The Wild One

The Wild One

Receiving billing above the film’s title, Marlon Brando was met with soaring praise for his performance in his fifth feature as the vicious Johnny Straibler, whose leather- and denim-clad outfits became wildly en vogue for rebellious youth eager to self-identify with 1950s counterculture. The original script, deemed by the Production Code Administration to be “a story of violence and lawlessness to such a degree [that it is]… anti-social,” was initially rejected even though its contents were based on a true story of rival biker gangs originally published in Harper’s. Brando confessed in his autobiography Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me that more than most characters, he deeply identified with Johnny, and that pathos shines through the snarl.

DIRECTED BY: Laszlo Benedek. WRITTEN BY: John Paxton. WITH: Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, Robert Keith, Lee Marvin. 1953. 79 min. USA. B&W. English. DCP.

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