147 Great Directors: Arthur Penn

“There hasn’t been much of a market for what I can do. I’m not into outer space epics or youth pictures.”


What Got This Director Here?
: Bonnie and Clyde.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Bonnie and Clyde.

What Did I Watch: The Miracle Worker.

Where Does He Fit: The same year’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which I find increasingly off putting every time I’m thinking about it but not watching it, was up against a much worthier acting showcase in The Miracle Worker, which is photographed in a much better way to boot thanks to Arthur Penn collaborating with Ernesto Caparros, surprisingly only a two time cinematographer despite doing a great job here. Gregory Peck’s slightly starched performance is good, but Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke, who both won Oscars, are just so alive in this and perform a genuinely exciting duet, with both sides embracing the prickliness in a great way. The most important Oscar race might just be Best Actress ’62, and Bancroft’s win may have caused some oddness in later years but is hard to fault on a performance level.

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Most Valuable Asset: Skill with actors and speedy edits.
Most Excited For: Night Moves.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Sure.

Coming Up Next: Robert Wise, who was all over the map.

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