The Wild One (1953)

The Wild Onewild one poster
Directed by Laslo Benedek
Written by John Paxton based on a story by Frank Rooney
Stanley Kramer Productions
Repeat viewing/Netflix Rental


Mildred: Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?

Johnny: Whadda you got?

This would greatly resemble your average B biker movie were it not for the magnetism of Marlon Brando.

Johnny (Brando) is a leader of a motorcycle club known as The Black Rebels.  One day they crash a motorcycle race and steal the second place trophy for Johnny.  They then move on to a small town where they proceed to generally act up and scare the local citizenry.  Johnny is attracted to Kathie who works at the bar/cafe but backs off when he finds out that her father is the local sheriff.  Johnny hates cops.

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Then a rival gang, The Beetles, shows up led by Chino (Lee Marvin).  He challenges Johnny and they have a fist fight.  Later, Johnny has to rescue Kathy from some gang members who have surrounded her and are scaring her to death.  Things get out of control and some of the locals decide to take matters into their own hands.  Johnny wants to pull out of the town but the gang isn’t cooperating.  Then a fatal accident gets him in even deeper.

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Imagine the Dead End Kids speaking in beatnik lingo (Daddy-o, etc.).  You will picture this motorcycle gang to a T.  That is all except Brando.  He is stuck with the same dialogue but just can’t help being a complete human character.  Anything with Brando from this period is worth seeing but I would seek out several other films before this one.


2 thoughts on “The Wild One (1953)

  1. Geez Louise, I love this movie! Every once in a while it’s on the TCM schedule and I go, yeah, I gotta see it again.
    The MAD version (art by Wally Wood) is hilarious! (And I read it over and over again (in a reprint; I’m not that old!) before I ever saw the movie.)

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