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.