Thursday, September 30, 2010

Arthur Penn, Director of the Movie Bonnie and Clyde Passes at Age 88

Arthur Penn-- Director of the iconic 1967 hit movie Bonnie and Clyde has died. Many who are interested in this history, will comment about the accuracy of historical truth as portrayed in Bonnie & Clyde. However there's no doubt, this movie born of the rebellious '60's and inspired by John Toland's account of B&C within his book The Dillinger Days-- re-kindled long lost interest in the outlaws, which has only grown since that time.

I've told the story before as told to me by "Boots" Hinton-- about how Ted and "Boots" Hinton were asked to meet with Arthur Penn and Warren Beatty, for a dinner meeting to discuss historical aspects of the film. Long story short, when Ted and "Boots" showed for this meeting, both Penn and Beatty didn't show-- citing the need to be elsewhere concerning the movie. Therefore, no review of historical accuracy involving the 2 Texas lawmen-- one of whom participated in the true events. Now there's a really funny story which remains untold, regarding this get together which I know "Boots" would prefer I not relate-- at least for now. I'm not sure why??-- perhaps because the person focused upon in this story is still alive-- hint. Perhaps I can convince "Boots" to let me tell the story for this circumstance.

With thanks to Cindy, here's a link concerning the passing of Arthur Penn.

Also-- here's an interesting Bonnie and Clyde movie story as told by Warren Beatty.

"And"-- as many know, there are a number of clips from Bonnie and Clyde the movie scattered about blog right. But in honor of Arthur Penn, here's another-- the opening scene.


BarefootOkieGal said...

While I agree with most people that the film takes a great many liberties with the lives of B&C, it can't be denied that in the minds of most people, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway WERE Bonnie and Clyde. I believe the movie spurred a revived interested in B&C, and that in turn caused them to once more become the subjects of books and songs. (I like Merle Haggard's version!)

Unfortunately, the movie also either created or perpetuated myths that had no basis in reality. In the movie, Clyde is sexually dysfunctional and Bonnie is a bit of a nympho. In the movie, Bonnie is excited by the idea of a life of crime and eagerly takes part. In the movie, Bonnie and Clyde take on the aura of glamour, almost - and there was precious little glamour in their lives on the road, sleeping in the car, eating sandwiches and other foods that did not require must preparation. I don't know if the movie mentioned how many times Bonnie and Clyde had been shot even before the fatal ambush, and I don't believe they showed the horrible accident that burned Bonnie's leg so badly that she was never able to stand or walk properly again - THAT would not have looked very glamourous in the movie, would it have?

Still - Arthur Penn brought Bonnie and Clyde back to life after so many years and helped create a curiosity about them that has caused a lot of people to go to the trouble to try to find out the truth of B&C, and for that he deserves our appreciation! (Plus, I understand that if you watch the movie without bias or fussing about historical accuracy, it's actually quite a good flick!)

joe from Canada said...

This was the 60's, Batman was POW and PUNCH and BLAM. I agree with Cindy that at the end of the day it is a good movie.I truly beleive a remake of the movie today would result in a much darker film. Movies are for our enjoyment and not to make us depressed. Why would we expect reality from the movie when printed materials often does not print the real story about B&C. Yes, there are important occurances missing from the movie but I still watch it today.

On a side note, during the filming, a low number of vehicles/trucks were used. The vehicles were constantly painted and altered to look like different vehicle. So what was a gateaway car in one scene became a police car in another

A. Winston Woodward said...

I know some will disagree with me concerning the movie Bonnie and Clyde, in considering it more a statement of art or entertainment-- and thus shouldn't be considered within the realm of historical importance. But my take is-- when historical figures such as these were the focus of a movie, and the screenplay was seemingly built upon historical accounts-- then there should have been more diligence employed, in attempting to portray these individuals and accounts more accurately.

Fictional characters are one thing-- and spoofs are another. The movie Inglorious Basterds is a good example to me, of a story-- where historical figures and facts were altered for the movie. What if WWII had ended that way?? Hmmm. Also the film Bonnie & Clyde Vs Dracula, is obviously not a serious attempt at historical truth-- so issues concerning history are unimportant to that cause.

It is true, that most of the B&C books which could have provided more advanced historical insights were written after the '67 movie. But there was certainly enough history known concerning B&C, for those involved with the movie to have done more to get it right.

Plus it's my understanding, a meeting was set up to discuss the historical accuracy of the film. Those who were asked to provide these insights (Ted and "Boots" Hinton) appeared for this meeting. However, those who would have benefited from these insights-- were apparently too busy for historical clarification. I'm sure my knowledge of this failed meeting, affects my viewpoint in discussing the historical accuracy of Bonnie and Clyde the movie.

Many say that because of the movie, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty are often thought of as actually being Bonnie & Clyde. It seems too, that B&C lore as portrayed in the movie, is often believed as being truth within B&C History. "Thats" really the point, of why those responsible for B&C the movie-- "should" have done more in my view, to assure more accuracy for what became a classic film.

I suppose it could be said that in 1967, Bonnie and Clyde was made before the time-- when historical accuracy would be more the norm than the exception. That's why I hope Tonya Holly's project will be made. Yes, a new B&C will likely be darker and more realistic than it's predecessors. But it seems we've already experienced the "work of art" version. Now perhaps we can experience more of the truth.

dave said...

I don't think anyone, including Arthur Penn, had any idea the movie was going to draw so much interest for the truth and what actually occurred. I believe he didn't even want to make the movie. He only agreed after much "on his knees begging" from Warren Beatty. He made an entertaining movie with some of the facts right and a lot not right. This is done a lot in the movie business for the benefit of audience enjoyment. Bonnie and Clyde's actual exploits were far more nail biting then the movie. In most cases exploits in movies are exaggerated, not needed in the case of Bonnie and Clyde. If someone did make an accurate movie, how long would it have to be? So many characters to include. What would you have to leave out so it wasn't 6 hours long? The average audience would be lost. It would be like the movie "Gettysburg", where only the historical minded people sit through it. As for the film "Bonnie and Clyde", I enjoy it, always have, even knowing the discrepancies. I think Penn did a great job, considering he didn't even want to make it.

BarefootOkieGal said...

I absolutely agree with you, Winston - I'd love to see a historically-accurate version of Bonnie and Clyde portrayed in the movies. While they were not the glamorous criminals portrayed in the movie, their story is interesting and I think does not need any additions or deletions to make for a good movie just as it is. (I'm one of those folks who is still waiting for a version of "The Grapes of Wrath" that includes Steinbeck's original ending - isn't ANYONE interested in remaking old movies that might easily be BETTER than the original, nowadays?)

Felisa said...

I would love to see an historically accurate B&C movie, but am not optomistic of it ever being made. If this newest movie ever gets made I would definitely be excited to see it, but I wouldn't expect it to be correct. In fact, as soon as I heard Hilary Duff was cast as Bonnie all my hope went out the window for this one. Also, just like a previous poster stated-it would be hard to make a 2 hour movie without omitting many key elements of the true story anyway.
I'm new to this site and I have to say I'm impressed, Winston. Glad to see someone interested in the truth above all else. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing!

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Felisa and "welcome"!! Thank you for your kind words re: The B&CHB. I too feel the new Bonnie & Clyde movie has an uphill battle. Apparently with the way funding opportunities have been within what's still a weak economy-- that's been they key to Tonya's movie getting off the ground.

I'm not sure any movie portrayal of Bonnie & Clyde will do this saga justice-- but I'd like to see Tonya have the chance. She too, has a focus on accuracy in Bonnie & Clyde History.