This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Well, friend and author John Kenneth Muir has done it again. Not only does he have another fine series going, Savage Cinema, but he’s showcasing a work this week that literally turned the page to a new era of film upon its release:
“By positioning violence as both sexual thrill and appropriate response to out-of-control, avaricious capitalism, the Penn film initiates the Savage Cinema in fine and, yes, provocative form. The film’s immortal (not immoral) charm rests largely on the almost-innocent performances of young Beatty and Dunaway, a sense of moral righteousness about the characters’ brand of violence, and the intense, tragic,bloody ending, which is foreshadowed throughout the latter half of the movie.”
I highly recommend JKM’s look at this extraordinary film. As usual, his stellar post inspired another memory download on my part.
The California Theatre:
Images c/o Cinema Treasures site
August 1967: I turned thirteen, on August 13th, this year. Officially, a teen. Days before, my mother asked, as adolescence approached (let alone any sense of maturity), what I desired for my birthday meal. Let me tell you, my mind churned with that simple question. A taste of freedom and power came with that small gesture, offered by the one who bore me, too. As surely as a prisoner who’d been handed the set of keys to his cell door, I was a little drunk with it all.
Some of the words spoken that day still resound. Besides the usual request for a cake (“I don’t know if all those candles will fit on top.“, I recall Mom declaring sheepishly), I proclaimed that we’d have, drumroll please… tongue sandwiches and iced coffee. Honestly, that’s what I asked for. At the time, I’d tasted the former, but never tried the latter. On that date, true to her word, my mother served the three of us (she, my brother, and I) the requested repast. I ate and drank to my fullest.
The net effect, of course, was sleep avoided me till well after 3 AM that night! It was my eye-opening introduction to caffeine. And on that exact same day, Warner Bros-Seven Arts debuted Bonnie and Clyde in the U.S. I can still call to mind, in between their jabs and laughter at what their sister’s oldest had done to himself, my aunts giddily talking about their experience with this movie. So much so, this thirteen year-old had to see for himself what the fuss was all about. On a summer’s day in August, me and a friend bussed over to the California Theatre to find out why.
Easily, these were the most indelible events that marked my entrance to the tumultuous teen years ahead. And I can’t think of any two more appropriate, either.