[click "Play" to listen to Seth Berg's discussion of two "Depression Era" films]
Telluride Inside… and Out goes out on a limb with a prediction: the five-star Wilkinson Public Library should attract its biggest audience ever for the upcoming installment of the Telluride Film Festival Cinematheque’s “Films of the Great Depression.” The momentous event takes place Monday, February 7, 5:30 p.m. for pre-SHOW snacks.
Telluriders are no exception: Americans love anti-heros to death. Indiana Jones, Dirty Harry, Michael Corleone, Tony Soprano, select members of the cast of “Broadway Empire,” Bill the Vampire in “True Blood,” Dexter of Showtime fame, and the countless no-counts who inhabit the world of reality TV are just a few examples.
This, the second installment of the Film Fest’s four-part series focusing features films about two major league anti-heros: “Bonnie And Clyde,” (1967, 112 minutes) and the original “Scarface,” (1932, 93 min, Rated PG).
Directed by Arthur Penn, “Bonnie & Clyde” caused major controversy when it was released toward the end tie-dyed Sixties, an era when thumbing one’s nose at the Establishment was all the rage. So it is no big surprise a film that cast its criminal protagonists as sympathetic anti-heroes should become one of Warner Bros. highest grossing properties. And not for nothing, Bonnie and Clyde’s featured the unbeatable combo of sex and violence, super attractive and dynamic stars, and social relevance to sugar coat the bad pill, a formula that many American movies have copied with equal success decade after decade.
“Bonnie and Clyde” is loosely based on the true exploits of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker during the Great Depression. The couple came to be seen as rebels who empathized with the poor working folks of the 1930s, sort of like Robin Hood. (In one bank robbery scene Clyde actually lets some poor slob keep his dough). “Bonnie and Clyde” made superstars of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.
The second feature of the evening, “Scarface,” tells the story of Tony Camonte, who takes over after his boss, Big Louis Costillo is slain – probably by Tony. This Pre-Code crime film follows the ambitious and dangerously violent gangster as he climbs up through the ranks in the mob and battles rival gangs for control over the city. The story is loosely based on the life of Al Capone. Produced by Howard Hughes, directed by Howard Hawks, “Scarface” features Paul Muni, Boris Karloff, and George Raft.
Cinematheque is programmed by the Telluride Film Fest co-director Gary Meyer, with an eye towards exploring the ways in which cinema provided a valuable forum for social commentary as well as emotional release during an extremely trying chapter in U.S. history.
To learn more, click the play button and listen to what the screening’s Ringmaster, Seth Berg, has to say.