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AIP makes a 30s gangster movie, starring a very 50s looking Dorothy Provine as bombshell and bank robber Bonnie Parker. Why the screenwriters felt compelled to keep Clyde Barrow OUT of the story is only one of the confusing things about this film; instead they substituted a character called Guy Darrow!! And dig the so-close-to-rock-n-roll-it-made-me-put-on-my-blue-suede-shoes music on the soundtrack. Obviously aimed at the teen market of the time, The Bonnie Parker Story just looks weird now. Provine is actually pretty good if you can get past her Mamie Van Doren hair and bustline, but there's not much else to recommend here.
"The Bonnie Parker story" has the potential to be a cult movie. It is
evident that a sad lack of bucks is the main cause of the faults of the
film. No other reason, save some bizarre artistic choice, could justify
the 1950s clothes and looks of the actors, within a 1930s story. And no
bank-shot is shown all along the movie, another unwelcome by-product of
a meagre budget.
In spite of its B-movie doom, "The Bonnie Parker story" has remarkable merits. The photography is accurate and evocative. The action scenes are realistic and very well filmed, the narration has a quick and smooth pace. The script oozes toughness and cynical wisecracking. In my opinion, a first rate job by the writer.
And then... that girl! That bomb of a wildcat-girl! Dorothy Provine is sensational, and not just for her stunningly gorgeous looks. Her aggressive, dynamic acting is unforgettable. She draws Bonnie's utterly amoral character, paired with an almost crazy courage, with a great force not lacking of subtlety. Huge fun to see her on the screen, especially when she ruthlessly ill-use and humiliate the male characters. An interesting, although undeveloped, side of Bonnie's psychology: she has an exclusive passion for command, while she seems not to give a damn for love. Well, let me give some credit to the little money used to make the movie. With a higher budget, probably they would have hired a more famous actress than Dorothy. What an enormous loss we escaped!
Dorothy Provine alone is largely enough to recommend "The Bonnie Parker story", but it's fair to take note of several other good sides of the movie.
The Bonnie Parker story is very different from many other American International movies. It doesn't deal with monsters or spaceships, but with a tough gangster, Bonnie Parker. Bonnie is played very well by Dorothy Provine, who's absolutely smashing in this picture (for all 50s style fans: she's a very good reason for watching this movie!). The story may not be as truthful as "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967), but there are many similarities between these two films. A difference is the fact they changed Clyde Barrow, Bonnie's partner, into Guy Darrow. I don't know why they did this, but it may very well be AIP wasn't allowed to use the real name, as has been the case with many classic true stories made in those days. Considering the low budget they had for making this movie, it's very well done. Some people complain about the 50s style approach to the story and to the music, but it didn't bother me at all. If you like the 50s style B-movies, you'll love this one!
BONNIE AND CLYDE happens to be my favorite film, but as far as
"exploitation" flicks go, this one is much fun and I wish I owned it.
Ms. Provine is a jewel - sassy and bold and beautiful! Sidney Lassick
from CUCKOO'S NEST has a small part as well. A 5 out of 10. Best
performance = Dorothy Provine.
Late 50's and 60's exploitation flicks come with varying qualities, but this should be a camp classic, for it's inaccuracies, name changes, and outright hilarious dialogue, but Ms. Provine is a tough little cookie and means what she says and makes it a worthwhile film experience. Definitely hunt this one down!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**May Contain Spoilers**
Blonde, pouty Dorothy Provine stars in this American International release. Jack Hogan is her boyfriend "Guy Darrow" and Joe Turkel is "Chuck Darrow." (Except for Bonnie Parker all the characters' names have been altered, possibly for legal reasons.) In this version the gang springs Bonnie's husband (Dick Bakalyan) from prison, leading to predictable clashes between him and Darrow. Lots of tough dialogue ("You're going to end up on a street corner, and not selling newspapers...") shoot-outs and smoke and flame in black-and-white. In one scene intended as comedy relief the gang is robbed by a young boy with a cap-gun. In another they scare off a Cub Scout troop led by goofy Sid Lassick. Bonnie's ghostly, echoing voice gives us a brief "Crime Does Not Pay" sermon after the foregone conclusion. Lots of fun, as most of these drive-in gangster pictures are, this originally played on a double-bill with MACHINE GUN KELLY. I'm still waiting for someone to make a movie with Bonnie and Clyde as butt-ugly, repulsive and perverted as they were in real life.
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