Robert Benton, born in Oak Cliff and raised in University Park and, later, Waxahachie, began working with collaborator and friend David Newman on a screenplay about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in 1964. They wanted François Truffaut to direct their movie; they had, after all, written it for him. But, instead, the job fell to Arthur Penn, and 1967's Bonnie and Clyde became the film for which he was best known -- it was, after all, "the first modern American film," in the words of critic Patrick Goldstein, who wrote this oral-history-of. Hence the headline in The New York Times that appeared moments ago: "Arthur Penn, Director of 'Bonnie and Clyde,' Is Dead." Penn died last night, one day after his 88th birthday.
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The film, for which Benton and Newman and Penn were all Oscar-nominated, was shot in and around Dallas, for the most part; Benton, the Texan whose father had attended their funerals, demanded that much, and Penn obliged -- he would later say of that decision, "Hollywood doesn't really exist anymore." For those so interested, I found this website detailing the exact locations Penn used -- from Ponder to Pilot Point, all the way to Venus. I know what I'll be watching tonight.