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Celebrating the Life

The Wild One

[Longhorn Review] The Wild One

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: frank rooney, hollister bike riot, marlon brando, the cyclists' raid, the wild one — Posted on May 4, 2011, 4:27 pm

By: Laslo Benedek

Computer-generated imagery, life-like green screen shots, and color cameras
present a new face to films created in the technology era. The Wild One’s seemingly
amateur use of green screen and grayscale color scheme allow the viewers of today to
look past the superfluous technology and to concentrate on the film’s artistic

The director, Laslo Benedek, utilizes Marlon Brando’s captivating,
charismatic appearance on the screen to establish a commanding authority over the
Black Rebels Motorcycle Club. Loosely based on the Hollister Biker Riot that
occurred on the Fourth of July weekend in 1947, the film settles in Wrightsville
with an invading gang of bikers who ransack the town, disturb the locals, and cause
civil unrest. Johnny, the leader of BRMC and played by Marlon Brando, falls for the
sheriff’s daughter over the course of the film, ultimately culminating in the
handing over of his prized trophy to her.

Although the era in which the film was
created relied on lower forms of technology, the obvious visual flaw that the actors
did not actually ride motorcycle in the film created a “cheesy” feel and a negative
ethos appeal, especially towards Brando’s character who leads an entire bike gang.
Other reviews place criticism on Brando’s character being “too distant, just like
the rest of the film”; however, his distance creates an emotionless, simple
character whose rough edge creates an opposites-attract feel to his relationship
with the sheriff’s daughter (Fevang).

As much as actors and actresses make a movie,
the landscapes, costumes, and music provide the ambience in which the movie can
successfully emit its message. Opposite of the landscape of “The Cyclists’ Raid,”
the short story on which the film is based, The Wild One takes place in a small,
western, country town with little more than a gas station and a café. Even the
inhabitants of Wrightsville dress as one would assume that a town in that time, in
that location would.

Fevang, Fredrik Gunerius. "The Wild One (1953)." Rev. of The
Wild One, dir. Laslo Benedek. Film: Reviews. The FreshSite, 12 Apr. 2006. Web. 27
Apr. 2011. .

Reviewer: Stephen Bourne

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