BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)

Dir. Arthur Penn

A critic changed the face of Hollywood when Pauline Kael's 9,000-word rave in The New Yorker convinced critics who had panned this innovative gangster film to look at it in a more positive light. Warner Bros. hadn't been too high on the film either, consigning it to a B-movie release in drive-ins and second-run theaters. But as the critical tide changed and positive word of mouth grew, they reissued the picture with a big ad campaign trumpeting "They're young…they're in love...and they kill people." The result was a new hit, with audiences embracing a film that defied conventional narrative rules to mix drama, violence and slapstick comedy, opening the door to more daring films from a new generation of directors. Its production structure, with star Warren Beatty taking charge as producer, was also innovative. And the approval of the younger audience, who viewed glamorous 1930s gangsters Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the first representatives of the counter culture, turned the studios on to a new demographic they would exploit in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Easy Rider (1969).

In attendance: Robert Benton.

BONNIE AND CLYDE
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