Tag Archives: Faye Dunaway

Cannes starts today!

OK, you all know by now what a big old Cannes geek I am, so, this year, I promise to keep the coverage to a minimum…you know, unless something really cool happens. And with a jury featuring Uma Thurman, Jude Law, and headed by Robert DeNiro and a new film by my man, Terrence Malick, screening in competition, some cool shit could definitely happen…so, stay tuned.

In the meantime, I wanted to be sure and share with you guys this year’s gorgeous new Cannes Film Festival poster. The picture is of Faye Dunaway and was taken in 1970 during production of her little-seen film “Puzzle of a Downfall Child”. I consider myself something of a Dunaway fan (especially of her early work!) and even I had never heard of this film, but, apparently it was the directorial debut of Jerry Schatzberg (who also took the pic on the poster) and, for whatever reason, was hardly ever shown stateside.

Anyway, a completely restored print of the film is going to be screened at Cannes this week, with both Dunaway and Schatzberg in attendance. And if the movie is even a quarter as slick as this poster, well, shit, sign me up for the Blu-Ray when it comes out. I mean, seriously, could Dunaway look any cooler in that shot?

Wow…let the festival begin!

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“Bonnie & Clyde: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” on DVD

Wow…I was gushing over Arthur Penn so hard in my last post that I totally forgot to mention that after years of being relegated to a horribly-grainy, extras-free, pan-and-scan DVD version, “Bonnie & Clyde” was finally given it’s due back in 2008 with the absolutely gorgeous “Bonnie & Clyde: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” DVD.

Remastered, restored and packed full of totally awesome DVD extras, this is the version to buy or, you know, receive as a lovely gift from your friend Ginger (thanks again, chica!). Disc one features a lush, widescreen transfer of the film that will really knock your socks off. Trust me, if it looks good on our old-ass TV, the image quality will positively dazzle on a good HD set!

Disc two features such super cool extras as “Love and Death: The Story of Bonnie & Clyde”, a History Channel documentary on the real-life Bonnie and Clyde, two deleted scenes, Warren Beatty’s original wardrobes tests, a replica of the original road show press kit, and a beautifully put together documentary entitled: “Revolution! The Making of Bonnie & Clyde”. Featuring outstanding interviews with every principal member of the cast and crew, this is the thing that really makes the second disc soar.

Warner Brothers may have taken their sweet time releasing a home video version worthy of this cinema classic, but, wow, they certainly did a bang-up job of it! One of the funniest things I learned from the extras was that Morgan Fairchild (who is interviewed in the “Revolution!” documentary) was actually Faye Dunaway’s stand-in on the shoot. Wow…who knew?

Oh, there is also a miniature folded reproduction of the original telegram that WB studio head, Jack Warner (who was never a fan of the movie, even after the acclaim) sent to Beatty and Penn on the first day of production, wishing them well. I know it sounds completely geeky, but, man, I love that little folded telegram to death. So cool!!

But all that awesomeness aside, my favorite extra in this slick, elegantly-appointed boxed set — even the DVD’s themselves are cool with little bullet holes over each of the stars faces! — is the 36-page collectors book of photos. Usually the so-called “books” included in collector’s edition DVDs are more like pamphlets, but, not this time. This is a genuine article book here, folks, loaded with some of the coolest behind-the-scenes pics you’ll find anywhere. Amazing!

And, hey, even if you don’t dig all the groovy extras, the pristine new print of the movie alone will, pun intended, blow you away. So, light a candle for the late, great Arthur Penn and get thee to a video store…

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Arthur Penn’s “Bonnie & Clyde”

Wow, man, I don’t know if it’s the heat wave or what, but, celebrities have been dropping like flies this past week. Old Rose, Tony Curtis, stand-up comedian Greg Giraldo, Tarantino’s kick-ass film editor Sally Menke, and now, the visionary director Arthur Penn. Sad!

Like many directors of his generation, Penn began his career directing stage plays on Broadway. And even then, he broke all the rules. Using bold, minimalistic sets and lighting, and cultivating a raw, naturalistic acting style in his actors, Penn literally changed the way we watched modern theatre.

And when he turned that eye towards television and, eventually, film, he truly revolutionized the way movies are made. The stage and screen versions of “The Miracle Worker”, “Little Big Man”, “Alice’s Restaurant”, “Night Moves”, and the little-seen, hipster-noir classic “Mickey One”, Penn’s filmography would be impressive even is he hadn’t directed “Bonnie & Clyde”. But lucky for us, he did, and the world is a better place because of it.

I know I go on about the movies I love, but, “Bonnie & Clyde” isn’t just a movie that I love, it is a movie that rocked my world the first time I saw it. I remember my brother Ryan and I literally trembling while watching it on TV for the first time. Seriously, we were in awe, man. The perfect cast acting at the top of their game, the darkly-hilarious script, that bad-ass, hillbilly soundtrack, and all those crazy jump cuts…whoa…we just about died.

Overnight, “Bonnie & Clyde” became one of my favorite movies. And in the many years since I first saw it, my appreciation for the film and its renegade director has only grown. I mean, shit, “Bonnie & Clyde” could have easily been just another cheap genre picture, a lurid, pulpy, crime drama for the drive-in theatre market. Actually, that’s what Warner Brothers expected to get for their money, but man, were they ever in for a surprise!

Working with an Oscar-nominated screenplay by David Newman and Robert Benton, Penn and producer/star Warren Beatty, crafted a genuine cinematic masterpiece. And unlike some of the celebrated films from the past, “Bonnie & Clyde” is no dusty relic, revered solely for it’s groundbreaking technique or subject matter. No way, baby, watching “Bonnie & Clyde” today is just as vivid and electric an experience as it must have been in the summer of 1967. Um, you know, minus the drive-in theatre part.

And though there are many things that make this movie great, I have to say that Arthur Penn’s direction was crucial to pulling it all off. Finding the right tone was key…funny and sexy one minute, dark and disturbing the next, Penn walked a tightrope in every scene and the movie crackles with excitement because of it. In fact, that’s probably what makes “Bonnie & Clyde” so modern and relevant today. Crazy tone shifts happen all the time in movies nowadays, but, Penn and company pioneered that shit, yo.

And sure, some might grouse that Penn borrowed liberally from the French New Wavers (who, hello, borrowed liberally from pulpy American genre movies to begin with) but with “Bonnie & Clyde”, Penn didn’t just make a great New Wave film…he actually made New Wave mainstream. And in doing so, Penn and company ushered in a whole new era of raw, gritty and most importantly, personal, American filmmaking. Suddenly, it wasn’t just OK for your big name, A-list leads to be antiheroes, it was cool too! The revolution had begun…

And the violence? Oh, man…forget about it, that shit is insane! Slow motion, fast motion, bullets flying everywhere, it was positively operatic and again, it changed the way violence was depicted onscreen forever. Some might say that’s not such a good thing considering the overuse of hyper-realistic onscreen violence today, but, lemme tell ya, when Penn did it, it was golden, baby. Dying in a hail of bullets never looked so gorgeous. Mmm…

So, thank you, Arthur Penn. You turned the film world on its ear 43 years ago with a little movie called “Bonnie & Clyde”, and for that, and so much more, we are eternally grateful. RIP, brother…

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Duff vs. Dunaway: Battle of the Bonnies

Apparently, the Christian Bale blow-up isn’t the only juicy celebrity news this week. It seems that some totally lame-brained filmmakers have decided to inexplicably remake the film classic “Bonnie and Clyde” with, get this, Hilary Duff starring as Bonnie Parker.

Battle of the Bonnies #1

Battle of the Bonnies #2

Yep, that Hilary Duff. Insanity! But even weirder than the casting is the juicy war of words that followed its announcement. Upon hearing that Duff would be tackling the iconic role that made her a star, Faye Dunaway hissed: “Couldn’t they at least cast a real actress?” Meow-ch!

None too pleased with the very public dis, Duff fired back on E! News with this sassy rebuttal: “I think that my fans that are going to go see the movie don’t even know who she is. I think it was a little unnecessary, but I might be mad if I looked like that now, too.” Ooo…double meow-ch!

I don’t know if she’s just getting in character or whatever, but if I were Duff, I’d watch my back. Crazy plastic surgery or not, Dunaway is an Oscar-winning, Hollywood legend who has starred in some of the best movies ever made, and on top of all that, the bitch is straight-up crazy!

Battle of the Bonnies #3

Battle of the Bonnies #4

Battle of the Bonnies #5

So, mock Dunaway’s looks at your own peril Duffy…and don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning with a wire hanger sticking out of your pert little behind. Seriously…watch your back. Laura Mars gonna cut you!

Oddly enough, I actually think Duff bears more than a passing resemblance to a young Dunaway, especially in the pics above, taken during a strangely prophetic photo shoot last year for Allure magazine. So, who knows, maybe Duff will end up with a too-tight face and horse-chomper veneers of her own one day too. Who’ll be “mad” then, huh, Lizzie McGuire?

But the biggest question I have is why in the hell are they remaking “Bonnie & Clyde” in the first place? Maybe it’s that ending? Hmmm…come to think of it, it was kind of a downer…

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