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Dear Lance: Oddly enough, I AM the right age to know all those details without having read the book, and yes, Faye Dunaway in her prime was nothing less than a goddess on screen.

I saw the movie on its opening night at the local shitty movie theatre in a mini-mall in 1967 because I was astonished by the great poster/ad campaign out front. "They're Young. They're In Love. They Kill People." What? At age 13, I returned after seeing the film to my suburban California beachtown home, and was still awake at 2AM when my parents were returning from some kind of party, which shocked them because I was sitting in the living room quietly, still stunned, needing to tell somebody what I had just seen. There had never been anything like it in my experience, and I'd been seeing about five movies a week from the age of six.

It's still the best film of most of the actors' careers, including Beatty and Dunaway, and still the masterpiece of director Arthur Penn. And I'm SO effing glad that Truffaut didn't direct it because he would have been awful. The screenwriters were using "Don't Shoot The Piano Player" as a template for their screenplay, but I happen to have nothing but contempt for that movie (and most of Truffaut). Penn and Beatty proceeded to transform the French love of American gangster movies back into a radical, revolutionary American studio film that combined homespun stupidity/innocence with violence in a way that had never been seen before, even though it was the subtext of every gangster film that preceded it.

The crowning achievement of "Bonnie and Clyde" was how it incited Pauline Kael to write a 50-page essay, which the "New Yorker," when it was a good magazine, printed in full, about why the movie was so interesting and why it made people so uncomfortable. (It still does.)

By the way, Ms. Dunaway is essentially the Last Movie Star, and in person is supposedly an insane, neurotic diva in her work habits. However, when I moved to San Francisco in the mid-70s, I had a job working for Room Service at the St. Francis Hotel when they were filming "The Towering Inferno." I received a phone call at 6AM asking for a double martini for "Dunaway, Faye Dunaway, Room such-and-such." Because I felt like you obviously did about Ms. Faye, I paused, took a breath, and asked, "You mean, THE Faye Dunaway, The Goddess from Bonnie and Clyde," and after a pause on her end, she said, "Yes, the one and the same." By the way, they filmed all night so this was literally a nightcap.

Exiled in New Jersey

I recall seeing in when it came out and I was stationed at Ft Jaxson SC. Did it see it in Columbia SC or on base? Mixed memory but probably in a theater. What I remember was the critic at either Time or Newsweek ripping it a new one when it came out, on the same ground as Sfmike. Then Ms. Kael and others struck and he recanted in print a month later. Or is this a false memory?

Dan Leo

What would have been really cool would have been if Jean-Pierre Melville made the movie with Alain Delon and Anna Karina.


"It's still the best film of most of the actors' careers, including Beatty and Dunaway,"

Better than 'Chinatown'???

Surely you jest.

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