Three Tense Scenes

The debate still rages(well on the internet) about why Bonnie and Clyde was such a success given that it "glamourized and glorified two stone cold killers" but if you look at the movie on its own didn't. Totally.

I saw the film in early 1968 as a pre-teenager. It was a "big deal" -- Oscar nominated by then -- and I had to negotiate with the parents to get to see it. (As with Psycho before it, the "main big deal" was that the movie was considered to be very bloody and shocking.)

Perhaps my age made me more vulnerable to this, but I was very much fearful and scared of Bonnie and Clyde (and their partners in crime) during these three scenes:

ONE: When the gang surprises and toys with the Texas Ranger(Denver Pyle) who has been hunting them. I kept waiting for them to kill him, and the "toying" leads to him spititng on Bonnie and getting beat up by Clyde...even as he is a defenseless prisoner which makes Clyde look pretty cowardly. But...they let him go(after taking a photo with him.) Interesting: this Texas Ranger leads the final retaliatory slaughter of B and C. He remembers.

TWO: Milquetoast Gene Wilder("introducing" us to his mix of screaming fits and mousy twee-ness) and his girlfriend chase after the Parker gang when the gang steals their car -- but end up as hostages IN the car. Again, the tension is palpable -- Wilder and his woman are rather "normal people" trapped in a car with dumb, violent people with hair trigger tempers. But everybody makes nice,and they eventually become " friends"-- until they ask Wilder's profession(undertaker.) Outta the car! The tension thus dissipates in a payoff that is at once comic...and grim...and sad(for Bonnie.)

THREE: The scene in which comedy(getaway driver Michael J. Pollard has PARKED the car between cars and fights to get out of the space) turns into horror(an elderly bank clerk jumps on the escaping car -- and Clyde shoots him right through the face, to death, the bloody head slamming against the car window. ) This last bit is more of a sudden shocker than tension building as with the other two scenes -- but Clyde DOES elect to shoot the man right through the face rather than allow the car to shake the man off. This scene establishes how dangerous these people are, and that adds to the tension in the other scenes.

Though Bonnie and Clyde delivered on the blood and the action in 1967-1968, I can't say i much like it now. These are Method actors over-doing playing Texas trash , and as dummies in the main. Yes, Beatty and Dunaway were FROM the South -- Virginia and Florida respectively -- but had gone through the Method process.The final slaughter of B and C was historic but rather quick and anti-climactic(The Wild Bunch two years later took slo-mo slaughter to new peaks of excitement, in an evenly matched gunbattle of 4 vs 200.)

But what I remember most about Bonnie and Clyde then - -that can still haunt me when I watch it now -- are those three tense scenes. And how scared I was of Bonnie and Clyde and their gang. It was like waiting for psychos to explode.