The Young Animals (1968)
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Most notable is the standout direction by Maury Dexter. Dolly, tracking and crane shots add visual interest when a stationary camera would have sufficed; plus, violence is filmed with active camera placements. For example, inside and in front of vehicles during chase sequences and inside a salvage airplane along with the actors (or stunt doubles) as a piece of wrecking equipment slices through it - an especially unusual sequence. Further visual interest is added by excellent editing that keeps a realistic timeline through quick cutting among multiple cameras at the climaxes of action but is not so excessive as to be confusing as is too common in today's action movies. At times, the editing is "psychedelic" quick, for example during a rock band's performance and might remind the viewer of filmmaker Russ Meyer's unusual editing.
I was surprised to see a very young A Martinez (billed as Adolph Martinez) in what is apparently his first movie and, though his role is small, is very good. Also exceptional is the lively score by the great Les Baxter. Fans of his "tropical lounge" music will appreciate hints of it here among congas, timbales and prominent brass. Listen for it! In all, a movie most compelling for its unusual direction and serious tone, though the acting sometimes turns "Sharks vs Jets" melodramatic.
The characters are supposed to be high school students, but the lead actor Tony (good chicano) was 33 at the time of the film, and most of the other actors appear to be in their early to mid twenties.
Making a long story short, the good chicano eventually gets the better of the bad gringos, and walks away with a good gringo girl (Patty McCormick), which really burns the bad gringos. The plot is predictable and irrelevant, but if you must watch the film you can get a good history lesson on 60's fashion and cars.
There's some real racism going on here. Some of the white kids led by David Macklin run roughshod over the Mexican kids and they are encouraged by a racist coach in Russ Bender.
Macklin's crew is into all kinds of bad deeds which include rape, practiced on Joanna Frank. Nardini practicing the principles of Gandhi and Martin Luther King gets recognition for the rights of the Chicano kids.
The players are sincere the direction is exploitative and a bit on the trashy side. Patty McCormack the big screen's former Bad Seed is one of the white kids who sympathizes and brings over allies. She kind of like what she sees in Nardini.
The Young Animals aka Born Wild is a look at the 60s some of the better aspects of that decade.
Demonize the dominant culture and make them all appear as hate-filled morons. It was said before "Chicanos good, Caucasians bad". This is not really new. I wouldn't watch it again. There is no point to this malarkey. I would just as soon watch an anti-American flag-burning rally. I became tired of it at age 13 and I am tired of it now.