lost to In the Heat of the Night)
Best Director - Arthur Penn (lost to Mike Nichols for The Graduate)
Best Actor - Warren Beatty (lost to Rod Steiger for In the Heat of the Night)
Best Actress - Faye Dunaway (lost to Katharine Hepburn for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?)
Best Supporting Actor - Gene Hackman (lost to George Kennedy for Cool Hand Luke)
Best Supporting Actor - Michael J. Pollard (see above)
Best Supporting Actress - Estelle Parsons (won)
Best Original Screenplay - David Newman and Robert Benton (lost to William Rose for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?)
Best Cinematography (won)
Best Costume Design (lost to Camelot)

From one doomed couple to another - although I'm willing to bet that people are more familiar with Bonnie and Clyde than they are with War of the Roses.

Bonnie and Clyde is one of those movies saturated in pop cultures - it's been referenced in songs, movies, and TV shows and yet this was the first time I've seen it. Of course I knew what the story was about and how it ended so I wasn't exactly shocked with the ending!

Warren Beatty plays Clyde Barrow and Faye Dunaway plays his partner in crime, Bonnie Parker. The film opens up with Clyde trying to steal Bonnie's mother's car and Bonnie spots him from her bedroom window and comes down to stop him. He denies trying to steal her mother's car and that is how they are introduced.

He tells her that he has just been released from prison for robbery and she becomes intrigued by him. Bored by her life, she decides to join him and they start holding up small stores and gas stations. At one of the gas stations they hold up, they pick up an attendant named C.W. who proves his worth of being part of their gang when he steals the money from his own register. Also joining their group is Clyde's brother, Buck (Gene Hackman) and his wife, Blanche. All five of the main characters were nominated for Oscars but only Estelle Parsons who played Blanche won. Out of these five characters, Blanche was my least favorite. She was so loud and screechy! She was the one who shouldn't have been part of the gang because she didn't know what she was getting herself into, but she was supposed to be annoying because Bonnie sure couldn't stand her, so Parsons did a good job with that! God knows I wanted to smack her and tell her to shut up!

The Barrow Gang, as they call themselves, start robbing banks. C.W. acts as the getaway with Blanche while Bonnie, Clyde, and Buck go in with their guns and hold everyone at gunpoint and demand money. At one bank as they're getting away, the bank manager jumps onto their car and Clyde shoots him in the face. Now they're wanted for both robbery and murder and they all seem proud of the fact that they're famous in Texas and surrounding areas.

A person who didn't know the fate of Bonnie and Clyde and was watching this for the first time might think that they will get away - because for a minute it does look like that - but we all know better. This movie came out in 1967 and for the time it was extremely violent. I think it's pretty violent still watching it in this day and age! I don't think I've ever seen that many bullet holes in my life - I don't think I've seen anyone on film die in such a gruesome way! Well, I probably have, but Bonnie and Clyde (and their car!) were riddled with bullets. Those Texas law enforcements really wanted them dead - and they got their wish!

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