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THE Lowly Peon

Bonnne & Clyde 
27 September 2011, 3:02am

Bonnie & Clyde used to be one of my favorite movies. I thought of it as this beautiful untraditional love movie, and, at the time, I was really into untraditional love movies (see Lost in Translation, Leon the Professional, and perhaps a few others).


So I was thrilled when daisy started going through a gangster movie phase and wanted to watch Bonnie & Clyde with me. We had just watched Public Enemies the night before, so I was pretty into the gangster thing to.

We watched it, and I loved it. But I got curious about a few things. Namely, what sort of timeline the movie took place over. The movie makes it feel like it all happened in a week or two, but I knew in reality it must have happened over several years. Sure enough, it happened over more than half a decade, starting in 1930, when Bonnie and Clyde were 19 and 20 (and ending in 1934).

I read a bit more about the couple and learned some really interesting things. For example, Clyde went to prison for not returning a rental car on time. He spent several years in prison, where he was allegedly sexually abused repeatedly for a year. What made Clyde lean more against the straight side of the law wasn't the thrill — the movie portrays him as loving the excitement, but also being nervous — but, according to Wikipedia, because his goal was to raise enough money and gather enough weaponry to "seek revenge against the Texas prison system for the abuses he suffered while serving time."

I started to wonder if his intimacy problem in the movie was a complete falsehood or if it was some kind of take on the prison related sexual abuse.

Then I started to wonder how much other stuff the movie had kind of fudged.

And then I realized that historical movies like this one are in a difficult position: they need to extract the meaningful parts of a long story and make it a beautiful movie. There's far too much in this story to squeeze into two years, so they're bound to choose some aspects I wouldn't have, and perhaps skip some I would have. Like how they actually lived in the woods most of the time and lived pretty rough lives while on the run — the movie showed them living in abandoned houses, but really didn't seem that bad.

Anyway, I still recommend the movie to anyone who hasn't (or has) seen it. It's a wonderful movie. I'm just a bit sad to say that after learning some of the history of the real Bonnie & Clyde, the movie seems a bit disappointing.

PS It also really bothers me how Bonnie, though beautiful, has a 1960s haircut rather than one that would be more historically accurate.

PPS They were so freaking young!

[27 September 2011, 3:04am]

It's really a lot of fun to look through some of the old pictures the gang took before they got caught. Seems like they had a bunch of fun.

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