The Young Savages

1961

Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller

32
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 50%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 50%
IMDb Rating 7 10 1740

Synopsis


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November 19, 2014 at 01:05 PM

Cast

Burt Lancaster as Hank Bell
Shelley Winters as Mary diPace
Dina Merrill as Karin Bell
Telly Savalas as Detective Lt. Gunderson
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
811.38 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S counting...
1.65 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S 1 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Lechuguilla 6 / 10

Angst And Anger

Almost everyone in this film is angry about something, in this social drama, set in Harlem's slums, about two rival youth gangs at war with each other, and the adults caught in the middle trying to understand all the angst and anger. The script's inciting incident occurs when one of the gang members is murdered.

The main adult, and the story's protagonist, is Hank Bell (Burt Lancaster), who tries to build a criminal case against the aggressor gang, even as he once had a romantic interest in the mother of one of the boys charged.

The heavy-handed script, combined with Director Frankenheimer's attempt to convey social relevance to the then contemporary theme, forces actors to try to out-angst other actors in a series of monologues. In so doing, the film telegraphs the approximate outcome of the story long before the ending. And that ending occurs in a clichéd courtroom setting instead of in the urban jungle where it would have been more effective.

The B&W lighting is okay but rather bland. So much more could have been made of the lighting, with higher contrast lighting and more unconventional, i.e. rebellious-theme, camera angles. Editing is generally effective, though I question whether all those monologues are really needed. Casting, costumes, and production design are fine. Background music, for the most part, is either 1950s jazz, heavy on the sax, or sleepy elevator music, depending on a scene's emotional tone.

Despite the directing and script issues, the film did hold my attention, mostly because of its interesting theme and the effective casting of several actors, such as Shelley Winters and Neil Burstyn. "The Young Savages" is basically a social melodrama relevant to its historical era, as it examines the complexities of growing up in urban poverty.

Reviewed by kijii 8 / 10

Self-loathing Prosecutor learning...

This movie was released the same year as West Side Story, At the beginning of this movie, one sees a gang of hoods swaggering down the street. One almost expects them to break out into song and dance like the Jets did in West Side Story. In fact, the beginning of this movie has MANY parallels to West Side Story—right down to the two NYC ethnic gangs fighting to protect their respective street turfs. One gang is Italian (but HERE they call themselves the Thunderbirds--rather than the Jets.) The other gang is Puerto Rican (but HERE they call themselves the Horseman—rather than the Sharks). These parallels are eerie and it almost seems like one movie is copying the other.

However, at this point, the two movies diverge since The Young Savages is no musical, no modern retelling of 'Romeo and Juliet,' no love story. Furthermore, far from the self-satirizing done in 'Gee Officer Krupke,' The Young Savages DOES explore and probe factors such as the criminals' age, personal problems, ethnic background, and social surroundings to judge when and how 'crimes' should be judged and punished.

The movie starts with the brutal gang killing of a blind Puerto Rican boy. The suspects are arrested as they flee the scene of the murder, but claim that the killing was done in self-defense. Hank Bell (Burt Lancaster) is the district attorney who prosecutes the case. His investigation takes him on a search that will teach as much about himself and HIS motives as it does with those of the suspects. First we learn that his wife, Karin (Diana Merrill), is a privileged WASP who is a critic of capital punishment; Hank is vengeful (which lead to tension with their marriage).

As the prosecutor, Hank is basically working against the Italian gang (the suspects) and for the Puerto Ricans (the victims). BUT he, himself, is an Italian who had escaped (through education, marriage, and status) the same neighborhood where the suspects come from. In fact, he had formerly dated one of the suspect's mothers, Mary de Pace (Shelley Winters). The case that had looked like an open-and-shut capital murder, turn out to be more complicated than he had thought, as the fact about both side (suspects and victims) emerge.

Reviewed by mark.waltz 10 / 10

Those who don't live by the law will fry by the law.

The streets of Manhattan take a real beating in this vivid depiction of true events that make the original Dead End Kids and the Jets and Sharks of West Side Story seem trivial. Those two looks at the lives of New York City tough are excellent time capsules but this takes real life and turns it into one of the great social dramas of all time, a true sleeper if there ever was one.

Looking at the elevated Metro North near 110th Street (my neighborhood) is a far cry from the location footage in a handful of films using the same shots of the stone underpasses. Shots of all over Manhattan give a dark and eerie look at the harsh world that had most of the country petrified of the image of America that it gave the rest of the world.

"Hatred has killed my son", the mother of a murdered blind Puerto Rican boy attacked by American hoods exclaims. Accused of pulling a knife, the deceased boy himself is accused of accelerating the crime against him, although it appears that even his own screaming sister didn't make an attempt to pull him into the tenement as the bigoted white teens approached as if they were preparing to slaughter a chicken for dinner.

"Take a look. San Juan's polluting the water", one of the monster teens complains before the gang tries to drown a young Puerto Rican boy. The same kid testifies on the behalf of one of them who came to his rescue. Of course, the older Puerto Rican teenagers mistook what he did, and it is only the belief of that white boy's mother (Shelley Winters) that indicates to assistant D.A. Burt Lancaster (her old beau) that he might be innocent.

In a major comparison with the song "Gee Officer Krupke", one of the Italian American gang members describes his life much like one of the West side Jets did the same year on film, as did the original novel and original Broadway production of both stories. Each group viciously insults the other with no stone unturned in the hateful racial slurs against each of the other is used.

Of course, there is a political subplot with D.A. Edward Andrews hoping for higher office by winning this case, giving the analogy of votes bought by blood rather than promises of justice. Telly Savalas is a rather vicious detective while Dina Merrill plays Lancaster's upper-crust wife who finds the hard way the ugliness of the street.

A definite forgotten gem, this is one of the quintessential social horror stories that had been exploding off screen since the end of the second world war. It isn't the artistic triumph of "West Side Story", but it does not sugar-coat anything. This isn't about the Puerto Ricans being made the unwelcome intruders; They are equally presented as young savages as well with clues dropped here and there, adding shocking facts to each of the revelations. A great predecessor to John Frankenheimer's later masterpiece "The Manchurian Candidate", this ends up being just equally as important and for many people who remember these violent years, much more identifiable.

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