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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 / Mill Creek (US) / Indicator (UK)

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:19:06.742 / 1:19:03.989 / 1:19:06.032

Disc Size: 29,747,105,164 bytes / 19,700,549,025 bytes / 44,078,028,374 bytes

Feature Size: 19,658,692,608 bytes / 19,596,742,656 bytes / 23,339,462,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.82 Mbps / 29.42 Mbps / 35.03 Mbps

Chapters: 16 / 6 / 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 13th, 2013 / March 17th, 2015 / May 22nd, 2017

 

Video (all three):

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

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1902 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1902 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 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


English, none

 

English (SDH), 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)

 

None

 

• Audio commentary by author and film historian Jeanine Basinger
• The Wild One and the BBFC (2017, 25:11): ex-BBFC examiner Robert Falcon discusses the films' history with the British censor.
• Introduction to the film by Karen Kramer (2007, 1:23)
• Hollister, California: Bikers. Booze and the Big Picture (2007, 27:49) A look back at the real-life events that inspired the film.
• Brando: An Icon is Born (2007, 18:38) A documentary exploring the life and career of the legendary actor.
Super 8 Version (20:00)
• Original theatrical trailer (1:37)
• Image gallery (31 images)
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Kat Ellinger
• Limited Dual Format Edition of 3,000 copies

DVD
 

Bitrate:

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Mill Creek - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

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.

 

The new Mill Creek Blu-ray is, from the same source as the European release. Single-layered, same decent bitrate which supports the grain and thickness but, like The Lady From Shanghai, is brighter. I prefer the European - I think it has smoother grain, but many viewers won't find the differences unpalatable.

 

The Indicator is superior - a more stable image, appropriately darker, wonderful grain and a smidgeon tighter (if you zoom in). No question it is the best in-motion and looks flawless. Indicator have taken the trouble to provide a max'ed out bitrate and discerning viewers will notice on their systems. Looks to, again, be the same source - exact same framing... very clean image with the source maintaining strong density.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Mill Creek - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Mill Creek - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 lacks crispness in the standard Dolby. There are multiple foreign-language DUBs and subtitle options supporting the Blu-ray's region FREE status.

 

This is one area that the Mill Creek definitely advances. They use a DTS-HD Master Audio English 1902 kbps and the rumbling motorcycle engines export some real depth. and the Leith Stevens score is notably tighter and richer. Mill Creek add optional English subtitles (see sample above) on their Region FREE Blu-ray disc.

 

Indicator, again, go liner PCM - original mono 24-bit - and it sounds solid - maintaining the high-end sounding tight and rich. The score by Leith Stevens (I Married a Monster From Outer Space, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Garment Jungle) is supported well adding some appreciated depth. There is an English (SDH) subtitle option and the disc is region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

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.

 

Shamefully no supplements at all, but to be fair the price reflects that.

 

Indicator duplicate the Karen Kramer introduction, 1/2 piece Hollister, California: Bikers. Booze and the Big Picture and the 20-minutes of Brando: An Icon is Born. But they add substantially more with an educational audio commentary by film historian Jeanine Basinger author of American Cinema: One Hundred Years of Filmmaking. We also get the 25-minute piece from 2017 The Wild One and the BBFC with ex-BBFC examiner Robert Falcon discussing the films' history with the British censors iof the day. Indicator include a 20-minute Super 8 Version of The Wild One. In the days before home video formats, cut-down Super 8 versions of popular films were produced for audiences to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes. This Super 8 presentation of The Wild One reduces the film's running time to a quarter of its original length, but is of interest due to the presence of a narrator whose short interjections are intended to compensate for the unavoidable elisions in the action. It's in quite weak condition. There is also an original theatrical trailer and image gallery. The package includes a limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Kat Ellinger and a second disc DVD. It is limited to 3,000 copies.

 

Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Mill Creek - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

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!

 

Depending on your requirements - the bare-bones Mill Creek is a great price. And if Lossless audio is keen to your viewing experience - only the US edition offers it. If you want extras - the Sony has some good ones. Nice to have the option, and yes - both are region FREE.

 

Indicator, no doubt, is easily the best package for The Wild One. It has the best a/v presentation and the extras, especially the Basinger commentary, add significant value. It's an iconic film, that initiated ideas for so many to follow. Absolutely recommended!     

Gary Tooze

June 30th, 2014

March 11th, 2015

May 16th, 2017

Indicator (Powerhouse) initial slate of Blu-rays
Spine #001 Spine #002 Spine #003 Spine #004

Spine #005

Spine #006

Spine #008 Spine #010 Spine #012 Spine #013 Spine #019 Spine #020

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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