The Wild One and Housekeeping: May titles from Indicator

 The Wild One and Housekeeping: May titles from Indicator

The Wild One

As someone who isn’t really all that big on biker films, The Wild One has never been anywhere near the top of my list of priorities. It’s fair to say it’s not exactly swung my opinion either as it’s just not very interesting at all. I don’t think its problem is that it’s aged, although watching bikers dancing to swing music doesn’t do it any favours on that front. For me, its problem was more in the age it was made.

Brando’s fine here but his character is shit. I can see why he might be regarded as the face of rebellion back in 1953 but even then he must have looked to many like nothing more than a sullen crybaby arsehole who gets a ‘ride off into the sunset’ send-off that he doesn’t deserve at all. He doesn’t even say sorry at the end, why am I supposed to get behind this guy. He only gives Mary Murphy his dumb trophy because he would have ended up in the clink for manslaughter if it wasn’t for her.

To be honest, this film really only livens up when Lee Marvin comes into it and as I didn’t know Lee Marvin was in it, it has saved The Wild One from the trouncing of a review it deserves. He’s not just great because he’s Lee Marvin here but because his character seems to be an actual wild one rather than a navel-gazing depressive who probably spends his spare time making emo mixtapes. He would have made for a far more interesting lead for this film, drunkenly terrorising a small town and being a general loud and loutish bastard.

Drama | USA, 1953 | PG | 22nd May 2017 (UK) | Indicator Films | Dir. László Benedek |Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, Robert Keith |Buy: The Wild One (Dual Format Limited Edition) [Blu-ray]

• Audio commentary by author and film historian Jeanine Basinger
• The Wild One and the BBFC (2017): ex-BBFC examiner Richard Falcon discusses the film’s history with the British censor
• Introduction to the film by Karen Kramer (2007)
• Hollister, California: Bikers, Booze and the Big Picture (2007): a look back at the real life events that inspired the film
• Brando: An Icon is Born (2007): a documentary exploring the life and career of the legendary actor
• Super 8 version (1973): original cut-down home cinema presentation with unique narration
• Original theatrical trailer and Image gallery
• Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by Kat Ellinger, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and Laslo Benedek’s 1955 article ‘Why I Made The Wild One’


Director Bill Forsyth seldom managed to convince audiences that his distinctive storytelling style and quirky outlook on life, seen previously in Scottish Gregory’s Girl, Local Hero and Comfort and Joy, could be translated to the US but he succeeded here in his little seen American debut, the offbeat and bewitching Housekeeping.

It helps that, for his first US production and his first non original work, Forsyth chose a novel by Marilynne Robinson that shares much of his own peculiarly charming and unconventional, almost magical world view. In adapting the novel, Forsyth concentrates on characters who seem inwardly amused by their own eccentricity or behaviour and largely keep themselves to themselves, leading them to feel curiously surprised when others try to intervene in their lives. When the townsfolk of Fingerbone become concerned enough to offer help to Sylvie and her charges, Lahti’s cannily depicts a bemused and quiet affront which remains beautifully infused by her slyly secret inner privacy and amusement.

Beautifully shot in British Columbia and extremely evocative, Housekeeping is a whimsical feature that is truly one of a kind. It can be described I guess as being a film about someone who is, to all intents and purposes, a madwoman but her actions are endearingly shown as a positive. For Forsyth, one man’s normal is another’s insane and its that kind of theme that runs most satisfyingly through his best work. Housekeeping can stand comfortably in that category.

Drama | PG | UK/USA, 1987 | 22nd May 2017 (UK) | Indicator Films | Dir.Bill Forsythe | Christine Lahti, Sara Walker, Andrea Burchill | Buy:Housekeeping (Dual Format Limited Edition) [Blu-ray]
• Writer-Director Bill Forsyth on Housekeeping (2017)
• Author Marilynne Robinson on Housekeeping (2017)
• Director of Photography Michael Coulter on Housekeeping (2017)
• Editor Michael Ellis on Housekeeping (2017)
• BFI Interview with Bill Forsyth (1994): archival audio recording of an on-stage interview conducted by Nick James at the National Film Theatre, London
• Original theatrical trailer and Image gallery
• Limited edition exclusive 32-page booklet featuring a new essay by David Archibald, a production report and contemporary reviews.

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Peter Fletcher

I'm just a normal, working guy who loves movies. I have a wide range of tastes, ranging from Brit thrillers to Russian dramas. There is no greater feeling to me than to discover new movies.

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