Arthur PennAmerican Director

Arthur PennAmerican Director

Nat Segaloff

Print publication date: 2011

ISBN: 9780813129761

Publisher: Discontinued


This book is a biography of one of the twentieth century's most influential filmmakers. Thematic chapters convey the story of Penn's life and career, and they offer pertinent events in the history of American film, theatre, and television. In the process of tracing the full spectrum of his career, the book reveals the enormous scope of Penn's talent and his profound impact on the entertainment industry in an interesting account of the well-known director's life. Born in 1922 to a family of Philadelphia immigrants, the young Penn was bright but aimless—especially compared to his talented older brother Irving, who would later become a world-renowned photographer. Penn drifted into directing, but he soon mastered the craft in three mediums: television, Broadway, and motion pictures. By the time he made Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Penn was already a Tony-winning Broadway director and one of the prodigies of the golden age of television. His innovative handling of the story of two Depression-era outlaws not only challenged Hollywood's strict censorship code, it shook the foundation of studio system itself and ushered in the film revolution. His next films—Alice's Restaurant (1969), Little Big Man (1970), and Night Moves (1975)—became instant classics, summoning emotions from shock to sensuality and from confusion to horror, all of which reflected the complexity of the man behind the camera.