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Arthur Penn
Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Gene Wilder, Estelle Parsons, Denver Pyle
Writing Credits:
David Newman, Robert Benton

"The strangest damned gang you ever heard of. They're young. They're in love. They rob banks."

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway deliver pitch-perfect performances as the title characters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker in this depression-era crime drama. Young, beautiful Bonnie Parker is bored with life in her go-nowhere small town. When she meets the charming and ambitious fledgling criminal Clyde Barrow she sees her chance for a life of excitement. The two fall in love and gleefuly begin robbing small banks across Texas and Oklahoma, making headlines and gaining noteriety along the way. But while the people see the gang as courageous rebels fighting the powers that be, the law sees them as dangerous criminals who must be stopped.

Box Office:
$2.5 million.
Domestic Gross
$50 million.

Rated NR

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Monaural
Portuguese Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $20.97
Release Date: 3/25/2008

• “Love and Death: The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” Documentary
• “Revolution! The Making of Bonnie and Clyde” Documentary
• Warren Beatty Wardrobe Tests
• Two Deleted Scenes
• Trailers


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Bonnie And Clyde: Special Edition (1967)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 20, 2008)

Is it possible to view and review 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde outside of its historical significance? Probably not, and I doubt that many discussions of it that have occurred over the last 40 years have made significant mention of its then-graphic use of violence.

Yes, the film features a very bloody finale. (Normally I avoid anything that could possibly be a “spoiler”, but this aspect of the film is so well-known it enters “Darth Vader is Luke’s father” territory.) Is it very provocative in today’s climate? Nope. I can’t say that it’s tame by modern standards, but it clearly doesn’t present the shockingly graphic punch that audiences in 1967 experienced.

When I’ve looked at other opinions of the film, many of them seem to revolve around its historical impact. In fact, it becomes hard to see whether most people like the movie because it’s a solidly-crafted and entertaining piece of work - which it undoubtedly is - or due to the impression it made upon viewers at the time. Ultimately, I think Bonnie is a very interesting movie, but I’m not sure it lives up to its legendary status.

The film provides a broad and rambunctious adaptation of the real-life story of bank robbers Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty). According to the movie, these two met by happenstance and led a rollicking gang through infamous illegal adventures while they maintained a nearly unconsummated love affair. Along the way they became icons for those hammered by the Depression due to their enthusiastically anti-authoritarian style.

Although I know little about the reality of the events, it seems clear that the movie takes quite a few liberties and glamorizes much of the action. Barrow and Parker definitely weren’t as attractive as Beatty and Dunaway, and it’s also unlikely they were as stylish and compelling. From what I’ve read, the gang was much less well-organized and more of a mess.

None of that matters, for Bonnie never purports to tell a completely factual story. It provides a stylized version of events, and from that point of view, it succeeds nicely. The leads are more than adequate for their roles. Dunaway offers a nice combination of swaggering sexuality and confused vulnerability that makes Bonnie larger than life but still believable and real. On the surface, Beatty seems cast in type as a suave pretty-boy, but greater depth quickly emerges, especially as it becomes clear that Bonnie calls all the shots. The irony of super-stud Beatty portraying an impotent man may not have been as apparent 41 years ago, but it’s pretty funny now.

Add to this pair a very solid supporting cast and the film fires successfully in regard to the actors. Director Arthur Penn crafts a properly paced and compelling story that moves logically and briskly and Bonnie and Clyde presents a well-made movie. Frankly, I can’t say that it bowled me over, but I definitely like the movie and think that it achieves what it set out to do.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

Bonnie and Clyde appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. I found the picture to look very good, with only a few small concerns along the way.

Sharpness usually appeared pretty crisp and distinct, with little softness discerned. A couple of segments displayed moderate haziness - particularly a scene in which we met Bonnie’s mother, where the filmmakers intended fuzziness - but for the most part, the movie presented a clear and accurate image. Moiré effects and jagged edges never occurred, and edge enhancement remained minimal. Source flaws created almost no distractions. Despite the movie’s age, I noticed nary a speck or mark in this clean presentation. The only defect came from a thin vertical line that popped up in that scene with Bonnie’s mother.

The film tended toward a dusty, arid palette to match the setting, and the DVD reproduced the hues nicely. The visual design meant that the movie stayed subdued in terms of colors, but they looked well-rendered within those limitations. Black levels looked very deep and rich and provided fine contrast most of the time. Shadow detail appeared appropriately opaque but not excessively heavy, and all low-light sequences seemed nicely delineated. Bonnie wasn’t showcase material, largely due to the limitations of the source material, but I thought this transfers represented the flick well.

Less exciting but acceptable was the film’s monaural soundtrack. The audio seemed consistently decent but unexceptional. Dialogue was a bit thin and flat but sounded easily intelligible and articulate. Music was fairly bright and clear and also boasted some modest low end at times. Effects generally came across and accurate and crisp, but louder scenes occasionally featured distortion; various gunshots tended to appear harsh and crackly. Despite those flaws, I found the soundtrack of Bonnie to provide a presentation typical of the era.

How did the picture and audio of this 2008 Special Edition compare to those of the original 1999 DVD? Both provided similar sound, but the new disc offered a vast improvement in terms of visual quality. The 2008 disc appeared substantially cleaner, fresher and more dynamic, and it also lacked the terrible digital artifacting of its predecessor; that one looked like they shot it through a screen door. The new Bonnie may not be flawless, but it blew away the earlier release in terms of picture transfer.

While the old disc included almost no supplements, the SE provided a mix of components. First comes a History Channel documentary called Love and Death: The Story of Bonnie and Clyde. This 43-minute and 10-second show offers interviews with Clyde’s sister Marie Barrow, authors Michael Cox, John Neal Phillips, Frank Prassel and Jimmy Ray Gillman, UCLA Professor of History Roger McGrath, historian Jonathan Davis, and University of New Mexico Professor Dr. Paul A. Hutton.

“Death” offers a basic biography of Bonnie and Clyde as well as notes about the era in which they existed. The program doesn’t scintillate, as the production seems bland and uninspired. Nonetheless, it includes a good examination of the real characters behind the film. The manner in which the info emerges might tempt you to nap, but I can’t fault the quality of the material.

For a look at the creation of the flick, we go to Revolution! The Making of Bonnie and Clyde. It combines three featurettes for a total of one hour, four minutes and 49 seconds of material. These combine movie clips, archival footage and interviews with actor/producer Warren Beatty, director Arthur Penn, screenwriter Robert Benton, creative consultant Robert Towne, filmmaker Curtis Hanson, costume designer Theadora Van Runkle, press agent Dick Guttman, art director Dean Tavoularis, acting double Morgan Fairchild, editor Dede Allen, and actors Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons and Evans Evans Frankenheimer.

“Revolution” looks at the project’s origins and development, getting a director and aspects of the script, casting and performances, and Penn’s style on the set. It also discusses costumes and cinematography, sets, locations and production design, the film’s depiction of violence, and some scene specifics. Finally, “Revolution” digs into the flick’s editing, music, and reactions to it.

I miss the presence of a commentary for Bonnie, but “Revolution” helps compensate. The documentary covers the movie’s creation and reception in a consistently engrossing and entertaining manner. I very much like that we get so many of the principals, and they throw out a slew of useful details. The program gives us a fine look at Bonnie.

A collection of Warren Beatty Wardrobe Tests last seven minutes and 38 seconds. This silent reel shows Beatty in a variety of different costumes. It’s mildly interesting at best.

Two Deleted Scenes come next. We get “The Road to Mineola” (2:05) and “Outlaws” (3:17). These are also silent, so subtitles supply the dialogue. Both would have appeared fairly early in the film, as they focus on Bonnie, Clyde and CW before they meet up with Buck and his wife. “Mineola” shows the planning for a heist, while “Outlaws” presents an odd bathroom situation in which Bonnie prances while CW takes a bath and tries to keep her from seeing his unit. Clyde then warns her that their situation will get rough and she might want to leave. Both are pretty boring, to be honest.

Finally, we get the film’s original theatrical trailer and its teaser trailer, ads that definitely play in the spirit of the time. They avoid any seriously dated use of the period’s lingo, but still are clearly a product of the late Sixties. (The teaser is essentially just a shorter version of the full trailer.)

Although I’m not sure I think it’s the classic many make it out to be, Bonnie and Clyde unquestionably is a fine film that has exerted a strong influence over future movie making. It boasts some excellent acting and is a generally solid piece of work. The DVD provides average audio but comes with very good picture and extras. This becomes a fine representation of the flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.625 Stars Number of Votes: 24
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