Bonnie Parker Story, The (1958)

“We got ourselves a one way ticket, [and] there’s nothing you can do once you get on but ride right to the end of the line.”

Synopsis:
Blonde gunslinger Bonnie Parker (Dorothy Provine) goes on a shooting spree across the nation with her boyfriend, Guy Darrow (Jack Hogan).

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Review:
AIP’s exploitation flick about notorious fugitive Bonnie Parker features one of the strongest females in 1950s cinema. As portrayed by voluptuous Dorothy Provine, Parker is a beautiful woman who, tired of being let down by the men who desire her, discovers the addictive power of guns, and doesn’t stop shooting until her rounds (and her luck) are finally exhausted. She’s smart, sassy, and single-minded — a “cigar smoking hellcat”, according to the movie’s tagline. While the movie doesn’t strive for authenticity or accuracy — its characters dress in modern garb despite the 1930s setting, for instance — it’s nonetheless a surprisingly fun ride while it lasts.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Dorothy Provine’s strong, sexy performance as Parker
  • Plenty of zingy one-liners and retorts, as when Bonnie states drolly, “I didn’t lose my nerve; I know right where I left it.”

Must See?
Yes. This little-seen precursor to Arthur Penn’s highly acclaimed Bonnie and Clyde (1969) remains an effective B-budget biopic.

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One Response to “Bonnie Parker Story, The (1958)”

  1. First viewing. A must-see for two reasons: Dorothy Provine’s nifty B-movie performance (she would go on to do mostly tv and ‘perkier’ film roles), and as an invaluable companion piece to the iconic ‘Bonnie and Clyde’. (As for the truth behind either film, consult Wikipedia.)

    As the credits roll to snazzy (granted, of the ’50s and inappropriate) music, Provine is seen changing at a locker as a single light swings above her. Sure sets the mood.

    In this version of the story, Bonnie clearly dominates – everybody, every time. As opposed to Dunaway (who is lured into crime in ‘Bonnie and Clyde’), Provine’s Bonnie has finally had it with rough breaks: “I already made a little mistake, pal. The next one I make is gonna be reeeal big.” It seems she only desires heists and gunplay – but there is the implication that she enjoys sex with two strangers (where was THAT scene?!), and there’s a self-satisfied smile on her face when it seems her husband and Clyde/’Guy’ might fight over who beds her. Later, she also becomes attracted to a pretty decent fellow.

    As noted, there’s lots of snappy, B-movie dialogue – and lots of interesting scenes (one of the best is when a spunky young boy ‘sticks up’ the gang to ‘arrest’ them), but my favorite image is when Provine lights up a smoke and the whole screen becomes an inferno.

    At the end, instead of the slow-mo bloodbath of ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, we get the verbal equivalent: “Boys, they’re a mighty tricky pair. No matter how dead they look, don’t stop firing until I tell you.”

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