TMT: Bonnie, Meet Clyde
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.
The entire series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.
11 Responses to “TMT: Bonnie, Meet Clyde”
Great memories from August 1967, not only of the California Theatre and a great movie (Bonnie and Clyde), but of your introduction to the wonderful world of caffeine. Talk about an eye-opener…
I loved reading this, and I’ve got to say…what the heck is a tongue sandwich?!
All my best,
Thank you very kindly, John. But, it’s you that got me to recall it all with your excellent film post. Funny how memory triggers work.
Ah, the tongue sandwich. I have my grandmother, my mother’s mother in fact, to thank for that teen inspiration. She first fed it to me in her home. Known as Lengua in Mexican households, it’s beef tongue. She would, like my mom did here, would boil it for a couple of hours, slice and serve it. Some would put it on salad, but I grew to love it as a sandwich. I can’t eat it now, but if I could, I would :-). It’s worth trying, and many people throughout the world enjoy cow tongue.
Tongue sandwiches and iced coffee at age 13?!? That’s quite the combo. I didn’t start enjoying coffee until my early 20s. Never had a tongue sandwich. 🙂
I actually just noticed last night that this film is on Netflix Instant. Hope to catch it sometime soon.
Yeah, and I paid for the combo ;-). See my reply to JKM about the tongue sandwich. It’s worth tasting, Eric. Many thanks.
I can always count on your post to give me a wonderful chuckle! What a great way to start my week. Thanks for the story, Michael!
My pleasure, Jen. Thank you very kindly.
Wow, what a movie to see at 13! I seriously don’t know HOW you could remember so much, Michael. I can’t even remember what I saw last year in such details, let alone a few decades ago!
Great TMT story as always. I never managed to see the entire movie of B&C but I did see the ending after reading Jack Deth’s guest review.
It’s a gift, and a curse sometimes, Ruth. There are some things I wish I could forget ;-). Perhaps, someday as I grow older.
Bonnie and Clyde really did define a new era of film. Some of its violence, compared to the strong stuff that is common place in cinema (mainstream and cult), may seem quaint for some of today’s moviegoers. Still, especially given the context and insight of people like Jack Deth (Kevin) and JKM, it really was a breakthrough film.
Many thanks, as always, Ruth.
Short comment from me: these are quickly becoming some of my favorite posts to read.
1967, wow. Just amazing this recollection for time.
Thank you so much, Sam. Glad to hear that someone else enjoys them.
[…] 1968: now, officially a teenager, I began my own rebellion in what would be the tumultuous year of 1968. If I could be contrary, as […]