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Author Topic: The Young Savages (1961) East Harlem Gang Noir  (Read 347 times)
cigar joe
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« on: April 28, 2017, 10:23:17 AM »



"A lot of people killed your son, Mrs. Escalante."

East Harlem 1961, a time of genuine upheaval. The demise of the 3rd Avenue el and its demolition 1955-56 opened up Yorkville and East Harlem to real estate redevelopment. A roadway reconstruction project widened 3rd Avenue to 70 feet and rows upon rows of tenements on either side were raised for the new highrises to come. This is the tableau vivant, frozen in time, that director John Frankenheimer presents in The Young Savages. The story is based on Evan Hunter's novel "A Matter of Conviction." Evan Hunter was the legally adopted name of Salvatore Albert Lombino who also wrote under the name Ed Mcbain among others. He was born in East Harlem in 1926 and his early life on the streets obviously informed the tale. The screenplay was written by Edward Anhalt and J.P. Miller.

East Harlem






Arthur Reardon (John Davis Chandler), Danny DiPace (Stanley Kristien), and  Anthony "Batman" Aposto (Neil Nephew)









The excellent cinematography was by Lionel Lindon (The Blue Dahlia (1946), Alias Nick Beal (1949), The Turning Point (1952), Hell's Island (1955), The Big Caper (1957) I Want to Live! (1958), The Manchurian Candidate (1962)). The nice jazz and bongo score was by David Amram (Splendor in the Grass (1961), The Manchurian Candidate (1962)).

It looks like a war zone. Wrecking balls are battering brick flophouses and tenements to rubble. Walls left standing are occasionally seen with rectangles of wallpaper or paint denoting the outlines of recently vanished rooms. Piles of salvage, wood, bricks, lead, copper festoon the cityscape.



Three street hoods, Danny DiPace (Stanley Kristien), Arthur Reardon (John Davis Chandler) and Anthony "Batman" Aposto (Neil Nephew) phalanx through the destruction on a mission. They are part of the Thunderbirds gang. They are warring over turf with a gang of Puerto Ricans called the Horsemen who control three blocks.


Roberto Escalante (uncredited) Louisa Escalante (Pilar Seurat)









Danny, Arthur, and "Batman", in broad daylight walk right up to Roberto Escalante a blind member of the Horsemen and stab him to death with switchblades. They run but are cornered by NYPD and caught. They are questioned by assistant district attorney Hank Bell (Burt Lancaster) who discovers that Danny is the son of his old neighborhood flame Mary diPace (Shelley Winters).


Hank Bell (Burt Lancaster)

They separate out DiPace because he's under sixteen. When Hank tries to question Reardon he gets wiseass bullshit. From "Batman" he gets a song.

"Batman"(sung to my Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean): My mother sells snow to the snowbirds. My father makes barber shop gin, my sister sells (her ass) gas for a livin', and that's why the money rolls in.

When he discusses the case with district attorney Dan Cole (Edward Andrews), Hank tells him he knows DiPace's mother and that he is actually from the same neighborhood. Hank's father changed the family surname from Bellini, to fit in better in whatever he was pursuing. Hank went to law school and married Karin (Dina Merrill) a Vassar girl. Karin isn't impressed with Hanks zealotry.

Karin: Oh, by the way, your old girlfriend Mary DiPace called today... twice. I referred her to your office, did you talk to her?
Hank: I don't know what to say to her.
Karin: Oh why don't you just tell her that you're going to burn her son for old times sake.


"tell her that you're going to burn her son for old times sake."

When Hank meets Mary, she tells him that Danny promised he'd never join a gang. Digging into the facts Bell visits the hangouts, the tenements, the families and all that were involved. He gets attacked on a subway, and his wife gets threatened in an elevator.


Fulton Street Fish Market




Angela Rugiello (Jody Fair)

Continued....

« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 12:08:22 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2017, 10:23:58 AM »

continuing....

The film through Hank's investigations, interactions and trial evolves into an indictment of society as a whole. The broken homes, the ethnic discrimination, the high levels of poverty, the squalid conditions, the instability, the lack of education, the low I.Q.s, the gangs and the local political machines are all to blame. Society as a whole is going to Noirsville.

Noirsville




Karin (Dina Merrill)















Pretty Boy Savarese (Chris Robinson)




Hank and Mary DiPace (Shelley Winters)


District Attorney R. Daniel Cole  (Edward Andrews)

The film also features Larry Gates as Randolph, Telly Savalas as Detective Gunderson, Pilar Seurat as Louisa Escalante, Roberta Shore as Jenny Bell, Milton Selzer as Dr. Walsh, David J. Stewart as Barton.

All the performances are top notch the film doesn't disappoint.

The Young Savages is a message picture, the old establishment forces marshalled towards capital punishment, against the new science of criminology and sociopathic behavioral studies with their treatments. Basically the law and its technicalities against damaged humanity, and both exposed under by the microscope by news cycle of the times. On the personal level it's Hank the by the book prosecutor vs. Karin the third generation progressive against the political circus of his boss's run for gubernatorial nomination.

Entertaining time capsule of NYC. Screencaps from Youtube 7/10.

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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2017, 01:35:22 PM »

Thanks for the review. The youtube print looks great. I'll certainly watch it, even if it's just for shots of old New York.

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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2017, 01:47:48 PM »

Nice film with some visual ambitions. 7/10

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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2017, 02:42:36 PM »

Thanks for the review. The youtube print looks great. I'll certainly watch it, even if it's just for shots of old New York.

Watch it quick before it disappears.

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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2017, 03:35:59 AM »

"my sister sells (her ass) gas for a livin'". No, he says quite distinctly "jazz". 

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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2017, 03:59:48 AM »

"my sister sells (her ass) gas for a livin'". No, he says quite distinctly "jazz". 

I know, I used to hear it as a kid, they are all variations of a New York ditty, they probably couldn't or wouldn't use "ass" in the film, I thought he said gass though, but ass makes the most sense, don't you think?

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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2017, 04:48:32 AM »

I know, I used to hear it as a kid, they are all variations of a New York ditty, they probably couldn't or wouldn't use "ass" in the film, I thought he said gass though, but ass makes the most sense, don't you think?

Please, one Jinx here is enough, I'm quoting what he sez. He sez "jazz", doesn't he? Let the variations rest. Apart from the fact that jazz by itself suggests "f..ing" and also "jizz". More than enough, I'd say.

Anyway the movie has a good start but the pseudo-sociological questions it raises as it proceeds would be better left out of the picture (so the wife character is atrocious, as the D.A. with scruples wouldn't be already enough). And then I don't like the casting: the gang members are all too young looking or too old for the part. And they also exaggerated with the bleakness of some of the interiors of the more destitute characters: they look too fake. So I can only give this non-noir-by-far a 6/10. While waiting eagerly for CJ's title for Blackboard Jungle

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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2017, 05:07:40 AM »

Please, one Jinx here is enough, I'm quoting what he sez. He sez "jazz", doesn't he? Let the variations rest. Apart from the fact that jazz by itself suggests "f..ing" and also "jizz". More than enough, I'd say.

Anyway the movie has a good start but the pseudo-sociological questions it raises as it proceeds would be better left out of the picture (so the wife character is atrocious, as the D.A. with scruples wouldn't be already enough). And then I don't like the casting: the gang members are all too young looking or too old for the part. And they also exaggerated with the bleakness of some of the interiors of the more destitute characters: they look too fake. So I can only give this non-noir-by-far a 6/10. While waiting eagerly for CJ's title for Blackboard Jungle.  

You can wait in vain, The Blackboard Jungle is not a noir, sorry to disappoint you, you got to get your Noirdar tuned better.
Pseudo-sociological-political was the trend in the early 60s especially with the films of Stanley Kramer.

« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 05:09:03 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2017, 08:43:46 AM »

You can wait in vain, The Blackboard Jungle is not a noir...

Hallelujah! Grin

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