by guest writer
The Young Savages (1961) is an intense teenage delinquency melodrama centered in one of the most problematic neighbourhood in New York, Harlem. The American director John Frankenheimer came from a television background with lots of experience in the 1950s, when the phenomenon grew in the US. His films usually revolve around human alienation, whether social or of other kind. The subject of The Young Savages follows the social pattern, investigating how a group of frail and unstable teenagers were drawn into committing violent acts that would stain their lives. The complexity of the movie is given by the racial side of it and by the political environment of the late fifties-early sixties in the United States.
Not afraid of taking risks, John Frankenheimer’s ability to develop a tense, thrilling drama is obvious from the way he handles the social unrest and moving on to the artistic integration. I can easily cite The Young Savages among such classics as Rebel Without A Cause (1955) and The Blackboard Jungle (1955). Burt Lancaster gives one of his best performances as Hank Bell, the District Attorney’s right hand man, willing to find out the truth no matter what the costs may be.
photo: still from the film | Contemporary Productions