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The Modernist

Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby The Modernist » 29 Feb 2008, 23:03

We'll do this next Friday as the board problems obviously have affected things.

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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby toomanyhatz » 03 Mar 2008, 01:37

I watched this and am ready to discuss it at any time, by the way.

I liked it, but expected more based on its reputation. Might be a case of having gotten there first rather than having done it better, is my feeling.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Sneelock » 03 Mar 2008, 19:52

as always, I rankle at these "reputation" responses. nothing personal hatz, it was bound to happen, you just got there first. most of these movies with reputations have gathered them over a period of time. get a load of the sort of thing that people said about it when it was new.
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(nyt reg. required) sure, Bowsley was "the old guard" and most of the hipsters and up and comers knew what was up. the type of thing that Godard was doing was getting a big budget American approach and this was seen, by many, as an exciting thing. now, I happen to think that a good movie is like a painting on a wall. you look at it and you decide if you like it. the new wave and socio-political concerns have nothing to do with if the movie gets you or not and it does get me.

I think Penn brings much more to the table than even the most enthusistic critics of the day laid at his feet. it's grand Amreican filmaking in the American tradition. sure, these guys are psychotics but they are the classic extended family that movies do so well from "John Ford" to "Animal House" and beyond.

sure, you can't hear barriers being broken when you watch notable films of the past. you either think these things make their own gravy or you don't. I do. I think it's a bracing and engaging film and that the "moral problems" of the film remain timely. I say this as someone who heard that terrible song on the radio a million times and always hated it.

I think Penn had a strong voice, that he was one of the best commercial American by-products of the foolish "auteur" theory. I say "foolish" but maybe I don't mean it. I guess I liked that period when the director seemed to be the 500 pound gorilla on a movie. I think it made for some dynamite movies and I think that's what we got here.

I will try to watch it again before next week, it's one of a handful of movies that I own so it's pretty easy to find.

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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Matt Wilson » 04 Mar 2008, 21:19

Guys, Penn had very little to do with that movie. He was no more than a hired hand by Warren (they had worked together on Mickey One). It's completely Beatty's picture. He produced, hired Penn, cast it, made almost all the creative decisions, etc. He also got the ball rolling with the project (Beatty was given the script from Truffaut--who hated Warren. Godard even tried to put a deal together to make it but it fell through).

The script originally had homosexual elements which were taken out by Penn (events in prison where Clyde Barrow spent time) but Penn thought keeping the pair heterosexual would be good business sense and it was. It was Beatty's idea to make Clyde impotent to poke fun at his playboy image. Penn didn't even like the final script and tried to withdraw but Robert Towne rewrote it so that it satisfied both Beatty and Penn.

Warren reportedly begged Warners to finance it and was given 40% of the gross since they thought it would be a dog. After it was a blockbuster he was filthy rich and a Hollywood 'player.' Arthur Penn was still Arthur Penn.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Sneelock » 04 Mar 2008, 22:59

I agree. no doubt about it. I like Penn and I like to toot his horn but Beatty is the man. I like Penn. I think he had a keen eye. I like "mickey one" a lot. I think maybe the fact that they didn't see eye to eye gave their films an interesting dynamic. Penn sort of disappears up his ass when he called his own shots. still, I think the guy had a strong hand as a director. on B and C, Beatty's was the strongest hand on the rudder, to be sure.

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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby LeBaron » 17 May 2008, 02:38

What happened here?
Did anyone watch it?
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Matt Wilson » 19 May 2008, 17:41

Il Baron wrote:What happened here?
Did anyone watch it?


I did.
The new reissue is a revelation.
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The Modernist

Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby The Modernist » 19 May 2008, 18:22

Wilson Schmilson wrote:
Il Baron wrote:What happened here?
Did anyone watch it?


I did.
The new reissue is a revelation.


I've been very lax with this..I won't bore you with excuses. I do want to resurrect the film club, but I've just not had the time in the last month or so.
Anyway I'd like to hear your thoughts on this Matt so I'll start the thread now.

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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Matt Wilson » 19 May 2008, 19:53

GoModdieGoApeGet NakedGetUrFreakon! wrote:
Wilson Schmilson wrote:
Il Baron wrote:What happened here?
Did anyone watch it?


I did.
The new reissue is a revelation.


I've been very lax with this..I won't bore you with excuses. I do want to resurrect the film club, but I've just not had the time in the last month or so.
Anyway I'd like to hear your thoughts on this Matt so I'll start the thread now.


You mean more thoughts than what I've already posted?

Well, I still like it. It's fun to see everybody looking so young (though Gene Hackman already looked middle aged). There's really no deep subtext involved here. They're glorifying gangsters in the most obvious way and they've played around with the actual events in order to Hollywoodize it (there's an excellent feature on the real Bonnie and Clyde on disc two) but so what? This is much like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in that it's merely there to enjoy, a movie stars picture which functions as a popcorn film but whose violent aethetic also functioned as a cataclysmic shift in what was tolerated in movies from then on. Not as profound as The Wild Bunch, Bonnie and Clyde may be more enjoyable though. There's a real feel for the period. The dust and the depression, the small towns and the 1930's garb.

I've always liked it. Would I feel the same if I were encountering the movie for the first time now? Probably not--but I can say that about most things I guess.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby PENK » 19 May 2008, 21:59

Gene Hackman is one of the weirdest-looking actors ever though isn't he? Even at the start of his career he looked like a really old baby.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Matt Wilson » 20 May 2008, 16:03

penk! wrote:Gene Hackman is one of the weirdest-looking actors ever though isn't he? Even at the start of his career he looked like a really old baby.


I don't know if he looks weird so much as just normal, like someone who'd be working a nine-to-five job for a living and not some multi-millionaire thespian. He's a character actor who even had a leading man career for awhile--much like Robert Duvall I guess.

He once commented on his looks by saying he felt like Erroll Flynn or someone like that but was surprised every time he looked in the mirror and realized he looked neither dashing nor handsome.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby The Modernist » 20 May 2008, 20:13

Wilson Schmilson wrote:
He once commented on his looks by saying he felt like Erroll Flynn or someone like that but was surprised every time he looked in the mirror and realized he looked neither dashing nor handsome.


John C. Reilly looks quite like him I think, although he has a very different screen presence.

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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 20 May 2008, 20:48

Wilson Schmilson wrote:There's really no deep subtext involved here. They're glorifying gangsters in the most obvious way and they've played around with the actual events in order to Hollywoodize it


Boy do I disagree with this.

If anything, they were trying to 'French New Wave-ize' it - not Hollywoodize it. Bonnie & Clyde was hardly trying to fit into the template that was churning out films like Thoroughly Modern Millie and Clambake at the time.

As for subtext, there's all sorts of themes running through the film. Of course, there are the obvious inferences that can be made be made of Clyde's impotence. In fact, the protagonist's inability to consumate their relationship in any non-violent arena is the film's engine in my opinion. I've also heard it argued that their depicted self-promotion provided an interesting commentary on the American character. I wouldn't argue against it too passionately. Lastly Bonnie's hyper-awareness of their mortality is an interesting thematic idea that probably deserves a more analytical mind than mine to explore.

I'm glad you enjoy it as a popcorn feature, but I think you might be underestimating it's ambitions.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Sneelock » 21 May 2008, 01:34

well, I think they were trying to "New Wave" it AND "Hollywood" ise it.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Matt Wilson » 21 May 2008, 16:54

Davey the Fat Boy (isn't he round?) wrote: If anything, they were trying to 'French New Wave-ize' it - not Hollywoodize it. Bonnie & Clyde was hardly trying to fit into the template that was churning out films like Thoroughly Modern Millie and Clambake at the time.

Well, as I stated in an earlier post--the project had a French origin, so that was there from the beginning. It wasn't something Beatty and co attempted to overlay onto the screenplay. And arbitrarily choosing Thouroughly Modern Millie and an Elvis film doesn't really help your thesis as those aren't representitive of most Hollywood pictures of the time either.

Davey the Fat Boy (isn't he round?) wrote:As for subtext, there's all sorts of themes running through the film. Of course, there are the obvious inferences that can be made be made of Clyde's impotence. In fact, the protagonist's inability to consumate their relationship in any non-violent arena is the film's engine in my opinion. I've also heard it argued that their depicted self-promotion provided an interesting commentary on the American character. I wouldn't argue against it too passionately. Lastly Bonnie's hyper-awareness of their mortality is an interesting thematic idea that probably deserves a more analytical mind than mine to explore.

Also, as I stated earlier, the impotence thing wasn't even in the initial screenplay that was something that was tacked on late in development. It's also (as you said) obvious as it's mentioned throughout the picture. If you choose to view this as subtext, then fine. It's not my idea of the "engine" though and is entirely fabricated by Beatty and probably Robert Towne: Two guys who are as "Hollywood" as they come. Again--not exactly reenforcing your 'New Wave' theory... :lol: The self-promotion being typical of the American character idea is good, the thing is--you can say that about so many American gangsters in the 20th Century: Al Capone, Dillinger, etc. Hardly a new idea, is it?

Davey the Fat Boy (isn't he round?) wrote:I'm glad you enjoy it as a popcorn feature, but I think you might be underestimating it's ambitions.


And I'm glad you think it's so deep, but I think you might be overestimating its ambitions. It's primarily remembered for introducing (for the time) extreme violence into mainstream U.S. cinema, not for any penetrating analysis of American culture or any correlation between sexuality and killing people.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 21 May 2008, 23:59

Matt,

You care too much about accepted wisdom. Who cares what Bonnie and Clyde is "primarily remembered for"? It endures because it is a good film made by people with ideas. You want to tell yourslef that there's nothing there - fine. You get nothing for your trouble.

And further - it's silly to argue that a thematic element in a film does not matter because it "was tacked on late in development". The fact is, it is there. And often these ideas come about late precisely because they are artistic revelations made in the process of discovery. Of course in the case of Bonnie and Clyde , there was originally a homosexual relationship between Clyde and CW earlier in development. Clearly the psychosexual landscape of the film was something that the artists found important enough to explore. And yes - I do think that the greater disconnect between Bonnie and Clyde is the film's engine. Crime serves the same purpose for them that lovemaking does for most couples.

Finally, the artists involved were not trying to "Hollywoodize" the film. To the extent that they were products of Hollywood, some of that was inescapable. But they tried to get both Truffaut and Godard involved at different points in the project. Clearly they were trying for an American answer to the French New Wave.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby toomanyhatz » 22 May 2008, 00:19

Also, I think there's much commentary about the difference between appearances and reality. The impotence started as an in-joke based on Beatty's image as a lover, but in addition to being a nice bit of self-depracating humor, it also subverts expectation. Even the violence, as it's being sytlized and as Blanche is being treated as an irritant (though in reality she's the only one that seems to recognize they're in almost constant danger), is concluded in the brutality of the final scene. Meaning, it's all the more shocking for the very fact that it is alluring, is sexy, but has an insidiousness lingering below the surface- for its maker and its watcher.

No denying it's great entertainment, but for the way it leads you on to thinking this is an appealing lifestyle- "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword" is the simplified version of it- it's about as un-Hollywood-ized as a Hollywood movie can be.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Matt Wilson » 22 May 2008, 19:55

Davey the Fat Boy (isn't he round?) wrote: Matt,

You care too much about accepted wisdom. Who cares what Bonnie and Clyde is "primarily remembered for"? It endures because it is a good film made by people with ideas. You want to tell yourslef that there's nothing there - fine. You get nothing for your trouble.

Now I never said there was nothing there. What I'm saying is I don't make as much of it as you do. If we both like the film, Davey--then what do you care if we have different reasons for doing so? Surely you must have something else in your life where you can direct your energies?

Davey the Fat Boy (isn't he round?) wrote:And further - it's silly to argue that a thematic element in a film does not matter because it "was tacked on late in development". The fact is, it is there. And often these ideas come about late precisely because they are artistic revelations made in the process of discovery. Of course in the case of Bonnie and Clyde , there was originally a homosexual relationship between Clyde and CW earlier in development. Clearly the psychosexual landscape of the film was something that the artists found important enough to explore. And yes - I do think that the greater disconnect between Bonnie and Clyde is the film's engine. Crime serves the same purpose for them that lovemaking does for most couples.

Now this is where we dissagree. This is where I do think you're reading too much into it. Crime does not serve as a substitute for Bonnie-at least not by her choice. She'd much rather make love to Clyde as she attempts multiple times in the film. Bonnie also is the one who is surprised when Clyde would do the whole crime thing again if they could start over. Clearly, she would stop that life style in an instant if she could. It's only Clyde who could do nothing else but crime. But it's really not a point worth debating. Again, I ask myself why it's so important to you to convince me that there's a great subtext to this movie. There's far less subtext than most other 'classic' gangster films of the past 40 years (Godfathers, Mean Streets, Goodfellas, etc.) Oh, and one more thing I'm going to bring up as I reread your paragraph--Beatty was just playing with his playboy image by making Clyde impotent. He thought it would be fun. This has been stated numerous times over the years. Now, if you want to call it the "psychosexual landscape of the film was something that the artists found important enough to explore" then fine. :lol: I'm reminded of your Brando extrapolations in some of his more mediocre films. We just see the world differently, I guess.

Davey the Fat Boy (isn't he round?) wrote:Finally, the artists involved were not trying to "Hollywoodize" the film. To the extent that they were products of Hollywood, some of that was inescapable. But they tried to get both Truffaut and Godard involved at different points in the project. Clearly they were trying for an American answer to the French New Wave.


Clearly to you, you mean. And Godard and Truffaut weren't asked to be involved at different points in the project once Beatty got involved. Truffaut brought the project to Warren and Godard's involvement predated even that.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 22 May 2008, 20:23

Matt,

Why would you think I give a fig about convincing you about anything? We're discussing Bonnie & Clyde. You made a silly statement and I disagreed with you. I could care less if you cling to your opinion. You ususally do. Please spare me the "surely you have something else in your life" business. Two posts does not make an obsession - but thanks for playing.

As for your take on Bonnie, I think you have an odd take on the word "substitute". A lot of people use Sweet and Low as a sugar substitute when they'd prefer real sugar. My point was that crime was the only ground on which they were capable of consumating their relationship. I did not argue that they were both happy about that fact - in fact the conflict it causes is what I was talking about in terms of the film's "engine".

As for your take on the impotence issue, as I said before - the original script depicted a homosexual relationship between Clyde and CW, so the issue of Clyde's sexuality pre-dated Beatty's involvement. Here's a nice write up of the film's creative genesis to back that up:

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/ ... clyde.html

Lastly - I'm not sure why you seem to think that nothing that happened prior to Beatty's involvement counts, but that's your tortured logic.
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Re: Film Club revisited- Bonnie & Clyde Friday 29th February

Postby Matt Wilson » 22 May 2008, 21:18

Davey the Fat Boy (isn't he round?) wrote: Matt,

Why would you think I give a fig about convincing you about anything? We're discussing Bonnie & Clyde. You made a silly statement and I disagreed with you. I could care less if you cling to your opinion. You ususally do. Please spare me the "surely you have something else in your life" business. Two posts does not make an obsession - but thanks for playing.

As for your take on Bonnie, I think you have an odd take on the word "substitute". A lot of people use Sweet and Low as a sugar substitute when they'd prefer real sugar. My point was that crime was the only ground on which they were capable of consumating their relationship. I did not argue that they were both happy about that fact - in fact the conflict it causes is what I was talking about in terms of the film's "engine".

As for your take on the impotence issue, as I said before - the original script depicted a homosexual relationship between Clyde and CW, so the issue of Clyde's sexuality pre-dated Beatty's involvement. Here's a nice write up of the film's creative genesis to back that up:

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/ ... clyde.html

Lastly - I'm not sure why you seem to think that nothing that happened prior to Beatty's involvement counts, but that's your tortured logic.


Nope, I'm not going to get involved in another multi-paragraph debate with you on the relative merits of subtext in Bonnie and Clyde. :lol: To break it all down--it means more to you than it does me. End. Of. Story.
You chose to see it as a psychological study of a couple's inability to come together (pun intended) through any means other than crime. I see it as a popcorn flick where the beautiful gangsters whom everyone's rooting for are shot down in the end just like every other gangster film Hollywood had ever made prior to 1967. Of course the film is both, now deal with it.

I'm done with this. Get the last word in like I know you want to and then let it lie.
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