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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Wild One [Blu-ray]

 

(Laslo Benedek, 1953)

 

   

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Stanley Kramer Productions

Video: Sony

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:19:06.742 

Disc Size: 29,747,105,164 bytes

Feature Size: 19,658,692,608 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.82 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 13th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
DUBs:

Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, none

 

Extras:

• Introduction to the film by Karen Kramer (1:23)
• Hollister, California: Bikers. Booze and the Big Picture (27:49)
• Brando: An Icon is Born (18:39)
• Stanley Kramer: A Man's Search for Truth (16:56)
 

Bitrate:

 

 

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.

 

 

The Film:

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).

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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.

The bikers head to Wrightsville, which only has one elderly, conciliatory lawman, Chief Harry Bleeker (Robert Keith), to maintain order. The residents are uneasy, but mostly willing to put up with their visitors. When their antics cause Art Kleiner (Will Wright) to swerve and crash his car, he demands that something be done, but Harry is reluctant to act, a weakness that is not lost on the interlopers. This accident results in the gang having to stay longer in town, as one member injured himself falling off his motorcycle. Although the young men become more and more boisterous, their custom is enthusiastically welcomed by Harry's brother Frank (Ray Teal) who runs the local cafe-bar, employing Harry's daughter, Kathie (Mary Murphy) and the elderly Jimmy (William Vedder).

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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.

 

 

Extras :

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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Wild One is quite fascinating on one level, but also 'dated' on another. Early Brando is always hypnotic and the film carries heavy tension throughout. The swift conclusion seems a shade odd, but the overall film experience is a very positive one. I got a lot out of this and enjoyed the region FREE Blu-ray presentation. This has full value. Strongly recommended!

Gary Tooze

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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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