Thursday, December 8, 2011

Was Clyde Barrow Impotent? Gay? Bisexual?

In the 1967 film Bonnie & Clyde (starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway and directed by Arthur Penn) Clyde Barrow was depicted as being sexually hesitant in his relationship with Bonnie Parker.
This led many people to conclude that Clyde was unable to consummate a relationship with Bonnie because he was either impotent or perhaps gay or bisexual.
But the people behind the new, throughly researched Broadway musical Bonnie & Clyde say that was all wrong.
They say that Clyde was robustly heterosexual and that Clyde's questionable sexual prowess or dubious orientation was an invention of Warren Beatty. Beatty apparently felt that this added element would make the character of Clyde (and presumably the film) more interesting, more complex. And obviously, Arthur Penn went along with it because the scene where Clyde pulls away from Bonnie at a critical moment managed to make the final cut.
The musical's director/choreographer Jeff Calhoun says that the new Broadway show was originally going to reference this presumed element of Clyde's sex life and that the musical even originally included a song for Clyde to sing entitled "This Never Happened Before." But that was scrapped when further research showed that Clyde was clearly heterosexual and active. "There's just no truth to the film's depiction, so we cut the song and the scene," Calhoun says.
Many felt that the 1967 movie (which was nominated for eight Oscars but only took home two) greatly romanticized Bonnie & Clyde and glorified their murderous rampage. The new Broadway show takes a different route, presenting what the producers consider to be a less glorified and more accurate version of the story.
Still, in the musical it is suggested that Clyde did have homosexual encounters but he is depicted as a victim --  an unwilling partner, since these events occurred in prison at the hands of another prisoner with the presumed encouragement and approval of prison guards. And Clyde did manage to get even with the prisoner who took advantage of him.
Click here to see our review of Bonnie & Clyde now on Broadway.
Click here for more information about the show.

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