Next month, A&E will be airing a four-hour miniseries based on the lives and exploits of Bonnie and Clyde, and History Channel, which is also owned by A+E Networks Digital, has released a set of two documentaries about Bonnie and Clyde. The first documentary is Bonnie and Clyde: The Story of Love & Death, and the main focus is on the romance between Bonnie and Clyde as well as their relationships and correspondence with their family. The second documentary is Man, Moment, Machine: Hunting Bonnie and Clyde, and the focus is less on the relationships and more on the authorities pursuing them.
Bonnie and Clyde: The Story of Love & Death is easily the superior documentary of the set. It rarely relies on re-enactments, and there isn't any of the heavy-handed narration or flashy editing usually seen in made-for-TV documentaries produced today. If anything, the true story brings Bonnie and Clyde back down to earth and reminds the audience that they were real people, and while the Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway movie gets some details of their life right, it also changes and rewrites entire segments of their life and romance.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Man, Moment, Machine: Hunting Bonnie and Clyde. The documentary has some merit. Segments about the firearms used by police and Clyde's weapon of choice were intriguing, even for someone unfamiliar with firearms. The documentary lost my interest, however, when the editor cut back to over-the-top re-enactments that play out like a high school production of Bonnie and Clyde. While the other documentary was grounded, Man, Moment, Machine tried to capture the tone of the Beatty/Dunaway film, not realizing there is enough real human drama in the story already.
Despite the problems with Man, Moment, Machine, I would still recommend checking out Bonnie & Clyde: The Real Story based the strength of The Story of Love & Death alone. It is worth a watch just to hear about Clyde's family directly from his sister, who agreed to be interviewed on-camera.
The DVD release comes with a trailer.
"Bonnie & Clyde: The Real Story" is on sale November 5, 2013 and is not rated. Directed by Linda Fuller, Michael Mcinerney. Starring Jack Perkins.