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OUR PATRON SAINT
ISSUE NUMBER TWO
FALL 2015  Written and Edited by Dr. Mike Rickard

"They're young, they're in love, and they kill people." With this tagline, Bonnie and Clyde (1967) took America by storm, going on to become one of the most iconic road movies of all time.  The film is original and unique for many reasons including its outstanding acting, a compelling love story with a countercultural subtext, and good cinematography.

        Warren Beatty does an excellent job portraying Clyde Barrow as a flawed character.   Like Kit in Badlands, Clyde is not a genius but he has the survival instincts of a predator.   Beatty, known for his good looks, does a terrific job of portraying an ordinary looking low-level criminal whose exploits attract notoriety.   Beatty plays against type in the film:

In an ironic contrast to his public image as playboy, Beatty would play Barrow as impotent - an audacious move which launches his sexual appeal to Bonnie (Faye Dunaway), in a film about 'stick-ups', while the yearning to connect with each other would become a core subtext to Bonnie and Clyde's drama, realised (sp) in the final poignant exchange of looks between the lovers in the final moment before they are murdered. (Lennon)"

Beatty's performance captures Barrow as more of an antihero who is emotionally troubled and whose love for the sexually aggressive Bonnie is hampered by his impotence.

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        The film The Maltese Falcon is a close adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's novel.   This should come as no surprise given the film's production.   According to the DVD supplementary material "The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird", John Huston wrote the screenplay directly from the book.   The result was a film that captured much of the book's plot and dialogue. 

The only exceptions of note were those called for by the Hays Code.   While the Hays Code prohibited director John Huston from covering some of the novel's racier aspects such as Spade sleeping with Bridget and the fact that Cairo, Gutman, and Wilmer are homosexual, Huston and his cast did their best to imply what the Hays Code prevented them from showing explicitly. 

While The Maltese Falcon captured the dialogue and plot of the novel, what about the actors and actresses?  Did they do a good job of portraying the characters?   As we shall see, the cast did a remarkable job of portraying the characters as they appeared in the novel.

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The Maltese Falcon: How Does the Classic Film Compare to the Classic Novel?
        The stories of "Lanval" and "The Wife of Bath's Tale" (hereafter referred to as "Wife") both use humor and satire in their respective tales.   Humor is something that will make us laugh while satire is social commentary that uses wit and irony.   Both stories make light of and comment on the roles of men and women, medieval attitudes towards romance (which for purposes of this essay includes romance as a courtship process and romance as a story of love and adventure set in a world of knights, castles, and contains fantasy elements), and chivalry.   What makes these two stories particularly interesting is that "Lanval" was written by a woman (Marie de France) while "Wife" was written by a man (Geoffrey Chaucer) who tells things from a woman's perspective.
        
READ MORE:
Bonnie & Clyde: Two Crazy Counter-Cultural Kids in Love
Feminist Themes in Medieval Writing: Examining the Stories "Lanval" and "The Wife of Bath's Tale"
COMIC BOOK ESSENTIALS: THE SECRET EMPIRE SAGA

The early 1970's were an uncertain time for Marvel Comics fans.   The Silver Age of Comics was coming to a close and most of the key figures who had built the Marvel universe were gone.  Steve Ditko left Marvel in 1966, Jack Kirby left Marvel in 1970, and Stan Lee stopped writing for Marvel in 1972, taking on the role of publisher.  The loss of key creative figures left a vacuum in the Marvel Bullpen.  Fortunately for Marvel fans, a new crop of writers brought in fresh ideas and new takes on the characters.  One such writer was Steve Englehart, the man who would take the title Captain America to new heights and incorporate politics into Marvel's most patriotic character.   Englehart's work on Captain America would be epitomized in his "Secret Empire" storyline.


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