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Bonnie and Clyde (40th Anniversary Blu-ray)

Bonnie and Clyde (40th Anniversary Blu-ray)
Reviewed by Dan Goldwasser (dsg@soundtrack.net)
Published on April 4th, 2008

[Rating - 4]

Recently released as a 40th Anniversary DVD and Blu-ray release, Bonnie and Clyde has been restored, and has never looked better. There is a bit of grain, as expected for a film from that era, but there is no dirt, dust, or other artifacts that distract from the imagery of Burnett Guffey's Oscar-winning cinematography. The colors are excellent, with nicely saturated flesh tones and an image that effectively captures the beautiful scenery. Audio is presented only as an original mono track - apparently the assets were not found to create a new surround-sound track. The mono track is solid, with dialogue clear for the most part, though it is hard to hear sometimes when there is a lot of sound effects and gunfire.

For this Anniversary Edition, Warner Brothers Home Video has given us a nice selection of supplements, all presented in standard definition. First up is a full-length History Channel documentary (43-minutes long) called "Life and Death: The True Story of Bonnie & Clyde". It's standard History Channel fare, with lots of talking heads and photos from the era, and is very academic but informative. Two deleted scenes are presented, but because of the missing audio elements, they are completely silent - just subtitles help us understand what is happening. Additionally, Warren Beatty's original "Wardrobe Tests" are included.

The real meat of the supplements is the hour-long three-part documentary "Revolution! The Making of Bonnie and Clyde". New interviews with all of the principle filmmakers, including director Arthur Penn, screenwriter Robert Benton, actors Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons. Even creative consultant Robert Towne and filmmaker Curtis Hanson (who was apparently responsible for helping Dunaway get the role) contribute here. Available production photos and footage is limited, so there's a lot of talking-heads, but the stories told (ranging from script development through production, release, and reaction) are all informative and it's a solid hour of Bonnie and Clyde info. Finally, the theatrical teaser and trailer are included - definitely a product of late 1960s marketing!

The Blu-ray release comes in special "book" packaging, which opens up to reveal a very nice 24-page collectable booklet containing photos and production notes and bios, and the disc attached to the Digipack-style housing.

Bonnie and Clyde might not be as shocking to modern audiences as it was back when it was released, but the undeniable influence that it had on future films can be felt forty years later. The movie looks great, and the production value of this new Anniversary Edition release - as well as the importance of the film in the history of American cinema - makes this release a must-have for any serious film collector.

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