movie film review | chris tookey

Wild One

  Wild One Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
6.91 /10
Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, Robert Keith
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Directed by: Laslo Benedek
Written by: John Paxton from Frank Rooney's story

Released: 1954
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Colour: BW
Length: 79

An outlaw motorcycle gang under its leather-jacketed leader (Marlon Brando) terrorizes a town.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Inspired by events in Hollister, California during 1947, this movie aroused controversy on several counts. The depiction of the local townsfolk's greed and hypocrisy (and their implicit fascism) was deemed anti-American by the US censors, who demanded cuts; while the British censors felt that the whole film glamorized juvenile delinquency and might incite young people to riot, and banned it until 1968.

Now, of course, it looks tame; and the ending - where Brando is tamed by a nice, sympathetic girl (Mary Murphy) - is pat and unconvincing. Still, the nature of the bikers' revolt is sensibly left unclear, and this gives the film a timeless appeal, while Brando is at his most charismatic. Its historical importance, as both the first biker movie and the first "youth picture", makes it worth a look. Sample line... Woman: "What are you rebelling against?" Brando: "What have you got?"

"There was no glorification of violence. We simply showed that this was the first indication that a whole set of people were going to divorce themselves from society and set up their own standards."

(Stanley Kramer, producer)

"I think it was a failure. We started out to do something worthwhile, to explain the psychology of the hipster. But somewhere along the way we went off the track. The result was that instead of finding out why young people tend to bunch into groups that seek expression in violence, all that we did was show the violence."

(Marlon Brando)

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