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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
NAKED YOUTH is an odd film--one that appears at first to be a stupid
exploitation film and nothing more. However, despite the word 'naked'
in the title, there is nothing naked at all in the film and it's just a
low-budget thriller--one that is very good considering the amount of
money they had to spend on the production. While it won't be mistaken
for the work of Truffaut or Hitchcock, this cheapie picture isn't bad
The film begins in Mexico. A vicious killer stabs a man who is carrying a package filled with heroin. The killer and his drug-addicted girlfriend plan on smuggling this into the States and making a fortune. However, in an odd (and very contrived twist), these two pick up three wild young people--two of which just escaped from prison. Now the idea of the killer stopping to pick up hitchhikers when they've got a package filled with drugs is dumb--a huge plot problem. However, when the three youths get into a fight with the crazed killer, the film heats up and becomes tense and exciting. You'd think the three young punks would be at a distinct advantage, but this crazy killer is more than a match for them!! Add to this tension involving the worst of the three trying to repeatedly rape the young lady and you've got quite a tense film.
Overall, despite low production values and a very poor DVD print, this film is well written (generally), very well directed and some of the acting is actually good. While it's far from a must-see film, it's a great example of a movie with limited means that manages to be entertaining and rise above the usual low-budget dreck.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film could have been so much better than it ultimately turned out
to be, and I blame the director for that. He had some fairly good
actors to work with, he just didn't know what to do with them.
For instance, Steve Rowland did much better acting in his other film roles, yet he's wooden throughout most of this one. I would have had him act much more sinister, instead of performing the pretty-boy, James Dean type role. He should have come across as a worthless scumbag kid, yet he doesn't even appear to be a smoker, a doper, or a drinker. In this movie he's simply a poster boy, complete with the tight t-shirt and windbreaker, open to his navel.
Our gangster character fares much better in his role. You believe he's self-centered and sadistic. His moll gives a good performance, though having her kill her lover seemed out-of-character, and what made him think he could take out the armed cop with a thrown knife??? I would have had the kid and the gangster kill one another in the end, but then I wasn't the director.
You gotta love the homo-erotic final scene as the camera slowly pans over the body of the gut-stabbed, late-twenties teenager (Rowland)! What a classic! If you don't expect too much from this film you might like it. I liked it, despite it's flaws. It's a hoot!
2 guys in Mexican juvie run away with help of a very fickle girl. While at the same time some guy buy's heroin at a bull fighting stadium somewhere in Mexico. After safely crossing the border back to the U.S. the guy with the heroin and his girl (a heroin addict) pass some hitch-hikers. They give them a lift, these hitch-hikers happen to be the 2 guys that ran away from juvie and the fickle girl. Now when you put juvenile delinquents, drugs, and a fiending addict in a car what do you get? You'll have to find out what happens from there. It's an OK movie, nothing great. It was pretty raunchy for it's time, but that's not saying much for today. No blood, no realistic deaths, no showing of actual drug use, no nudity, no sexual anything but the fickle girl kissing everyone. The only person in the movie I recognized was Carol Ohmart, from House on Haunted Hill and Spider Baby. She plays a somewhat believable heroin addict. It was an all right movie and completely worth the 2 bucks my boyfriend paid for it.
I'm sure any number of prurient drive-in viewers had their appetites
whetted by the title of Naked Youth, probably renamed such so a few
more cars would get into the parking spaces. A little stimulus before
getting down to business in the back seat. If that was the case they
were disappointed because Wild Youth or Naked Youth hasn't even a hint
What this film is about is a trio youths Robert Arthur and Steve Rowland who busted out of an honor farm and Jan Brooks the girl who helped them running into a hardened killer and dope peddler Robert Hutton and his strung out girlfriend Carol Ohmart. Hutton robbed and killed a drug mule in Mexico took his supply of heroin and smuggled it back across the border before the cops on both sides caught on.
Arthur and Brooks are basically decent kids, but Rowland is a punk and learns too late he's playing way out of his league.
Wild/Naked Youth was shot on a chump change budget in the Southwest and no one covered themselves in any glory here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Naked Youth" generates a modicum of suspense as it intertwines two
stories about criminals on the lam in the dusty southwestern United
States. First, a couple of youths at a State Honor Farm--Switch (Steve
Rowland)and Frankie (Robert Arthur)decide to escape and rendezvous with
Frankie's cute girlfriend who has a car waiting for them nearby under a
bridge to make their getaway. Second, Rivas (John Goddard) is a drug
smuggler in suit and tie who kills a Mexican dope buyer with a knife at
a deserted bullfighting arena and then flees Mexico with his own
girlfriend Madge (Carol Ohmart)carrying a doll packed with smack in the
nick of time before the authorities lock down the border.
Meanwhile, tension between Switch--he wields a switchblade but appears to be all gab and no guts--and Frankie develop over his girlfriend. This tension grows after their getaway car overheats and forces them to walk the rest of the way on foot in the hot, arid desert. Goddard and his girlfriend pick them up in their station wagon so that they will look like one big happy family and fool the cops. Goddard spots a roadblock, loses his nerve, and swerves off onto a back road. Eventually, the kids and he tangle. Frankie slugs him from behind, and they rip out the distributor cap from their car and force the adults afoot, too. It seems that Switch--nicknamed for his reliance on an illegal switchblade knife--and Rivas are both edgy about blade fanatics. The chief difference is that Rivas is ready, willing, and able to stab at the least provocation.
Robert Hutton, once a popular character actor in Warner Brothers' World War II movies such as "Destination Tokyo" and "Hollywood Canteen," plays a Federal agent named Maddo who tails these reprobates. This low budget juvenile delinquent/narcotics exploitation drive-in feature maintains a fast enough with okay performances and authentic on-the-road realism. Nothing in the way of memorable lines of dialogue make up for their predictable shennagians, but none of it is idiotic either. In fact, "Naked Youth" doesn't qualify as one of those "so bad it's good" thrillers with hundreds of gaffes. This represented director John F. Schreyer's only directorial outing; he was better known for editing westerns and war movies, such as "Hostile Guns," "More Dead Than Alive," and "Ambush Bay." Nevertheless, he knows when to cut back and forth between the pursued and the pursuers. You can tell that the Production Code Administration was still enforcing some of its self-censorship rules because when Carol Ohmart injects herself with heroin in the forearm, we get to see the reaction shots of those watching her shoot up.
Ironically, Ohmart's character is the most sympathetic of the bunch. She guns down her dastardly boyfriend rather than see him murder a Maddo. The worst thing about this exploitation meller is that the music is a blatant rip-off of Elmer Bernstein's "The Man With The Golden Arm" and Bernard Herrman's "Vertigo." Otherwise, "Naked Youth," which boasts neither nude scenes nor sex scenes to speak of and refrains from preaching its crime does not pay message, is passable.
This piece of drugsploitation isn't a camp classic on the level of
"Reefer Madness" or "High School Confedential", but is passable enough
for a rainy day. The DVD from Arcanum is worth buying for its bonus
feature, the awesome compilation of Juvenile Delinquency schlock
trailers "Teen Mania". That is why I rented the disc initially. I
eventually checked out this, the main feature.
This is your standard exploitation flick. It involves some escaped juvies fighting a laid back dope dealer (Robert Hutton) and his wife who suffers from vertigo problems (Carol Ohmart). The soundtrack, which blatantly rips off Elmer Bernstein, becomes very tiresome eventually. The acting by the teens is pretty lousy expectedly. Unfortunately, there isn't enough kitsch to make this a "so bad its good" classic. It remains reasonably amusing for fans of this type of junk. However, both Hutton and Ohmart turn in decent portrayals (even though both have been much better). (4/10)
The most startling thing about Schreyer's drugs-on-the-run piece is the
brazen 'lifting' of Elmer Bernstein's striking Frankie Machine title
almost unchanged from 'The Man With The Golden Arm', as well as a
recognisable chunk of Herrman's 'Vertigo' music .. such borrowings give
film a suggestion of artistry which it completely fails to
In fact it is all very humdrum stuff, neither too wild or much naked either, come to that (and the 'youths' are getting on a bit as well). The most recognisable face in this rather tedious piece is Robert Hutton, who plays the unperturbable and cop. Of course it is he who buys the Mexican dolls into which the heroin is secreted, and then transported across the border, so poetic justice demands that it is he who has to find it again. Hutton was better used in such cult films as 'The Slime People' (1962), 'Colossus of New York' (1958) and a handful of others. Here he just looks vaguely engaged.
As Switch the knife happy thug on the run from the Honor Farm,(in a film in which, oddly, knives are the weapon of choice - even when a gun is around) Rowland is serviceable enough, although he could have made his performance more menacing. As it is, Switch veers uncertainly between aggression, indecisiveness and whining.
The best scene? Madge's swaying vision as her withdrawl sets in, done to Herrmann-'inspired' music. But even she's seen better days in William Castle's great 'House on Haunted Hill' (1958) or Hill's crazy 'Spider Baby' (1964).
A film mostly of interest for completists or those fanatical about this part of exploitation history.
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