Bonnie and Clyde looms as large in these interviews with its director as it does in the history of American movies, in which it marks the division between studio filmmaking and the New American Cinema of the 1960s and ’70s. Even more than his colleague and near-exact contemporary Sidney Lumet (see Sidney Lumet: Interviews, 2005), Penn discusses technical moviemaking with clarity and verve. It helps that his Alice’s Restaurant and Little Big Man are scarcely inferior to Bonnie and Clyde; that his first film, The Left-Handed Gun, is one of the most storied victims of studio tampering; that his second, The Miracle Worker, is one of the best filmings of a play ever made (Penn is specific about how he could have made it better and says he ought to remake it); that he has always been cogently critical of the American film industry (a term he despises); and that most of these interviews come from French film journals accustomed to serious talk about movies. A real standout in the Conversations with Filmmakers series. --Ray Olson
--This text refers to the
From the Publisher
Beginning in 1957 with the release of his directorial debut The Left Handed Gun
, Arthur Penn (b. 1922) quickly became an iconoclastic and influential American film director. Moving deftly between comedy and tragedy, realism and absurdity, his films Mickey One
, Bonnie and Clyde
, Alice's Restaurant
, Little Big Man
, and Night Moves
speak to the troubled times--the 1960s and 1970s--in which they were made while remaining timeless in their unsettling portrayal of characters on the margins of society.
Arthur Penn: Interviews is the first collection to explore every stage of the director's career. These conversations span forty-five years, from his first in-depth discussion with Cahiers du cinéma in 1963 to a new interview from 2007, and reveal Penn's ever-changing ideas on the nature of film and filmmaking. This volume also presents newly translated interviews from European film periodicals, published in English for the first time.