video_37The Wild One
Directed by Laslo Benedek
Columbia Tristar, 1953
79 minutes

by Tammy Vrieze

No one is as misunderstood as a biker. Something about black leather and loud pipes is supposed to make small Protestant townsfolk shake in their cowboy boots. I blame Hollywood. Movie bikers are always stereotyped as bad ass gang members unfit for decent society. One of the most popular early examples to prove my point is “The Wild One”.

Marlon Brando, before the weight gain and the cotton mouth, rolls into a quiet California town with his Black Rebels Motorcycle Club. While “Dragging for Drinks” one of the guys gets hurt and they decide to park their bikes and stay awhile while he recovers. When Chino, a rival gang leader arrives on the scene with his club the town faces twice the threat.

While the guys all saddle up to the bar, Brando is distracted by the beautiful Mary Murphy who plays the sheriff’s daughter. He focuses his attentions on her while everyone else saddles up to the bar. Intoxication sets deep and the two gangs wreak havoc and run amok through the town. However, this town won’t lay still for destruction. The townspeople demand control of the situation and since Brando’s the leader it is his blood they want first.

I love black and white films from the 50’s! They pull dramatic intensity from the slightest scenario and I find myself convinced of the horrors that would normally not trouble me in the least.

Directed by Laslo Benedek, “The Wild One” has become a cult classic. Although Marlon Brando is the star my favorite character by far was Chino played by Lee Marvin. If you’re one of the small handful of people that haven’t seen this film check it out. Or if it’s a favorite of yours, watch it again.

M.M.M.

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