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Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain BreakdownThe Making of an American Classic$
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Thomas Goldsmith

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042966

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042966.001.0001

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Riding with Bonnie and Clyde

Riding with Bonnie and Clyde

(p.101) 12 Riding with Bonnie and Clyde
Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain Breakdown

Thomas Goldsmith

University of Illinois Press

The banjo tune “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” took a roundabout path to become the voice of the genre-changing film Bonnie and Clyde, first released in 1967. The movie’s eventual star, Warren Beatty, was behind the scoring and several stories are presented about his decision. The movie script, by Esquire staffers Robert Benton and David Newman, also passed through a succession of hands—including those of French New Wave auteurs François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard—before Beatty, its champion, succeeded in getting the services of American director Arthur Penn. The resulting movie, a fictionalization of criminals Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker’s murderous episodes, had a slow start but eventually galvanized audiences with its dark humor and raucous score. NYT critic Bosley Crowther saw his career at the paper end after fervently dissing the film.

Keywords:   Earl Scruggs, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Warren Beatty, François Truffaut, Faye Dunaway, Robert Benton, Bonnie and Clyde, Pete Kuykendall, Pauline Kael, Bosley Crowther, David Newman

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