Arthur Penn: A Screen Remembrance
Arthur Penn (1922-2010) came up with the generation of filmmakers who learned their craft directing live television, then he made a tenuous, unsuccessful transition to movies in 1958 with THE LEFT HANDED GUN, a subversive, homoerotic take on Billy the Kid penned by Gore Vidal, before enjoying a smash hit with the Oscar-winning THE MIRACLE WORKER in 1962. This pattern of varied fortune and frequent hiatuses would repeat throughout Penn's long career. But a filmography that includes those titles, plus 1967's BONNIE AND CLYDE — the apotheosis of New Hollywood, importing a French New Wave aesthetic to American action, sex and violence — the touchstone revisionist Western LITTLE BIG MAN, and neo-noir classic NIGHT MOVES stands the test of time regardless of a few misfires or the many years that seemed to pass between features.
BONNIE AND CLYDE
#5 on AFI's 10 Top 10 Gangster
#32 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains
#13 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills
#42 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (2007)
"They're young...they're in love...and they kill people."
Nominated for 10 Oscars, one of the landmark films of the 1960s — trailblazing, taboo breaking and zeitgeist capturing, BONNIE AND CLYDE uniquely embodies the moment where Old Hollywood bought into the New Hollywood. Arthur Penn imbues his innovatively styled biopic of the Depression-era bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow with New Wave-inspired verve, and is careful not to let the facts get in the way of the legend. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway make a to-die-for screen couple, with Gene Hackman, Oscar winner Estelle Parsons and Michael J. Pollard rounding out the gang.
DIR Arthur Penn; SCR David Newman, Robert Benton; PROD Warren Beatty. US, 1967, color, 112 min. RATED R
Fri, Jul 8, 4:30; Mon, Jul 11, 4:00, 9:20; Tue, Jul 12; 4:15
LITTLE BIG MAN
One-hundred-twenty-one-year-old Jack Crabb relates his long and colorful life to an incredulous reporter: captured by the Cheyenne as a boy, he was raised in their world until as a teen he was recaptured by whites. He witnessed the Battle of Little Big Horn and was variously employed as an Army scout, snake oil salesman, gunslinger and trapper, and unemployed as a full-time drunk. Arthur Penn's adaptation of Thomas Berger's cult classic novel is a tragicomic picaresque that treads lightly over rocky history. As Crabb, Dustin Hoffman gives a performance for the ages — playing him as a native Cheyenne, a white settler, a teen and an old codger.
DIR Arthur Penn; SCR Calder Willingham, based on the novel by Thomas Berger; PROD Stuart Millar. US, 1970, color, 139 min. RATED PG-13
Sat, Jul 9, 4:30; Tue, Jul 12, 6:30
Arthur Penn's existential neo-noir is one of the key films of the 1970s, boasting a landmark tough-but-vulnerable performance by Gene Hackman. Ex-football pro Harry Moseby (Hackman) struggles to make ends meet as a PI in Hollywood, working long hours for little pay and further alienating the affection of wife Susan Clark, who's begun to have an affair. Just as Harry realizes what a poor PI he has been regarding his own affairs, he gets caught up in a new case that sends him to the Florida Keys to track down wild-child heiress Melanie Griffith for her faded actress mother. Bringing Griffith back to LA, Harry thinks he's solved the case, but the trouble is only beginning.
DIR Arthur Penn; SCR Alan Sharp; PROD Robert M. Sherman. US, 1975, color, 100 min. RATED R
Sun, Jul 17, 9:30; Tue, Jul 19, 9:10; Thu, Jul 21, 9:10