I never much liked Warren Beatty ... until a couple years ago, that is, when I sat down and made myself watch Splendor In The Grass (1960) and Bonnie & Clyde (1967). Up until then, I couldn't stomach the thought of him. Why? I don't honestly know. It may have been because I thought he was the biggest cad ever to come out of Hollywood. Or it could very well have been because of his political leanings (I'm not political at all and I hate when people start harping on the government and policies and whatnot). Anyway, yes, that may have been why I didn't like him much.
|Shady Beatty (Ha! See what I did there?)|
After a few false starts on Broadway, Beatty made his first Hollywood film, Splendor In The Grass, in 1960 alongside Natalie Wood. In the movie's opening credits, he is formally introduced to the movie-going public and ever afterwards would remain at the top of his game (granted he had a couple of flops along the way, but that's to be expected). But I digress! THIS MOVIE KILLED ME. It was so full of angst and passion, it literally floored me once the end credits rolled. I couldn't get over how good Beatty was in this, his FIRST movie! I mean, it would have been very obvious at the time that this man had real talent. I try to watch Splendor In The Grass every time it airs on TCM - in fact, it was just on a couple evenings ago.
|Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood in Splendor In The Grass (1960)|
Next up: the formidable Bonnie & Clyde (1967). This one is a hell of a ride! Again, like Splendor In The Grass, I can't believe I hadn't seen this movie sooner. Now admittedly, I'm not a big fan of westerns to begin with, but this film is so much more than a plain old western! I love everything about this film: the setting, the cars, the actors, Faye Dunaway's hair (even though it wasn't a period hairstyle), the fashion, the violence, the significance the movie places on ice cream - everything!
|Warren Beatty giving someone heck on the set of Bonnie & Clyde (1967)|
Many moviegoers thought that Bonnie & Clyde was too violent (this was 1967 afterall), but really?? How could you make a movie about these two without making it a violent one? It would be like making an ice cream sundae without including the cherry on top. This film literally opened my eyes and made me finally like (and respect) Beatty. After I saw this I booted my ass to the bookstore to try to find anything written about him. I ended up buying two books: Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America by Peter Biskind and Warren Beatty: A Private Man by Suzanne Finstad. I'm busy reading Biskind's book at the moment and, so far, I'm really enjoying it. I read Finstad's book as soon as I purchased it and enjoyed it immensely - she presented a really in-depth view of Beatty's life growing up and she succeeded in writing a very honest account of the man's life.
|"You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you..."|
So this is where I leave you ... do me a favour and watch one of his films sometime this weekend. I'm pretty sure I'll be partaking in a little bit of Bonnie & Clyde action later on ;) What fun that'll be!