Bonnie And Clyde: The Violence Essay, Research Paper
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Bonnie and Clyde: The Violence
Arthur Penn s Bonnie and Clyde influenced a new era of cinema with its gruesome and bold depictions of violence and crime. These depictions displayed violence with exaggerated blood and gore. These violent scenes involved women and young kids. Crime was displayed in detail with a dash of humor. This was an extreme move in 1967 from the movies before Bonnie and Clyde. In movies before Bonnie and Clyde, women and youth were exempt from violent acts. Violence and crime was not displayed in bold detail. Penn s Bonnie and Clyde employs an unprecedented depictions of violence and crime that shattered the Hays office production codes.
The Hays offices of production codes of murder were stomped out by Bonnie and Clyde, especially the codes that brutal killings are not to be presented in detail. Bonnie and Clyde are full of brutal killings shown bluntly. In one of the scenes in Bonnie and Clyde the criminals are driving away after robbing a bank, and a bank employee gets shot at point blank range. The shot caused an explosion of blood all over the employees face. After a reaction shot from Clyde, the employee is shown again with a bloody face before he falls from the moving car. This is not your ordinary fast blood less death that happened in the past films. One of the more gruesome scenes is the confrontation with the police at a hotel. In this scene Clyde s brother Buck Borrow, is shot in the head in a gunfight. Blood splatters out of his head and covers his face. His wife Blanche takes a shot to the eye and the blood squirt out as well. These images are clear depictions of brutality that broke the production code of no brutal killings presented in detail. Examples of the details that were not supposed to be presented were the blood and the lingering scenes of suffering. Following this gruesome gunfight at the hotel, Buck Borrow crawls around on his hands and knees with a brutal wound on his head gushing out blood. The men that capture Buck Borrow stand around him as he dies. This was the kind of detail that was not common for its time.
The most gruesome and ultra violent depiction of violence in Bonnie and Clyde is the end of the film. Bonnie and Clyde get riddled with bullets from a pack of police officers. The scene has many montage elements of violence filled with slow motion of blood erupting from the bullet wounds, their limp bodies flailing. This final scene of the movie was made famous for these reasons. Criminals in the past movies were not exaggeratedly killed. People killed in film were not shot beyond death, blood was not visible, and the scenes were not in slow motion. Murders commonly were quick one gun shot scenes. Even after gunfire, the slow motion continues to show the lifeless bodies settle. The production codes against details of brutal killings went down the tubes after Bonnie and Clyde s scenes like this ending scene.
Another production code that was not broken until Bonnie and Clyde was the code that criminals were not supposed to seem heroic and justified. Penn s Bonnie and Clyde is about criminals being seen as heroes, and their crimes are justified. Bonnie and Clyde rob banks that are for closing on people s homes and forcing many families into extreme poverty. This gave off the impression that Bonnie and Clyde were stealing from the bad guys. The poor people viewed Bonnie and Clyde as heroes. In a robbery scene Clyde asks a customer to keep his money that lies on the table. This gives off the impression that Clyde is only stealing from the bank and wants nothing to do with stealing from the people who need it. Bonnie and Clyde are helped when they have been wounded by a group of homeless people. This was another big hit to the production codes. Criminals were supposed to be unscrupulous and unjustified fiens. Bonnie and Clyde did not fit this norm. This was a problem because now criminals were being justified in film.
The humor and fame included in the technique of the murders in Bonnie and Clyde aids to the breaking of the production code that the technique of murder must be presented in a way that will not inspire imitation. An example of this humor is the scene when Clyde shoots off the hat of a security guard that reaches for his gun during one of the bank robberies. Clyde replies to this action with a grin, Watch out next time, I ll aim a little lower. The movie brings out humor through a scene of a security guard almost getting his head blown off. This adds a lighter side to a serious crime that was very real at the time. The fame and publicity that Bonnie and Clyde received from the public created a big inspiration. Criminals were being portrayed as famous heroes of the common people. Before, criminals were never given fame, and criminals were not honored by anyone.
Another production code of Hays office was the use of firearms being restricted to essentials. Bonnie and Clyde had extreme amounts of firepower for its time. The criminals were blowing away cops wit shotguns and Tommy guns. In the gunfight scene at the criminal s hideout house, Clyde is equipped with two pistols and his brother Buck rampages with a shotgun. In the gunfight scene at the hotel, cops show up in armor tanks and CW is throwing grenades at the police. This was more firepower needed for a movie about robbers considering Hays office production codes. The firearms used in the film were about the same amount used for a typical war scene. It was a different twist in film to see such a large variety and amounts of weapons for this type of film.
Involving women and youth in crime and violent actions was yet another rule to be broken by Bonnie and Clyde. In the film, Bonnie and Blanche, the two women involved in the Borrows gang. Blanche never murders anyone in the film. Blanche does get a brutal wound to her eye by a police officer in a gunfight. Blanche is bleeding and screaming in agony. Not only were these details of violence not allowed, but also the fact that it was a woman made it worse. Women were expected to be exempt from these violent depictions. Bonnie is involved directly in the violent act that take place in the film. She is shooting the police with handguns and Tommy guns with no remorse. This was new to film because before women were never involved in such violence. Another new addiction to the violence was involving CW, who was a young kid. CW, like Bonnie, kills policemen in gunfights. CW even throws a grenade at the police in the film. Youth was not allowed to be involved in violent actions as well as women. The film Bonnie and Clyde broke this by having the characters Blanche, Bonnie, and CW playing a part of the extreme criminal violence.
Banning the teaching of methods of crimes was another underlining code of the Hays office. Bonnie and Clyde displays not only detailed methods of crime, but at the same time show how to improve. Clyde teaches Bonnie how to shoot a gun for one reason and that was to kill someone if necessary. As Bonnie and Clyde gain more partners in crime and more firepower, it is easy to see how the methods of crime improve. The robberies are shown in full length many times throughout the movie. This shows how the criminals enter the bank, how they rob the bank, and how they get away.
Penn s Bonnie and Clyde is a revolutionary film because it took all the Hays office production codes that all film strictly followed and threw them out the window. After Bonnie and Clyde the waterfall began with many films having more and more depictions of ultra violence. The depictions of violence were unprecedented because it had all of the following aspects: women and youth were involved in violent acts, brutal killing presented in detail, heroic, and justified criminals, a inspiration of potential criminals with a desire for imitation. All of these aspects were new to film at the time. Arthur Penn definitely made a film that turned out to be a watershed for a new breed of films that break all the production codes, and that film is Bonnie and Clyde.