Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bonnie and Clyde...a break from politics

I know.  This is kind of weird, but the truth is that I've always been interested in people like Bonnie and Clyde.... At the age of about 12, full of having watched terrific gangster movies on The Million Dollar Movie on TV (Remember that?), I told my father I wanted to be a gun moll.   Boy, did he give ME a look!

Obviously, I couldn't murder anybody and I don't believe in stealing, but, somehow, the criminals of the Thirties have always intrigued me.  I have always loved those old James Cagney prison films, etc...Edward G. Robinson, etc.

I watched Bonnie and Clyde the other day and Googled them and found the fascinating video above. So, I'm pulling you into my creepy curiosity and thought you might like to see it, too!  She was really quite pretty, look at the image to the right.  What compelled her? WHY?  How does one kill innocent people so easily?  What drew this couple together?   She wrote poetry about suicide, they knew they'd die together, violently.  And they kept it up........

It's hard to imagine what thoughts she had......and I'll admit, it does fascinate me.



Always On Watch said...

I, too, have always been interested in criminology although my interest doesn't usually involve spree killers.

I have done a lot of research on Lizzie Borden and Charles Manson -- not so much on the spree killers. Manson wasn't exactly a spree killer, but I don't know exactly how I'd classify him.

What drew this couple together?

That is an interesting question. I don't know the answer. However, I think that Bonnie knew that Clyde wasn't completely heterosexual and was somehow proving to herself that she was all woman by having a relationship with him. She did not have a criminal record before she teamed up with Clyde, who had a criminal record before she met him. My guess is that she was bored with her life and that teaming up with Clyde was exciting. Also, some of what they did probably had to do with their being "anti-establishment," a factor that likely related to the many abuses that Clyde underwent in prison from 1930-1932. Clearly, he came out of prison as a hardened criminal.

Here is another question:

Would they have wreaked so much mayhem had they not been drawn together and found each other to be a catalyst? I highly doubt that Bonnie would have become a killer without Clyde as catalyst. I think that Clyde without would still have been a spree killer, but not of such proportions. After all, we read THIS at Wiki: According to John Neal Phillips, Barrow's goal in life was not to gain fame or fortune from robbing banks, but to seek revenge against the Texas prison system for the abuses he suffered while serving time. I also think that he was proving his manhood via those killing sprees -- and, of course, defying "the system." The "minutes of fame" factor no doubt played in for both of them.

Anyway, that's my take for now.

viburnum said...

Sociopaths given celebrity status in order to sell newspapers. I've always been somewhat dubious about their supposed 'anti establishment' proletarian motives, but what else would you expect from Warren Beatty?

I don't have much sympathy for psychopathic killers, there's only one cure for a rabid dog, but this guy always fascinated me.

Robbed far more banks, stole far more money, never hurt a fly, and was from all accounts extraordinarily polite about the whole enterprise, and in addition had an amazing talent for escaping from prison.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Fascination with Bad Boys.

Until those Bad Boys happen to hit, knife or shoot those women so fascinated.

Then: not so much fun.


Fredd said...

D.B. Cooper would be my favorite criminal. Assuming he didn't die in the fall from his hijacked 727, or perish in the rough country in and around the Pacific Coast range, then this is the guy that committed the perfect crime, and nobody got hurt (other than him, possibly).

Nobody got his identity, and nobody has been able to pull this kind of heist off, before or since.

CnC said...

That's one of those movies I have to stop channel surfing and watch the remainder of when I come across it.

Ducky's here said...

Well, I guess Warren Beatty can have that effect on a girl.

Silverfiddle said...

I liked that movie too when I was a kid.

I felt bad for those poor relatives who came along for the ride...

Ed Bonderenka said...

Willie Sutton: Why do you rob banks?
"Because that's where the money is."

Like BZ said. Fascinated with bad boys.
"Bored. Get me out of here."

Ma Barkers the interesting one.

Z said...

AOW, Clyde was apparently bisexual, that's right. The movie portrays him as 'dysfunctional' but that's not the case according to Blanche Barrow. I think Barrow would have wreaked mayhem because he and his brother had records, but probably not Bonnie.
Who knows, had she not met Barrow, maybe she'd have become an important poet or something? ...putting her unrest of being in a small boring town into more productive fodder!?

V, yes, I remember Willie Sutton. I have to admit I do have sympathy for Bonnie, a little.
Good one about Beatty !

BZ, it seems to me Bonnie'd have died for Clyde...and did.

Fredd...there have been rumors of BD sightings, but you're right, I don't think we know what really happened to him. fascinating.

CnC, I know! I came across it right at the beginning, which I hadn't seen before, and found myself watching the whole thing.
I think that moment at the end (which I'd actually fallen asleep for this time but I remember it from other viewings) in the film when you see it in kind of a slow motion; her face, his face, the realization that THIS IS IT and the amount of shots they took somehow really got to me. weird.

Ducky, I'm not a Warren fan. you?
Oh, ya..he made REDS; right up your alley :-)

SF...when you read the story, you find that Clyde's brother wasn't innocent as portrayed in the film...tho the film does mention his incarceration. The sister-in-law seems to be the real victim, doesn't she.
Buck died after surgery for bullet wounds before B&C were killed.....Blanche Barrow was in prison I think for 10 years and then got out, married, and lived happily with her new husband, to a ripe old age. But she was the one who only came along for the ride that she didn't like much!

Z said...

Ed, I don't know ... most of us girls outgrow the 'bad boys' fascination around the age of 30! (I'm well past that now, thanks!)
Bonnie died at the age of 24, if I remember correctly.
Maybe it was just the excitement, you're right.

Ma Barker...she gets more credit than credit is due. One of the accomplices of the Barker/Karpis gang said "She couldn't even plan breakfast let alone a crime" The people close to them said she was used to take care of them and to travel with them because it looked so innocent for an old lady to be along that nobody thought that could be the gang. And it's said that the FBI put a gun in her hand after she'd been shot to death with one of her sons so public sentiment wouldn't go to her!
Still, you've got to admire that mother who stuck by her kids!
(i guess?)

beamish said...

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the maples
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'Oppression!'
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
'The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light'
Now there's no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw

Z said...

for those of you who remember FrogBurger (our terrific French commenter who finally decided to stop commenting at blogs but hasn't stopped hoping obama's ousted), I'm having dinner with him and the lovely Mrs. FB tonight....will tell him HI from all of you :-)

viburnum said...


I like that better with the music!

Ducky's here said...

Yeah z, Beatty is a solid actor.

Bulworth, Shampoo, McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

It's interesting that Reds draws such a reaction. It was technically innovative and wasn't particularly political. It was a love story. Very good film.

Ladies just like bad boys.

Always On Watch said...

Who knows, had she not met Barrow, maybe she'd have become an important poet or something?

Bonnie Parker did have "a writer's heart" from a young age.

As for Blanche, I'm not sure that I trust what she says. She was a strange person, I think.

I admit that I haven't done much research on Bonnie and Clyde.

Always On Watch said...

Say "Hi!" to FrogBurger from me.

Always On Watch said...

Ladies just like bad boys.

Partly right. I would say, however, "SOME ladies just like bad boys."

Pris said...

I was never a big gangster movie buff. Especially if the actor who played the role was an actor I liked a lot.

For instance, I much preferred when Humphrey Bogart was the good guy like Sam Spade, or in a movie like Key Largo, or Casablanca, my favorite #1 movie of all time.

As for Warren Beatty, the first time I saw him in a movie was when he was young, in Splendor in the Grass with Natalie Wood. I thought he was dreamy, but of course I was young then too.

When Bonnie and Clyde, or Baby Face Nelson, Willie Sutton, did their thing, they were almost celebrities to the public, weren't they? The thirties were a little before my time, but, I think from what I heard later on, the public was fascinated with these criminals too.

Elmers Brother said...

@Beamish, Peart is a big fan of Ayn Rand and being the principal songwriter often wrote about it.

Elmers Brother said...

@Beamish, Peart is a big fan of Ayn Rand and being the principal songwriter often wrote about it.

Z said...

Pris, the reaction to the killing was disgusting! They were trying to cut a finger and an ear off Clyde Barrow...and someone got a hair clip off of Bonnie...
just amazing stuff that turned my stomach when I read it.
What cheered me was that people have ALWAYS been as crass and ridiculous as I see they are NOW :-)

beakerkin said...

I am doing my ventriloquist act with my rubber anti semitic Duck
"My favorite criminal is Hugo Chavez".


Bob said...

Yeah. I used to watch the Million Dollar movie, too. There was also the Early Movie, and the Cagney and E G Robinson, and Bogart films were daily sustenance.

Z, I can understand you identifying with the criminal element in the movies. However, I think you were identifying with the Hollywood element. I see you placing yourself in a dimly lit bar, singing torch songs, and suffering the attentions of Humphrey Bogart.

You are a dreamer.

Z said...

Bob, I don't "identify" with them but they do get my curiosity up.
I adored those old movies..Cagney bad was my favorite because he always had some good there, too.

Mom and I used to watch The Million Dollar Movie in the afternoons after school when I was quite young. I remember watching BACK STREET with Susan Hayward and John Gavin and our crying ourselves through a complete box of Kleenex. She'd had a dinner party a night or two before and we slathered some leftover caviar on white bread and ate and cried. Great MOM MOMENT :-)

By the way, being a jazz singer, I can definitely identify with the smoky bars and torch songs...that's for sure. I once got invited to a member of the Ink Spots' table...I was told he wanted to meet me after I sang that night in an 'open mic' club nearby....He was a very TINY, VERY old's a Dad story; My Dad had loved the Ink Spots and when I left the table of lovely compliments on my singing, I thought "I have to call DAD" and he'd died only months before. A lost moment and a melancholy one, for sure.

Bob said...

My favorite criminal is Bernie Madoff. Today, robbing banks at gunpoint is a career with diminishing returns. So what if you score five or ten thousand dollars. That's lunch money compared to Madoff's score.

Of all the old time bandits, my favorite is Machine Gun Kelly. My reason is not because of any especially famous exploits of his. Kelly (George Barnes) went to my High School in Memphis, Tennessee.

As a matter of fact, he was captured on Rayner Street in Memphis, not a half mile from my childhood home on Rayner Street.

I guess that's my claim to fame.

Ducky's here said...

@Beak -- am doing my ventriloquist act with my rubber anti semitic Duck
"My favorite criminal is Hugo Chavez".

Actually it's probably Jef Costello in Melville's Le Samourai.

I doubt there was a real life equivalent.

Z said...

Bob, I think that is REALLY interesting!
I have to admit Billy the Kid kind of fascinates me, too! Except he was pig ugly, if you don't mind my saying so :-)
Maybe there IS something of the glamor thing to this criminal curiosity!??

Jan said...

I have always been fascinated by the escapades of Bonnie and Clyde, too.

I've never understood how people can commit crimes, and kill for the sheer thrill of it, either, but I know it happens, and I know that a lot of people are fascinated by it.

One of the hairdressers at a salon where I go has a lot of cats, all named after serial killers, believe it, or not!

In the case of Bonnie and Clyde, I think a lot of it had to do with what you mentioned, but then there is the "wicked attraction" element to be considered, too, where each one brings out the worst in the other.

One such case is that of the Canadian newlyweds, Karla Homolka, and Paul Bernardo. Among their several victims was her own sister, offered to him as a "gift," and then tortured, raped, and killed.

The accounts of their crimes are almost too heinous to read.

Interesting post, Z.

Kid said...

I will say there are people who just don't like or cannot live within the boundaries of society as it is defined for them. School, job, money, vacations, house, stuff, kids, grandchildren, die.

I've known people who cannot live with the boundaries. They'd rather die. And back then when times were really hard?

So they find other ways to get money and I'd say the danger aspect is pretty intoxicating for them.

Anonymous said...

"and someone got a hair clip off of Bonnie..."

And they dipped their handkerchiefs in John Dillingers blood as he lay dying on the street.

We have a bit of barbarian in all of us. That's why we slow down for a car wreck...we want to see that yellow tarp on the ground.

Ducky's here said...

There was a difference with Bonnie and Clyde. They were pathological and would kill anything in their way.

Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson and the rest did not kill civilians. Cops pursuing them killed more civilians in botched ambushes.

There was a pathological anger in Bonnie and Clyde. Something to do with violence a way back in their lives I imagine.

That violence fascinates us. The two seminal films of the New Hollywood Bonnie and Clyde and The Wild Bunch made choreographed graphic violence a big market hit and it's been downhill since.

Ed Bonderenka said...

I remember reading that something else of Dillingers was clipped and kept, but it's probably urbam legend and I'm not bothering to check.
My favorite gangster movie is Key Largo.

Z said...

Jan "In the case of Bonnie and Clyde, I think a lot of it had to do with what you mentioned, but then there is the "wicked attraction" element to be considered, too, where each one brings out the worst in the other."
Good point.

A friend wrote a book about a murderer called ALBERT FISH, and he thanked me in the intro....kind of creepy, actually :) This guy (Fish)was a pedophile and murderer who liked things done to HIM ...a most unassuming little man. WOW. I hadn't thought of this in years.

Kid, the danger must be intoxicating, you're absolutely right. I'd have a heart attack, myself!

Ducky, I think you're right on this. Actually, if I remember correctly, TMC was showing THE WILD BUNCH right after B&C.

Ed and Imp....I thought only 21st century America was NUTS ... I honestly felt cheered that there have been CRAZIES forever...I must admit to being utterly fascinated that there's actual FOOTAGE of the death scene of B&C, who knew? but to dip a handkerchief in blood or clip hair? wow that is LOW

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