S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
The Wild One [Blu-ray]
(Laslo Benedek, 1953)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Stanley Kramer Productions
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 29,747,105,164 bytes
Feature Size: 19,658,692,608 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.82 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: June 13th, 2013
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), English, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, none
• Introduction to the film by Karen Kramer (1:23)
Description: "What are you rebelling against?" asks someone. "What've you got?" responds surly, leather-jacketed motorcycle punk Marlon Brando. It comes as a disappointment to discover that The Wild One, the quintessential Brando "rebel" film, is at base a traditional "misunderstood youth vs. the nasty system" effort, with a particularly banal finale. Based on a true incident, the film begins with Brando and his motorcyle gang invading a small town after having been kicked out of a cycle competition (but not before stealing the second-prize trophy). Brando's bikers raise hell all day, but some of the townsfolk are shown to be little better than the invaders. Sheriff Robert Keith, whose daughter (Murphy) has gone fond of Brando, finally responds to the bikers' destructiveness by jailing Lee Marvin, leader of a rival gang. When Marvin's buddies goes on a rampage, Brando exhibits his essential decency by safely escorting the sheriff's daughter out of the melee.
During the weekend of July 4, 1947, four thousand members of a motorcycle club roared into the sleepy little town of Hollister, California, and tore the place apart. They ran their bikes into cafes and bars, drank up every drop of liquor in town, destroyed furniture and property, and terrorized the townspeople. After two days of wild partying, they pulled up stakes and rode away. The incident was dramatized in an article in Harper's magazine which attracted the attention of producer Stanley Kramer who finally developed it into a film six years later entitled The Wild One, 1954 (The originally working title was The Cyclists' Raid).
The Black Rebels Motorcycle Club, a group of bikers led by Johnny
Strabler (Marlon Brando), rides into Carbonville, California during a
motorcycle race and causes trouble. A member of the gang, Mouse (Gil
Stratton), steals the second-place trophy (the first place one being too
large to hide) and presents it to Johnny. Stewards and policemen order
them to leave.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Wild One looks very strong on Blu-ray from Sony in Europe. The image quality shows a fine layer of grain and adept contrast with some rich black levels. It is neither glossy nor abnormally crisp but shows some depth and I would guess the 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080P transfer is a strong replication of the theatrical appearance. There is a consistent, pleasing, thickness to the visuals. This Blu-ray is dual-layered with a very high bitrate in 1080P. I was quite impressed with the HD presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Unfortunately, Sony have scrimped with a lossy audio track - a simple Dolby stereo transfer. It sounds clean but unremarkable. All those motorcycle rumbling engines would have gained significant depth in uncompressed. The score by Leith Stevens (I Married a Monster From Outer Space, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Garment Jungle) is supportive but lacks crispness. There are multiple foreign-language DUBs and subtitle options supporting the Blu-ray's region FREE status.
As well as a brief introduction to the film by Karen Kramer, the lauded producer's wife, we get a video piece about Hollister, California, the town the where the film is based. It has interviews with bikers and residents of Hollister, runs almost 1/2 hour and is entitled Hollister, California: Bikers, Booze and The Big Picture. There is also a 20-minute bio piece; Brando: An Icon is Born which includes interviews with Taylor Hackford, Dennis Hopper and Karen Kramer. There is one more supplement - the 17-minute Stanley Kramer: A Man's Search for Truth with Alec Baldwin, Beau Bridges, Louis Gossett Jr., Norman Jewison and others. These were all found on the Stanley Kramer Film Collection DVD boxset, but absent is the commentary with author and film historian Jeanine Basinger.
June 30th, 2014
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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