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Young Savages
     

The Young Savages

Director: John Frankenheimer, Burt Lancaster, Dina Merrill, Shelley Winters

Cast: John Frankenheimer, Burt Lancaster, Dina Merrill, Shelley Winters

 

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The Young Savages is what used to be called a "thinking man's picture" about a potentially lurid subject: urban juvenile delinquency. A blind Puerto Rican boy is knifed to death in Spanish Harlem, and three teenage gang members are accused of the crime. Politically ambitious assistant DA Burt Lancaster initially presses for the conviction of all three boys. But

Overview

The Young Savages is what used to be called a "thinking man's picture" about a potentially lurid subject: urban juvenile delinquency. A blind Puerto Rican boy is knifed to death in Spanish Harlem, and three teenage gang members are accused of the crime. Politically ambitious assistant DA Burt Lancaster initially presses for the conviction of all three boys. But as he gets deeper into the case, he realizes that what appears cut-and-dried on the surface is tortuously complex: for starters, the murder victim was hardly the paragon of virtue that the prosecution claims. Despite pressure from his superiors and from members of the accused boys' gang (who at one point threaten Lancaster's wife Dina Merrill with a switchblade,) Lancaster nonetheless sees to it that justice is properly administered. The defendants are portrayed with varying degrees of Brando/Dean "method" by John Davis Chandler, Neil Nephew and Stanley Kristien; more believable, less affected performances are rendered by Shelley Winters, Pilar Seurat and Telly Savalas. Filmed on location in New York, The Young Savages was based on the Evan Hunter novel A Matter of Conviction.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Young Savages is the kind of pulse-pounding "social message" film that inevitably dates badly -- but it also has a power and conviction that make it hard to ignore. Even at its most melodramatic and blatantly manipulative (and it is both, in spades), it manages to press more buttons than most viewers will want to admit. Savages starts off well, with an opening sequence that is ferocious and attention-grabbing (and brilliantly shot by director John Frankenheimer). It gets the film off on such a high that it inevitably has to come down. While Savages has its share of "ups" subsequently, none of them ever quite reach the height of the opening. The film is also damaged somewhat by its climactic courtroom scene, which is a bit too overblown and unrealistic, and by the sermonizing tone it too frequently adopts. While the young actors playing the three defendants come across a bit too mannered in their acting style, they still exert power and manage to hold their own with Burt Lancaster, who grabs hold of the film and steers it from the moment he hits the screen. He's given good support from Shelley Winters and Telly Savalas, among others. Savages is too earnest and, at times, too innocent, but it packs a punch.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/23/2014
UPC:
0738329139827
Original Release:
1961
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kl Studio Classics
Region Code:
A
Time:
1:43:00
Sales rank:
18,111

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Burt Lancaster Hank Bell
Dina Merrill Karin Bell
Shelley Winters Mary Di Pace
Edward Andrews Dan Cole
Vivian Nathan Mrs. Escalante
Larry Gates Randolph
Telly Savalas Lt. Richard Gunnison
Pilar Seurat Louisa Escalante
Jody Fair Angela Rugiello
Roberta Shore Jenny Bell
Milton Selzer Walsh
Robert Burton Judge
David J. Stewart Barton
Stanley Kristien Danny di Pace
John Davis Chandler Arthur Reardon
Neil Nephew Anthony Aposto
Luis Arroyo Zorro
Jose Perez Roberto Escalante
Chris Robinson Pretty Boy
Stanley Adams Lt. Hardy
Rafael Lopez Jose
Henry Norell Pierce
Bob Biheller Turtleneck
Mario Roccuzzo Diavolo
Harry Holcombe Doctor
Helen Kleeb Mrs. Patton
Thom Conroy Mr. Abbeney
Johnny Walsh Lonnie
Irving Steinberg Officer Wohlman
Clegg Hoyt Whitey
Joel Fluellen Clerk of the Court
Robert Cleaves Sullivan
Bill Quinn Capt. Larsen
David Amram Conductor

Technical Credits
John Frankenheimer Director
David Amram Score Composer
Jack Angel Costumes/Costume Designer
Edward Anhalt Screenwriter
James Crowe Set Decoration/Design
Pat Duggan Producer
Harold Hecht Executive Producer
Lionel Lindon Cinematographer
J.P. Miller Screenwriter
Robert J. Schiffer Makeup
Burr Smidt Art Director
Edna Warren Editor

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