7.5/10
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20 user 18 critic

The Young One (1960)

A jazz musician seeks refuge from a lynch mob on a remote island, where he meets a hostile game warden and the young object of his attentions.

Director:

Luis Buñuel

Writers:

Peter Matthiessen (story "Travellin' Man"), Hugo Butler (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Zachary Scott ... Miller
Bernie Hamilton ... Traver
Key Meersman Key Meersman ... Evalyn
Crahan Denton ... Jackson
Claudio Brook ... Rev. Fleetwood
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Storyline

Game warden Miller lives on an isolated island off the Carolina coast. The only other inhabitant is Evvie, an naive young girl to whom Miller is attracted. Traver, a black musician on the run from a lynch mob after falsely being accused of rape, lands on the island. Miller wants to turn him in and remove him from the tryst, but Evvie likes Traver and protects him. A preacher arrives from the mainland to rescue Evvie from her situation, and Traver's presence is discovered. Miller is now forced to decide whether to turn him over to the mob and lose standing in the girl's eyes. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"You tryin' to tell us a white woman lies..." See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Mexico | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 January 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Young One See more »

Filming Locations:

Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Producciones Olmeca See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA High Fidelity)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Polyester (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Sinner Man
Sung by Leon Bibb
Arrangement . Milton Okun
As recorded by VANGUARD RECORDING SOCIETY
See more »

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User Reviews

How would a true innocent react to encroaching absurdities such as racism, unwanted sexual advances, and tyranny? Bunuel provides the multifaceted answers in this stupendous masterpiece.
4 August 2000 | by Aw-komonSee all my reviews

Some of the above comments have mentioned pedophilia in connection with this film. An important distinction has to be made here to prevent corruption of language. What the Miller character (Zachary Scott) does is 'take advantage of an innocent' from his position of strength as an older man, but that is not the same thing as pedophilia at all. The girl in question is 13 years old and sexually mature (an age at which it was FULLY LEGAL to get married in some southern states, Jerry Lee Lewis anyone?). This would make sexual relations between her and a younger man closer to her age fully legal and between her and the older man STATUTORY RAPE only if the laws in that state said so. It is WRONG, in the sense that the girl is in a weak position and gets taken advantage of. But that could happen at any age and age interval per se can never be the only measure of who took advantage of who (look at all the women married to men 20 to 30 years their senior), although it is a pretty safe bet. In fact towards the end of the movie, one of the likely resolutions suggested by Miller to the priest as a way to redeem himself is "what would happen if I married her?" And when Miller lets Bernie Hamilton leave the island he is doing this to redeem himself in his own eyes and possibly marry the 13 year old girl later!

That said, the main character is not the black fugitive (Bernie Hamilton) but the young girl (Kay Meersman, a Liv Tyler lookalike in an amazing performance). She has lived on a remote island for most of her life and knows very little about the racist realities of the American South (or anything else.) She is confronted with it head on, when a black clarinet-player fugitive named Travers, unjustly accused of raping a white woman escapes to her island to hide from a lynch mob. She becomes friendly with him and likes him as a person and can't understand the irrational animosity Miller (her temporary 'protector' whom she hates and who sleeps with her against her will)has for this man.

All this creates a whole bunch of complex tensions that Bunuel deals with in the most masterful way possible. You really believe in all these characters, they are multi-dimensional and historically and psychologically valid. Bunuel has been called cynical and cruel. That may be true but nevertheless quite a few of his films remain consummate works of art because they live up to Pascal's idea of showing man's 'greatness within wretchedness.' This is one of them. 'The Young One' is a MUST SEE film, if there ever was one. It makes all other films about racism and the corruption of innocence look like amateur hour.


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