Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rare Flix: The Other Side of Bonnie & Clyde

This is less an indictment of a popular film and more like Larry Buchanan going 'Why do you like this film better than mine?!?'  Today's film is The Other Side of Bonnie & Clyde and it comes to us from 1968.  What's the occasion?  Well, a highly-successful film about the pair was released in 1967 and I guess our Director saw dollar signs.  His idea: make a Documentary about how wrong the film was.  Um...what?  That's certainly a novel approach.  Let's get past this irony: the man who made The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald complaining about a film trying to manipulate the public.  Yeah, that's a big hurdle.  All I can figure his official rationale was is that he thought that the film glorified the outlaws and made people like violence.  So you're either a jealous guy or 'an old man talking about how people did things in your day.'  Take your pick, I guess.  The film is a tricky one to review since it is an hour-long Documentary (of sorts).  I'll find a way, so sit back, relax, judge a better film and read on...
The film rattles on about how Bonnie & Clyde made people like the duo (who were Folk Heroes in their day) and how bad this was.  Let's drag out a person who had a bad experience with them!
Remember- violence is bad and you shouldn't revel in it.  Let them show you this by playing..., kind of losing your point there.  Well, it was bad how they reenacted the moments and... think this isn't working.  How about the blood and gore shown in the 1967 film?  That was bad, right?
Well, shit.  To make this work, they try one last thing: they drag out a former Associate of the duo and question him while he's got a Lie Detector attached to him.  That us, I guess.  The End.
Damn- this is just dumb.  I am still not quite sure how to classify this one.  I can't ask Buchanan on account of him dying ten years ago, so that's out.  Is it a film that tried to tell you how bad the 1967 Bonnie & Clyde film was for our society?  Was it a film about a less-successful filmmaker attacking a film for doing well?  Regardless, it is not a well-made film.  It has a random mix of Interviews, Reenactments, Real Footage and whatever else they had lying around.  The message is not exactly subtle, but there also isn't a great attempt at portraying it.  You can disagree with the ultimate conclusion of films like Blackfish, but there is no question that they make their case well.  In this case, they tell you the message right away and just kind of dawdle about for the next 59 minutes.  Ultimately though, it is an odd footnote in Film History as it tries to tell you how to feel about a much better and much more seen film.  As for how I make my mind up about the Warren Beatty Film, well...I have an incentive of my own...
"Watch the better movie or we'll shoot you."
Next up, I officially hit yet another milestone.  I celebrate with a Rare Flix that has a sort of direct tie to the last Anniversary Post.  Stay tuned...

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