‘Bonnie and Clyde’ — Oh Dear


I don’t expect much from period productions these days. But my goodness, get a load of these two.

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At left, a publicity still from the TV miniseries with Holliday Grainger and Emile Hirsch, costume design by Marilyn Vance, who worked on the period movie “The Rocketeer.” At right, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, costume design by Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

Let’s start with Hirsch.

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Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

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OK, pay attention. Hirsch’s hat is all wrong. It’s not even right vintage (it looks like a 1950s style) and it’s just been jammed on his head. And Hirsch’s hair is too long. Also notice Barrow’s crisp shirt collar and neatly knotted tie. Barrow, for all his faults, was at least paying attention to fashion. Hirsch looks like he’s playing “dress up in old clothes.”

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First of all, Barrow isn’t wearing a vest. Also notice that the general cut of his jacket is tighter, which is especially prominent in the sleeves. The jacket cuffs also fall just slightly higher on his wrists. What stands out to me the most is that the shoulders on Barrow’s jacket have a much nicer, smoother, more tailored shape. Poor old Hirsch looks like he’s wearing a jacket that’s too big and a bit lumpy, as if someone grabbed it off the rack because it “looked period.”

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Barrow’s pants have a roomy cut, but they are sharply creased and the cuffs actually fall a bit father down over the shoes. Hirsch’s pants are just baggy and unpressed. And what kind of shoes is Hirsch wearing?

All right, dearie,  your turn.

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Wow. Well, to the production’s credit, it looks as if they tried to re-create Parker’s outfit. Sort of.

Notice, first of all that Parker is showing a lot less leg because her skirt falls to the ankles.

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Grainger, however, is showing a lot more leg.

She’s also a bit heftier.

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Parker is actually a bit skinny while Grainger is carrying much more of a derriere.

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Well, the production tried to re-create Parker’s outfit. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it almost looks like Parker is wearing a short-sleeve jacket over a sweater. The hats aren’t even close.

In all, Grainger has been given a much more elegant interpretation of a pretty hardscrabble Depression-era outfit.

Oh yes, the shotguns.



Any guesses as to what Grainger is carrying?

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Fashion, Film, Hollywood, Television and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ — Oh Dear

  1. aryedirect says:

    One word: Newsboycaps.


  2. Luanne says:

    This is fabulous! I love looking at the details like that.


  3. Bill says:

    Hard to tell, but it looks like Grainger is holding a Winchester Model 1897 pump. Bonnie Parker, by contrast, has a Browning Auto-5 semiautomatic (also sold as the Remington 11).


  4. maedez says:

    Hirsch looks like he is a child playing dress-up in his dad’s suit. Also, I plan on hate-watching every second of this horrible-looking movie.


  5. Earl Boebert says:

    Plus Hirsch is “close but no cigar” (sorry, couldn’t resist) and Bonnie’s hosiery is less sheer than Grainger’s.


  6. Jack Calvert says:

    I don’t believe anybody sets out to make a terrible movie (The execrable ‘An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn’ is one notable exception), and when I hear that somebody is lensing a new film about Bonnie & Clyde, I want them to succeed I really do. Even if it is for A&E and the History Channel, notwithstanding the fact that A&E has about as much to do with Arts & Entertainment as the History Channel has to do with actual history these days. That ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ was to be directed by Bruce Beresford (“Black Robe,” “Tender Mercies”) gave one hope for something more than just another generic TV movie.

    And then I saw the trailer. Oh. My. God.

    From Nico Vega’s somnabulist reworking of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang,’ to the standard Lifetime movie setups and camerawork, and the numbingly predictable slo-mo shots (which Arthur Penn did better, and to much more dramatic effect), I have never seen a trailer that made me dislike a movie this much without actually having seen it. The cringe-inducing wardrobe–especially Emile Hirsch’s–is about what you’d expect from a high school production of ‘Guys and Dolls.’ It’s that terrible. The other obvious problem is the youthful, well-fed, rosy-cheeked cast, led by Hirsch and Holliday Grainer, who are so callow and cosmetically perfect, this looks less like a movie about Bonnie and Clyde than a fantasy episode of ‘Gossip Girl.’

    Oy. My head hurts.

    As always, thumbs up for the great column, Larry.


    • lmharnisch says:

      These types of productions always remind me of “Bugsy Malone.” And not in a good way.


      • I love “Bugsy Malone,” except for the grownup voices coming out of the kids’ mouths during the songs. But I haven’t watched it from a costuming point of view.

        “A&E has about as much to do with Arts & Entertainment…”
        But they did that fabulous Hornblower series! Granted, that was ten years ago.

        “…so callow and cosmetically perfect, this looks less like a movie about Bonnie and Clyde than a fantasy episode of ‘Gossip Girl.’”
        After watching the trailer, I have to agree; well-stated.


  7. Jack Calvert says:

    Your nickname ought to be ‘Hawkeye,’ Larry. If I were hired to direct a period film, you’d be the first guy I would call. Nothing ruins the suspension of disbelief faster than a bad hat. And that is some bad hat, Larry! Shades of ‘The Gangster Squad’ all over again…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. eve says:

    You know what infuriates me? OK, well, a lot of things infuriate me. But there is a really good story in Bonnie and Clyde if it were done with grit and realism and accuracy. A smart, ambitious, dirt-poor girl falls for a sociopath and follows him into murder and poverty and death in the Dust Bowl–THERE’S a good story.

    Read Bonnie’s Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde, that girl was a darned good poet.


  9. Parker isn’t wearing t-strap shoes, as Grainger is–it surprises me that they changed that, since ankle-strap shoes are pretty easy to find. I’m thinking the extra leg exposure is just because almost-ankle-sweeping skirts are kind of unflattering, and Hollywood’s business is to be flattering. I notice you didn’t point out that Hirsch is shorter than Barrow; why pick on the actress’s figure? I think it looks great. Obviously not as skinny as Parker, but young actresses today are generally unhealthy looking in their skinniness, so no need to add more fuel to that fire.

    I believe the berets are much more similar than they appear here; it’s just that Grainger’s isn’t arranged exactly like in the photo. Other pictures of Parker/Barrow show the beret looking more like Grainger’s. I think Grainger does have some kind of jacket thing over the sweater, although that original sweater is a puzzle, judging from what’s available online. I think they did what they could, but they weren’t able to match the pattern exactly, for some reason. Hirsch’s tie is also way off, but I do think it looks acceptably like a tie someone might wear in the ’30s, at least in this view. It looks like Barrow’s gun is in some kind of holster, though, while Hirsch has his in his pants.

    I enjoyed the post, especially the details about Barrow’s suit. A lot of people mistakenly think that men’s suits never change.

    Some helpful person has posted a comparison of the same photo with the Dunaway/Beatty version, if anyone is interested: http://s42.photobucket.com/user/BUDSTAMPER/media/BEATTY/BCrealandfiction.jpg.html


    • After reading Jack Calvert’s comment, I have to admit he has a point about the actors looking too healthy and perfect. But usually Hollywood casts young women who are far skinnier than their real-life counterparts, so in some ways it’s a relief that they went very slightly the other way, even if it does kind of mess up the Depression vibe.


      • “so in some ways it’s a relief that they went very slightly the other way, even if it does kind of mess up the Depression vibe.”

        Not just the depression. As the Barrow gang became more well-known, they had to avoid public places. They lived out of their (stolen) cars and their camping was far from glamorous, often eating beans from a can. The women were under 100 lbs. at that point. Clyde was a small man to begin with and he didn’t way more than 125 lbs. Yet, they’d still take clothes to the cleaners at times.


  10. Eve says:

    I may actually watch this, just to burn the horrible memory of Carrie “You Need Jesus” Underwood’s Sound of Music “performance” out of my brain.


  11. Gary Alexander says:

    Wow. It’s like the Dunaway/Beatty version didn’t even try.


  12. Riley says:

    Looks like one of those productions of comicbook stories that use real people.


  13. Oh boy, did I have fun reading this blog! Let me tell you why! I loved the 1967 movie. I loved the clothes design by Theadora van Runkle and the banjo playing during the chase scenes by Earl Scrugs. And I’m curious about these people. I was pensive about the new version of the movie. Yuck. After I saw it, I rewatched Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Actually, I’d like to have Emile Hirsch with Faye Dunaway except she’s probably too tall for him. Holliday Grainer doesn’t fit the part, period. At least Faye was thin. Bonnie Parker was a small person. She was interested in fashion and so was Clyde who liked to wear silk shirts. I watched a documentary on the subject and then read the book “My Life with Bonnie and Clyde” by Blanche Barrow. Blanche is so much more interesting than her portrayal in either movie. I’d like to feature Bonnie’s clothing as doll clothes so I’ve been studying that knit outfit, or whatever it was. Right now, I’m perusing the internet, looking for more photos of Bonnie in that outfit. I honestly would have never noticed all the details on Clyde’s suit. I sure appreciate all the observations and details that you have shared. I’m going to check out the link that harriedcostumer shared.

    BTW, this A&E version contained too much fiction. Bonnie as a saddistic killer. Bonnie running the show. I’m guessing she influenced Clyde a bit but he was clearly the gang leader. I do not like A&E’s portrayal of her at all. I didn’t mind this version of Clyde at all.


  14. This looks more like a jacket in this photo. but maybe it’s attached.


  15. godfreyofboulogne says:

    I note with some amusement that the recreated photo has omitted Barrow’s cigar. Can’t have outlaws doing anything as horrible as consuming tobacco, you know…..


  16. Pingback: Clyde Barrow’s Blue Hairline Windowpane Suit (2013 Version) | BAMF Style

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