Monday, March 9, 2009

Bonnie and Clyde: The legend of the bank robbers returns

By Craig Wilson

Writer Jeff Guinn is standing in the middle of Route 154, eight miles south of this hardscrabble village in Louisiana's Bienville Parish.

The only sound is the wind whispering through the pine forest that seems to go on for miles around.

"Just look at this," he says. "It's perfect."

He gestures toward a slight curve in the lonely stretch of highway a quarter-mile to the north. It's around this bend that a cordoba gray Ford V-8 sedan came barreling along on a warm spring morning in 1934. A six-man posse, standing on a red clay knoll and hidden by the brush and pines that hugged the then-dirt road, was waiting.

May 23 will mark the 75th anniversary of the ambush that killed two of the most notorious and romanticized criminals in American history — an ambush immortalized in a famous blood-drenched scene from Bonnie and Clyde, the 1967 film that starred a glamorous Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. The day is not passing unnoticed.

Two new books on t couple are about to hit stores, and the movies are taking an interest again: Filming starts this spring on a 21st-century version starring Hilary Duff and Kevin Zegers.

Too bad Bonnie and Clyde aren't still around. They'd love the attention. Bonnie dreamed of being in the movies.

Guinn, whose Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde (Simon & Schuster, 366 pp., $27) goes on sale Tuesday, put 16,000 miles on his car researching his book over two years. He traveled the same roads the deadly duo did on their two-year, multi-state rampage that took them as far west as Arizona and as far north as Minnesota. They killed at least 11 people along the way.

Guinn's travels also took him to this desolate ambush site an hour east of Shreveport. He even slept in his car and ate sausages and beans from a can, just like Bonnie and Clyde.

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