Inspired by a brief but intense Cannes Film Festival argument between Robert Duvall and We Own The Night director James Gray about the merits of Arthur Penn and Warren Beatty‘s < Bonnie and Clyde, Toronto Star critic Peter Howell re-examines this 1967 classic and its several bold strokes in particular:
“It would be a serious movie about serial killers, but there would be plenty of laughs. And these outlaws would be seen not as dangerous and evil outlaws, but as sexy young lovers fighting a morally unjust society. There were other innovations: shooting was done mostly on location in Texas, editing was brisk and brutal and the sex and violence was pushed as far as possible. Almost too far: the bullet-strewn finale shocks even by today’s bloody standards.
“When Bonnie and Clyde opened in New York after premiering nine days earlier at the Montreal Film Festival, critical reaction almost killed it. N.Y. Times critic Bosley Crowther panned it as “a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy.” Warner Bros. quickly withdrew the film from circulation, but Beatty pushed for its return, aided by a rapturous review by The New Yorker‘s Pauline Kael.”