cinemIGNORANT: The Wild One
The wild one, huh? This dude does not look very wild. He looks like some basic white guy who is trying to convince all his suburban friends that’s he’s tough and doing a really bad job at it. Like maybe one time he smoked an herbal cigarette and now he thinks he’s a super badass. Also what’s up with that smaller motorcycle on the top of his bike? Is it a trophy? Did he win it in some wild competition? The most unwild man ever???
He looks like he might be from the 1950s, so maybe he’s like super wild by 50s standards — award-winningly wild (whatever that means). He’s got his hat on crooked, I guess. Isn’t that like a capital offense in small town America? He should probably go to jail for being so crazy.
I wonder what his name is? I feel like it’s Norman…? Something like Norman. Good ol’ Norm. Riding motorcycles. Going against the norm. Bein’ wild. But seriously, what is up with that little motorcycle? It definitely looks like it’s just strapped to the top of his handlebars with some bungie cords or something. Where did he get it? A motorcycle race? Do they give out trophies at those?
Hahaha, what if he didn’t win it and just made it to prove to all of his friends how “wild” he is? Or better yet, what if his mom made it and he’s trying to pass it off like he won some cool competition somewhere? Probably to impress some girl. A girl who shouldn’t fall for his shit, because he’s not wild at all. I mean, his mom made him that trophy!
He does look very serious, though. Like he’s seen something that just blew his mind. I bet his parents just got murdered (that’s where I go????). But his hyper-50s-masulinity means he can’t be sad about it or anything. You know what’s not wild? Dudes crying. (I’m kidding, cry if you’re sad, my dudes. Don’t bottle it up like this nerd).
But is he supposed to be sad at the beginning or the ending of the movie? Does the “Wild One” seem like a movie that might have a happy ending? Probably not. I bet he’s gonna be that sad forever. Until he dies a few days later in some motorcycle accident because he doesn’t actually know how to ride one. Also he’s not wearing a helmet. That’s the 50s for you…
My guess: Dude is not really wild. His mom made him that trophy. Now she’s dead. He’ll be sad forever.
Now let’s see what this movie is actually about! Here is the plot summary from Wikipedia. Bold text is mine.
The Wild One (1953): <– Yeah! 50s!
The Black Rebels Motorcycle Club (BRMC), a gang led by Johnny Strabler, rides into Carbonville, California during a motorcycle race and causes trouble. A member of the gang, Mouse, steals the second-place trophy (the first place one being too large to hide) HAHAHA he didn’t even take the first-place trophy 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, to maintain order. The residents are uneasy, but mostly willing to put up with their visitors. When their antics cause Art Kleiner 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 I knew these dudes wouldn’t be good at riding motorcycles Although the young men become more and more boisterous, their custom is enthusiastically welcomed by Harry’s brother Frank who runs the local cafe-bar, employing Harry’s daughter, Kathie, and the elderly Jimmy.
At Frank’s cafe, Johnny meets Kathie and asks her out to a dance being held that night I knew there was some girl Kathie politely turns him down Woo! Go Kathie! but Johnny’s dark, brooding personality visibly intrigues her WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? When Mildred, another local girl, asks him, “What are you rebelling against, Johnny?”, he answers “Whaddaya got?” Oh god… Johnny is attracted to Kathie and decides to stay a while. However, when he learns that she is the policeman’s daughter, he changes his mind. A rival biker gang, the Beetles, arrive and their leader, Chino, bears a grudge against Johnny. Chino reveals the two groups used to be one large gang before Johnny split it up. When Chino takes Johnny’s trophy, the two start fighting and Johnny wins So he actually won a trophy for being wild? 😂
Meanwhile, local Charlie Thomas stubbornly tries to drive through, he hits a parked motorcycle and injures Meatball, one of Chino’s bikers. That’s a great name. Chino pulls Charlie out and leads both gangs to overturn his car. Harry intervenes and starts arresting Chino and Charlie, but when other townspeople remind Harry that Charlie would cause problems for him in the future, he only takes Chino to the station. Later that night some Beetles members harass the telephone switchboard operator into leaving, thereby disrupting the townspeople’s communication, while the BRMC abducts Charlie and puts him in the same jail cell as Chino, who is too drunk to leave with the gang.
Later, as both gangs wreck the town and intimidate the inhabitants, some bikers led by Gringo chase and surround Kathie, but Johnny rescues her and takes her on a long ride in the countryside. Frightened at first, Kathie comes to see that Johnny is genuinely attracted to her and means her no harm I feel so sorry for this poor woman. When she opens up to him and asks to go with him, he rejects her DUDE WTF Crying, she runs away. Johnny drives off to search for her. Art sees and misinterprets this as an attack Nah, Johnny’s just a dick. The townspeople have had enough. Johnny’s supposed assault on Kathie is the last straw. Vigilantes led by Charlie chase and catch Johnny and beat him mercilessly He probably deserved it, but he escapes on his motorcycle when Harry confronts the mob. The mob give chase, but Johnny is hit by a thrown tire iron and falls. His riderless motorcycle strikes and kills Jimmy.
Sheriff Stew Singer arrives with his deputies and restores order. Johnny is initially arrested for Jimmy’s death, with Kathie pleading on his behalf. Seeing this, Art and Frank step forward and testify that Johnny was not responsible for the tragedy, with Johnny being unable to thank them. The motorcyclists are ordered to leave the county, albeit paying for all damage. However, Johnny returns alone to Wrightsville, and re-visits the cafe to say goodbye to Kathie one final time. He first tries to hide his humiliation and acts as though he’s leaving after getting a cup of coffee, but then he returns, genuinely smiles But what about his masculinity???, and gives her the stolen trophy as a memory gift, and as a sign that he will end up with that violent lifestyle. Hahahaha, he gives her a second place trophy that he didn’t even win. That’s not wild at all. 😂
I didn’t get the murdered-parents-now-I’m sad-forever part right, but I was right that there was no way that Norman (Johnny?) was that wild. And one of them did in get in a motorcycle accident.
It’s hilarious that they didn’t even steal a good trophy. Kathie needs to reevaluate her choice in men, because a second place trophy for a contest none of the characters competed in and a criminal boyfriend is not very wild. But who was the wild one?! I guess I won’t know until I actually watch the film.