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Wow, no The Wild One writeup?

The Wild One
is a Golden Age of Hollywood era film, shot in black and white and released in 1953. It's one of the iconic youth films of the 1950s, along with Rebel Without a Cause. It starred Marlon Brando, Lee Marvin, and Mary Murphy as Johnny, Chino, and Kathie Bleeker. Like Brando's earlier film, A Streetcar Named Desire, it caused a nationwide change in fashion for teens - leather jackets became hugely popular after the film's release. Unlike other motorcycle films of the time and afterwards, the biker gangs are not shown as actually being violent, just a bunch of teenagers looking for a thrill. In fact, the locals of the towns they visit are shown as being much more harmful than the bikers themselves.


(This is a little dry right now; it's 4:30 and I don't have the mind-power to make it more interesting. I'm going to come back to it later though to revise, so check back)

The Wild One begins with the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club riding down an unidentified road in an unidentified Western state (with some hilariously badly greenscreened footage,) and meeting up with a motorcycle race being conducted in a small town called Wrightsville. They crash the race, walking across the track as a race is in session and almost causing a rider to fall. They are forced out of town by the local policeman, but not before one of Johnny's gang steals the second-place trophy (the first-place was "two foot high!") and presents it to him. This trophy is a symbol of Johnny's pride and uncertainty in being a gang leader; a number of times he is asked if he won it and he stays silent, though he considers it to have been "won" by the unconventional method of being a leader.

The bikers ride down the road until they reach an unnamed small town that's home to Bleeker's Cafe, staffed by Kathie Bleeker, the daughter of the town policeman. Johnny meets Kathie and tries to impress her by showing her the trophy, then asks her to a dance in the next town. She refuses, but is obviously attracted to Johnny's mysterious personality. Her father tries to talk Johnny into leaving town, but he refuses to even discuss things with the policeman, saying "I made a deal with a cop once."

A small side conversation in the cafe spawned one of the best known lines from the film; when the acronym BRMC is explained, a teenybopper in the cafe asks Johnny "What are you rebelling against?" to which Johnny responds "What've you got?"

Shortly afterwards, Chino and the Beetles, a rival gang leader with his gang, appear in town and Chino steals Johnny's trophy, proudly displaying it on the handlebars of his bike. After a short conversation between Chino and Johnny, it is revealed that Johnny and his gang were members of the Beetles before Johnny split off and formed the BRMC. Johnny and Chino fight again; Johnny wins.

One of the townspeople angrily rams a motorcycle with his car and Chino's gang pulls him out and threatens to overturn the car; Chino is arrested but the townsperson ("Frogface") is not, as Mr. Bleeker is afraid of losing his job if he arrests the powerful Frogface. That night, the Beetles storm Frogface's residence and capture him, putting it him into jail. They attempt to release Chino but he is too drunk to wake, so they leave him to sleep it off.

The next day, Frogface is released by the other townspeople, and Chino escapes as well. The Beetles attack the town, overturning garbage cans and trashing buildings, and the BRMC capture Kathie and take her to a remote part of town, where Johnny appears and rescues her. He takes her around town on his bike, and they kiss in what seems to be a park. After an argument, Johnny and Kathie part and Johnny is captured by a mob of townspeople, who beat him until Mr. Bleeker confronts them. He escapes, and gets to his bike and tries to leave town. As he is speeding through the main street, a thrown tire iron hits him in the small of the back and he falls; his bike races down the street and kills Billy, an elderly dishwasher from the cafe.

Police from a larger town appear and arrest all bikers; with the testimony of the townspeople Johnny is accused of manslaughter and is interrogated by the sheriff. Kathie emotionally defends him, and he is released of all charges; he refuses to thank her or Mr. Bleeker. However, some time later he returns to the cafe and, for the first time in the movie, smiles. He leaves the trophy for her and the movie ends with her smiling as he rides out of town once more.

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