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BONNIE AND CLYDE: Warren Beatty and the Zeitgeist

Bonnie and Clyde Faye Dunaway Warren Beatty'Bonnie and Clyde' movie revisited (photo: Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty in 'Bonnie and Clyde')

"'I remember a creative impatience by almost everyone involved," Warren Beatty reminisced about the making of Bonnie and Clyde for the Los Angeles Times' Geoff Boucher. "And there was so much energy on the screen," he added.

Early 21st-century DVD watchers will be able to check out some of that energy on Tuesday, March 25, 2008, when Warner Home Video will be releasing what Boucher refers to as "a lavish repackaging of the film that comes with a 36-page hardcover photo book and the new documentary Revolution! The Making of Bonnie and Clyde." Additionally, Boucher reminds us that Bonnie and Clyde is featured in Mark Harris' book Pictures at a Revolution, which "weaves together the history of 1967 best picture Oscar nominees Bonnie and Clyde, In the Heat of the Night (which won) and The Graduate to show an industry amid sea change."

'Bonnie and Clyde' and the 'zeitgeist'

Regarding Bonnie and Clyde's unexpected ability to zero in on the zeitgeist of the late '60s, Warren Beatty philosophized:

It was Victor Hugo who said that there's nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come. Something is going to happen, and certain things are going to be emblematic of that change, that flux. It was 1968. There was a storm in the world. If someone wants to give us credit for Bonnie and Clyde, I'm happy to take it.

Beatty then added (with a wink, as per Boucher), "I don't want to overwhelm you with my attempt to be attractively humble."

'Bonnie and Clyde' cast, Academy Awards

Directed by Arthur Penn, Bonnie and Clyde features Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow and Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker, in addition to Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Michael J. Pollard, Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor, and Gene Wilder. David Newman and Robert Benton were credited for the screenplay.

Bonnie and Clyde won two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress (Estelle Parsons) and Best Cinematography (Burnett Guffey). The film was nominated for eight other Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor (Warren Beatty), Best Actress (Faye Dunaway), Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman and Michael J. Pollard), and Best Costume Design (Theadora Van Runkle).

The Best Picture winner that year was Norman Jewison's cop drama In the Heat of the Night, starring Best Actor winner Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier. The year's Best Actress was Katharine Hepburn for another movie featuring Sidney Poitier, Stanley Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, also starring Spencer Tracy, and which earned William Rose the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

The Best Supporting Actor was George Kennedy for Stuart Rosenberg's prison drama Cool Hand Luke, starring Paul Newman. The Best Costume Design winner was John Truscott for the Joshua Logan-directed musical Camelot, starring Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave, and Franco Nero. And finally, the Best Director was Mike Nichols for the Dustin Hoffman / Anne Bancroft / Katharine Ross blockbuster The Graduate.

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty Bonnie and Clyde photo: Warner Bros.

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2 Comments to BONNIE AND CLYDE: Warren Beatty and the Zeitgeist

  1. beb

    Faye Dunaway, Estelle Parsons, and Michael J. Pollard are three good reasons to revisit Bonnie & Clyde.

    Not so sure about Warren Beatty…

  2. Jeff

    I've watched Bonnie & Clyde twice. I thinks it's ok, but I can't understand what the fuzz is all about. A Good Gangster Drama. That's it.

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