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Tag Archives: Filmmaking

Film Analysis: Bonnie and Clyde

006-bonnie-and-clyde-theredlistA Transitional and Thematic Study.

Bonnie and Clyde, one of the first 100 films chosen for preservation by the United States National Film Registry, was a crime film directed by Arthur Penn in 1967. The film starred Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow and Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker and it was distributed by Warner Brothers.

A simple synopsis, the film revolves around a dynamic duo, Bonnie and Clyde, who partake in various crimes ranging from small-time heists to bank robberies. The duo, along with three other accomplices, is pursued by law enforcement officials and is inevitably forced to evade them. Unexpectedly, rangers catch the felons and wound two of the group’s members. Bonnie, Clyde and CW manages to successfully escape without being hurt. The rangers receive information that the three are hiding at the home of CW’s father, Ivan. Ivan makes a mutual agreement with the rangers which allowed leniency for his son in exchange for the takedown of Bonnie and Clyde. In the end, Ivan sets up Bonnie and Clyde and the result is catastrophic. The police, hiding from the bushes, opens fire and shoots them mercilessly and fatally.

One of the most important scenes from Bonnie and Clyde was the bank robbery that resulted in the death of the bank manager. Bonnie and Clyde prepares to rob a bank while CW waited outside of the bank to aid in a quick and successful escape. However, CW comically decides to parallel park in a location unaware to Bonnie and Clyde. After Bonnie and Clyde exits the bank, they initially are unable to locate CW. They drive off hysterically hitting other vehicles. The bank manager jumps onto the vehicle and unexpectedly gets shot in the face. This scene marks an important transition in the progression of the duo’s criminal capabilities. Clyde admits that he never shot and killed a person before but he had no other alternative.

The scene had several shots; however all of these shots were long shots and medium long shots except for one shot which was a close up. Deep focus was prevalent throughout the entire scene- shots where everything within frame was clearly focused on. The type of sound used was diegetic meaning the sound emanated from the elements inside of the film. The scene is a transition from a comedic tone to a dramatic one and the director conveys this when he switches from all the long shots to a close up shot. The close-up shot is used to illustrate the murder of the bank manager and emphasizes the facial expression of Clyde as he shoots the manager in the face.

The most prevalent themes that the director wished to convey within this scene were crime and violence. And such themes were evident when Clyde robbed the bank and resorted to killing a man to facilitate escape. It was the first instance within the film where we notice the transition from mediocre petty crimes to a fatal, catastrophic crime. Throughout other scenes in the movie, the violence intensifies making this film a bona-fide gangster crime film, breaking all the taboos associated with filmmaking at that time.

The idea of this movie reflected events that were once part of American history. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ruthless bank robbers who operated during the Great Depression and most of the scenes in the film represent actual events that transpired during their run from the law.