Valentine "Snakeskin" Xavier, a trouble-prone drifter trying to go straight, wanders into a small Mississippi town looking for a simple and honest life but finds himself embroiled with problem-filled women.
The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar, but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.
In 1787, British ship Bounty leaves Portsmouth to bring a cargo of bread-fruit from Tahiti but the savage on-board conditions imposed by Captain Bligh trigger a mutiny led by officer Fletcher Christian.
The destiny of three soldiers during World War II. The German officer Christian Diestl approves less and less of the war. Jewish-American Noah Ackerman deals with antisemitism at home and in the army while entertainer Michael Whiteacre transforms from playboy to hero.Written by
"The Young Lions" was one those big Hollywood war movies I remember seeing with my family at the local cinema during the late 1950s.
I saw many of those films and actually read most of the slab-like novels they were based on: "Battle Cry", "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit", "From Here to Eternity" and Irwin Shaw's "The Young Lions" - there just weren't that many competing devices back then.
I usually read the books after seeing the films and then became acutely aware of how the movies suffered under the censorship of the day. The novels often filled in some serious gaps in my sex education, but the films never did.
The story is about three soldiers: a German, Christian Diestl (Marlon Brando), and two Americans: Noah Ackerman (Montgomery Clift) and Michael Whiteacre (Dean Martin). The film follows their fortunes through WW2 until they cross paths at the end.
The film has a number of authentic, well-executed sequences shot on location. However these are mixed with flat, over-lit scenes shot on the blandest of backlots and soundstages - the interiors are particularly artless. Documentary footage also added to the lack of a definitive style.
Fortunately the action scenes open the film out. The most arresting of them was the ambush of a British convoy in North Africa. It would have touched a nerve with many in that audience in 1958 as our guys had been part of the British Eighth army and the war had only been over for 13 years.
One of the surprises in the movie was the anti-Semitism Noah Ackerman encounters in the U.S. Army. Monty Clift faced a tough enlistment in "From Here to Eternity", but it was even tougher here. He looked worn (this was after his accident in 1956) and seemed a bit too old, but his performance is the most affecting in the film. No wonder Brando was wary of his talent.
Dean Martin without Jerry Lewis was another surprise, but he was good as the soldier with better motives than he thought.
Brando's blonde, broad shouldered Diestl starts out as a fine example of the master race, but his journey through the rise and fall of the Third Reich makes him thoughtful. He is treated rather sympathetically in the movie, although he was more of a nasty Nazi in the novel. However they may have overdone Diestl's disgust at every turn.
I can see why Irwin Shaw was disappointed. However the film has its moments, and is still one I have no trouble watching every now and then.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this