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Arthur Penn
Director / Producer
1922 - 2010
Born September 27, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Key Production Country: USA
Key Genres: Drama, Western, Revisionist Western
Key Collaborators: Dede Allen (Editor), George Jenkins (Production Designer), Warren Beatty (Leading Player), Marlon Brando (Leading Player), Faye Dunaway (Leading Player), Gene Hackman (Leading Player), Hurd Hatfield (Leading Player), Fred Coe (Producer), Robert M. Sherman (Producer), Ghislain Cloquet (Cinematographer)

Highly Recommended: Bonnie and Clyde (1967)*
Recommended: The Left-Handed Gun (1958), The Miracle Worker (1962), Mickey One (1965), Night Moves (1975)*
Worth a Look: The Chase (1966), Alice's Restaurant (1969), Little Big Man (1970), Four Friends (1981)
Approach with Caution: The Missouri Breaks (1976)
* Listed in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films section.

Links: [ Amazon ] [ IMDB ] [ All-Movie Guide[ Senses of Cinema: Great Directors ] [ Film Reference ] [ WNET New York Interview ] [ Internet Broadway Database ] [ Hollywood Reporter News Article (2006) ] [ Moving Image Source Article (2008) ] [ New York Times Article (2010) ] [ Sight & Sound Article (2010) ]
Books: [ Arthur Penn
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)The Left-Handed Gun (1958)The Miracle Worker (1962)Night Moves (1975)
  "For a stage director whose work suffers from an oppressive literalness of effect, Penn has revealed a distinctive flair for the cinema. The intense physicality of the performances in his films serves to counterbalance a strained reading of lines. A director of force rather than grace, Penn may yet reassert the plastic role of the actor in the scheme of things. Be that as it may, The Left-Handed Gun remains a tribute to the director's gifts of improvisation." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)  
  "Penn is the classic example of a fine director touching his peak, wobbling a little, re-finding himself, and then going, completely off the boil... There are too few directors of Penn's particular talent around today and it is something of a tragedy that either Hollywood, or the sum of his own particular idiosyncrasies, has let him down." - Mario Reading (The Movie Companion, 2006)  
  "American director who has made an interesting variety of films, some of them very fine - but only 13 in 30 years... Since Bonnie and Clyde, Penn has not proved to be a major figure at the box office; his films are always fascinating, even exciting, in concept and casting, but sometimes lacking in fulfilment." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Illustrated Guide to Film Directors, 1999)  
  "The alienation of modern man in society, and the breaking of myths and legends are the subjects of Penn's most effective films." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)  
Please note that the rating given for this director (see top-right) is based only on the films we have seen (listed above). Films by this director that we haven't seen include Target (1985), Dead of Winter (1987), and Penn & Teller Get Killed (1989).

"Although his contribution to the depiction of film violence in Bonnie and Clyde (1967) was indeed startling and groundbreaking, Arthur Penn, like Sam Peckinpah, should be seen as something other than a filmmaker preoccupied with bloodshed. Arthur Penn is a skilled dramatist who, like other innovators in screen violence, offered moral and other lessons about the prominence of violence in American life… Still, Bonnie and Clyde is no doubt the film most associated with Penn, for it was a landmark in American cinema." - Christopher Sharrett, Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film

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Expressive Esoterica
501 Movie Directors: A Comprehensive Guide to the Greatest Filmmakers
See Also
Warren Beatty
Robert Benton
John Frankenheimer
Monte Hellman
George Roy Hill
Dennis Hopper
Sidney Lumet
Sam Peckinpah
Sydney Pollack
Bob Rafelson
Nicholas Ray
Stuart Rosenberg


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