Showing posts with label Vivian Nathan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vivian Nathan. Show all posts

16 March 2015

DVD Review - The Young Savages (1961)

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Genre:
Drama
Distributor:
Simply Media
DVD Release Date:
16th March 2015 (UK)
Rating: PG
Director:
John Frankenheimer
Cast:
Burt Lancaster, Dina Merrill, Edward Andrews, Vivian Nathan, Shelley Winters
Buy: The Young Savages [DVD]

John Frankenheimer started out doing live television and learnt his trade in that throughout the 1950s. He made one previous feature The Young Stranger before he moved permanently into film (even though he would return to TV in his later life) with The Young Savages and what a step up it was. Frankenheimer’s status as a master craftsman has grown through the years and deservedly so.

Both the similar titled films The Young Stranger and The Young Savages are about problematic teenagers, but The Young Savages has a more sophisticated approach to the storytelling and visual style. Burt Lancaster (who collaborated with Frankenheimer on numerous films) plays the district attorney Hank Bell, who is investigating a murder of a blind Puerto Rican boy by 3 teenager delinquents. Bell is from the same neighbourhood as the boys, and one has a relationship with one of the boy’s mothers played by Shelley Winters.

It’s an issues film, which during the ‘50s and early ‘60s were very popular. It deals with issues like crime, racism, justice and although done intelligently enough, it’s never too preachy unlike more modern attempts like Crash. Burt Lancaster is pretty much always great and this is no exception. Shelley Winters is still at the height of her talent before she starts doing AIP films only a few years later. Kojak fans will also see a young Telly Savalas playing a police detective like he did on his later television show.

The real strength of the film is really Frankenheimer’s style. It’s full of strange angles and close-ups, which will be more evident in his later masterpieces The Manchurian Candidate and Seconds. It was Frankenheimer's first collaboration with cinematographer Lionel Lindon who he would collaborate with on The Manchurian Candidate. In closing it’s an early Frankenheimer film which stylistically pre-dates a lot of aesthetic choices he would make in later films, with a solid storyline and two strong performances from it’s stars.

★★★1/2
Ian Schultz