The Wild One

Posted: March 23, 2011 in Films
Tags: , , , ,

Starring: Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, Lee Marvin

Director: Laszlo Benedek

Year: 1953

The Wild One was slated as being a somewhat crude movie back in the early 1950’s, and whilst it was released in 1953 in the USA, in the United Kingdom it was banned for a remarkable fourteen years.  It finally saw the light of day in the UK in 1967.  The Wild One is now seen as an iconic movie, with Marlon Brando’s biker image found on many postcards and poster prints.

The movie is about a gang of biker boys, who invade a small town called Wrightsville during a bike race.  Johnny (Brando), ends up having a thing for the policeman’s daughter, Kathie (Murphy), who works at the local cafe and spends a lot of the movie ‘chatting her up’.  A rival gang stops off in town on their motorcycles, and this forces Johnny to want to leave as it turns out he and the rival gangs leader, Chino (Lee Marvin), used to be friends until Johnny started up a gang of his own.  Chino and his gang cause a massive disruption around the town, which ends up in Chino getting himself into all sorts of bother with the police, and eventually he and his gang end up on the run and leave town.  They later return to cause more havoc, this time on a personal level for Johnny.

Johnny pulls off a few surprising heroics towards the end of this movie, and it has quite a soft, almost soppy ending to it which helps take away some of its rough edge.  It is a movie that will live on for generations, and is up there with Some Like It Hot and many others.  It seems very lacklustre compared to the movies we see today, and many young’uns will wonder what all of the fuss was about, but nothing can take away the chemistry on-screen between Brando and Murphy and the wonderful acting on display throughout which often makes up for quite a linear story.  If anyone else other than Brando was to play the part as Johnny, it makes you wonder if the movie would have ever been as iconic on-screen as it is today.  I don’t think it would have been, for Brando portrays the bad boy image superbly, and his bad boy attitude in The Wild One stands out like no other and is one of his most talked about movies.



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