Arthur Penn, Who Came to North Texas to Shoot Bonnie and Clyde, Has Died at 88

Texas Hideout
Walter Penn, right, directing Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in North Texas
Robert Benton, born in Oak Cliff and raised in University Park and, later, Waxahachie, began working with collaborator and friend David Newman on a screenplay about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in 1964. They wanted François Truffaut to direct their movie; they had, after all, written it for him. But, instead, the job fell to Arthur Penn, and 1967's Bonnie and Clyde became the film for which he was best known -- it was, after all, "the first modern American film," in the words of critic Patrick Goldstein, who wrote this oral-history-of. Hence the headline in The New York Times that appeared moments ago: "Arthur Penn, Director of 'Bonnie and Clyde,' Is Dead." Penn died last night, one day after his 88th birthday.

The film, for which Benton and Newman and Penn were all Oscar-nominated, was shot in and around Dallas, for the most part; Benton, the Texan whose father had attended their funerals, demanded that much, and Penn obliged -- he would later say of that decision, "Hollywood doesn't really exist anymore."  For those so interested, I found this website detailing the exact locations Penn used -- from Ponder to Pilot Point, all the way to Venus. I know what I'll be watching tonight.

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