8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Powerful preacher for any bike fan,
This review is from: The Wild One [DVD] (DVD)
Leader of a rebellious motorcycle gang Johnny (Brando) becomes infatuated with a waitress whilst the townsfolk despise the group's reputation.
There has been numerous compelling motorcycle driven dramas in the past. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper's controversially realistic "Easy Rider" to recent Oscar nominated "The Motorcycle Diaries" have both put aside the conventional tale of going for a ride and depicting the trouble and traumatic reputation that continues to befuddle the world to this very day, and this film shows pretty much where it all started.
Made in 1953 this was banned in the UK till the mid sixties and with an X rated certificate when ruled legal. In today's modern culture seeing this would be hard to understand why but it is a film made for the time and the context in which it generates its concepts is staggeringly controversial.
The stereotypical version of the modern biker is wearing hard leather, with a beard and acting rough and tough with indistinguishable discourse. Being a biker myself, I have none of these things and am glad to see that this film is not stereotyped but a more look at the fabrications of personality over your representation, which is catalysed by perfection by the Godfather.
Marlon Brando steals the show with a necessary neglectful and hard approach to central protagonist Johnny. Leader of the gang, he is the hardest nut in the toolbox with his nonchalant attitude. His presence is convincing onscreen and dominant in every aspect and this film would have paid a massive wave in Hollywood for him to rightfully take America by storm.
His character is the apparent soulless creature with a collection of followers who are simply just looking to get up and go, and to live the modern stereotype, that is a trait that many bikers still wish for these days. He is an idol in many respects because of his can do attitude. When talking to Cathy in the café he simply asks "Why?" to her converse about her wishing for a better life.
But this film is more about the story than the man. As the group arrive in town there are numerous arguments and a quick established judgement before anything happens. It's amazing to think that a whole town would immediately jump to a forgone conclusion without knowing any of the bikers. The film follows on with heavy political and legal debates that don't bore and often excite with even the odd spurt of humour. Even the romantic side of things isn't clichéd and conventional which is an added bonus.
When looking at the other films mentioned above, this has to be the most judgemental and surprising if not as shocking as easy rider. This is strong issue driven cinema that does not let itself slide into stereotypical traits, a must watch for any biker.