Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bonnie and Clyde

Aurthur Penn's 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde is the first American film to be directly inspired by the films of the French New Wave (notably, to me, Breathless, Pierrot Le Fou and Weekend, which in turn may have been inspired from the original Bonnie and Clyde story).

Beyond its obvious influences, Bonnie and Clyde is a very erotic and sexual film. Here, we have bank-robbery-as-sexual-fetish, all the persuasion Bonnie Parker needs to ditch her quiet life and take off with the tough yet impotent (though I am not aware of his alleged sexual shortcomings, I have read he was supposedly a bisexual) Clyde Barrow, who totes his gun like an extension of his manhood. Barrow, with his overly confident gun toting exterior hiding an inner rage, seems to be overcompensating for his problems in the bedroom. As I watched the film and noticed the obvious phallic imagery, I thought back to Huston's The Maltese Falcon, where the subtle homoerotic relationship between Wilmur Cook (Elisha Cook, Jr.)and Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet) managed to slip past the censors. Wilmur, timid, wields two large automatic pistols while the "Fat Man," confident, totes a tiny handgun.

Apparently the film was supposed to have a scene that suggested a menage trios between Barrow, Parker, and C.W. Moss, but was cut or never filmed. My guess is that the film, already filled with bloody murders and overt sexual suggestions, was probably too shocking as it was.

No comments: