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Celebrating the Life

[Longhorn Review] The Wild One

Material Type: All, Books — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:35 pm

By: Frank Rooney

The Wild One was released in 1954 and stirred up a lot of controversy during its
time. Some argue that it is responsible for the black leather jacket stereotype
often associated with bikers, while others argue it is a counter culture movie that
begs for people to be different. Some feared it would have a negative impact on
society and as such it was banned in some European countries for many years. The
movie stared Marlin Brando as a typical motorcycle person with long sideburns, a
tilted jacket, and riding a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T.

While the overall message
of the film is unclear, it is an entertaining and relatively short movie. It starts
off with a quote “This is a shocking story. It could never take place in most
American towns – but it did in this one.” The beginning part of the movie shows
Marlon Brando as being intrigued by a young beautiful store clerk. He flirts with
her and even goes so far as to offer her a trophy he stole from someone else. She
claims she cannot accept the trophy because he won it and he simply cannot give it
away. As the movie progresses the two seem to flirt with each other both directly
and indirectly, although they do not seem to flirt with each at the same time. In
the middle of the movie he takes her for a ride on his motorcycle and proceeds to
tell him about what seems to be a sexual fantasy. In the fantasy a store customer
comes into the store to buy something and falls in love with her and proceeds to
take her somewhere she has never been. Eventually he does not seem to enjoy her
company but as she leaves he goes to talk to her and to the local townspeople it
appears he is trying to take advantage of her. They then take him captive and beat
him and he eventually ends up in court where the girl defends him. He is released of
charges and ordered to leave the town.

The movie is a good watch and offers a lot of
insight into the culture of the 1950’s. It is interesting to see how culture today
may have been impacted by this movie since its message seems to be a celebration of
free spirited people enjoying life. At times it is clear that Brando is being to
confrontational but the movie is made in such a way that you get a deeper
appreciation for why Marlon Brando acts the way he does. Some argue that the movie
is about a rebellious teen that is abused by society. I would have to agree to that
point, but I will leave it up to the audience to decide the moral and social message
of the movie. It is undoubtedly an entertaining movie and I would recommend it to
anyone interested in good classic films that take appreciation of ideas.

Reviewer: Jonathan Snyder

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