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Thread: Luis Bunuel's THE YOUNG ONE (1960)

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    Luis Bunuel's THE YOUNG ONE (1960)

    A black clarinetist named Traver, fleeing for his life, arrives in a stolen boat at a game-preserve island off the Carolina coast. Miller (Zachary Scott), the game warden, kills a rabbit and brings it home to his shack. There he finds PeeWee, his alcoholic handyman, dead, and PeeWee's orphaned granddaughter Evie sniffling. They cursorily bury PeeWee in the backyard. Next morning, after Miller takes his boat into town, Evie encounters Traver while tending to the beehives. Ravenous, he takes honey from her but pays her $20 for one of Miller's shotguns and some canned goods. They establish a wary friendship, and after he accidentally causes a leak in his boat, she supplies him with tools to repair it. When Miller returns and discovers Traver with his tools, he chases after him, tries to kill him and shoots holes in his boat.

    Several more tense confrontations and power shifts between Traver and Miller follow, complicated by the presence of Evie; the object of Miller's growing lust and Traver's casual ally, she's innocent of sexuality and racism alike. Eventually Traver agrees to work for Miller in return for board to repair his boat. Miller allows Traver to sleep in PeeWee's shack and moves Evie to his shack, enabling Miller to consummate his lustful designs on her. The drama thickens the next day with the arrival of a Protestant preacher and Miller's boatman Jackson. They discover around the same time that Traver is fleeing from a rape charge and that Miller raped Evie the night before.

    The complex moral and practical trade-offs that ensue are the heart of the movie. In fact, the film can be seen as a series of intricate transactions and exchanges. Bunuel refuses to condemn or exonerate anyone _the maestro commented in his autobiography My Last Sigh: “one of the problems [with it] was its anti-Manichean stance, which was an anomaly at the time, although today it's all the rage.” The film is a co-production of the US and Mexico, with a script credited to "H. B. Addis" and Bunuel. The former is the pseudonym of Hugo Butler, a talented blacklisted screenwriter who penned many of MGM's prestige pictures of the 30s and 40s, three for director Joseph Losey, and Jean Renoir's The Southerner. The cinematographer is the great Gabriel Figueroa, who shot most of Bunuel's best Mexican work and half of the classic films of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. The Young One is possibly the best movie in English never released on home video in the USA.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 07-06-2007 at 09:44 AM.

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