As much as you may want to dislike Warren Beatty, you have to admit that this was a revolutionary film. The film it is most compared to was 'Doctor Dolittle' with Rex Harrison, which came out the same year, and which typified the old Hollywood that had lost touch with what the public wanted. Everything about it was different and anti-establishment. Two years later 'Easy Rider' would fulfill that promise.
Stylistically it's a well made classical Hollywood film, make no mistake. Leave out the bloodbath and it comes closer to John Ford than Sam Peckinpah. What is not-so-classical, and turned out to be in perfect sync with it's time, is the portrayal of restless young generation and their usual middle finger to social norms in such non-apologetic way it has time to deal with impotence as a possible relationship ruin.
Eh...that about sums up my life and this film. Maybe I need to see it again, maybe I am not looking at it right. I just never got attached or drawn to the story or acting. Gene Hackman and Wilder were great and WC Moss was fun to watch. Little monkey boy jumping up and down and shit.
Finally rewatched after many years, and seeing all of Penn's other work. The editing and framing seem quite influenced by the nouvelle vague (not as overbearing as Mickey One) but this style is determined by the opening credits-over-photographs and continues with constant posing and aiming (cameras as well as guns)