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April 20 2014

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Remembering Penn

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Sad news from the world of cinema: Director Arthur Penn has died at the age of 88. Penn made a number of intriguing, always smart movies, but none more sensational—or with more lasting impact—than 1967′s Bonnie and Clyde. The flick’s unstinting violence (the final scene is still a stomach-turner even in the era of Saw VI) is jarringly and deliberately juxtaposed with its beauty and style—personified, of course, by its young star, Faye Dunaway (as Bonnie Parker, left). Penn and Dunaway—along with director of photography Burnett Guffey and costume designer Theadora Van Runkle—not only changed the course of movies but had a lasting influence on fashion (one that continues right through to our current obsession with camel). Penn didn’t necessarily talk a lot about that aspect of his legacy, but style ran in his family. His older brother, who died last year, was the photographer Irving Penn. Clearly they both had an irreplaceable knack for creating iconic images.

Photo: Everett Collection

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