Arlecchino Cinema > 11:30


Laszlo Benedek


Sunday 26/06/2016


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

The difference between The Wild One and everything that the cinema had produced on the subject before is truly enormous. It’s not that there hadn’t been films on adolescent gangs before. […] But they all insisted on the social causes of their ‘maladjustment’ and of the democratic possibilities of overcoming them. Those rebels had, if not a cause, at least clearly identifiable social reasons to rebel. But the Fifties witnessed an entirely different phenomenon. Youthful rebellion now lacked clear motivation, as the title Rebel without a Cause made explicit two years later. Its roots are more generational and psychological than social. […] Benedek was the first to highlight the new connotations of this revolt: the new generation’s lack of class distinctions, the absence of goals, and the consequent risk of gratuitous and entirely self-serving violence. […] With all its limits, The Wild One is truly the first of a new tendency; even if its impact was not felt immediately but over the long-term, it has now entered into the international collective imaginary like few films have. […] And Brando? When The Wild One came out in England in 1968, one of the best English critics, Raymond Durgnat, wrote that “Brando’s gritty style has a bedrock power that doesn’t date, and the slightly dated associations of the Method style only enhance the atmosphere of a lost cause, of a doomed soul […]”.
Brando is an immediate and central physical presence as soon as he appears in the first scene – the Black Rebels roaring down a street with Johnny in the lead. His image is defined by its novelty and its outsider status: the motorbike, the leather, the t-shirt with a black collar, the dark sunglasses, the sporty beret and the impassive expression. A real tough guy. He is the leader of the gang and also the most imposing presence. His silent and morose manner stands out from the coarseness of the rest of the gang, while the scenes with Kathie reveal his fragility. The dialogue of their principal scenes together was largely improvised and Brando has never mumbled so much, given the character’s inability to express that which he feels. It is his inarticulacy and gaze which convey his spirit: the profound difficulty in understanding and communicating through words that which he comes to realise about himself.

Goffredo Fofi

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal racconto The Cyclists’ Raid di Frank Rooney. Scen.: John Paxton. F.: Hal Mohr. M.: Al Clark. Scgf.: Walter Holscher. Mus.: Leith Stevens. Int.: Marlon Brando (Johnny), Mary Murphy (Kathie), Robert Keith (Harry Bleeker), Lee Marvin (Chino), Jay C. Flippen (sceriffo Singer), Peggy Maley (Mildred), Hugh Sanders (Charlie Thomas), Ray Teal (Frank Bleeker), John Brown (Bill Hannegan), Will Wright (Art Kleiner). Prod.: Stanley Kramer Pictures Corp.. DCP. D.: 79’. Bn.