Biker Gangs of the 50s, 60s and 70s were something else… In a world that was just starting to go beatnik, Biker Gangs, like the hot rodders of the 40s, 50s and 60s were and in some cases still are the definition of cool! The reason for this I believe, is not just that ‘fuck off I own this street’ attitude (that I believe is part of it), or the way they dress, what with the usual leather jacket, jeans, t-shirt and boots (although I also do think that, that is part of it)….
No, I think a large part of it is the vehicles they drive, and how they have been portrayed in Hollywood over the years! What I mean by this is in the case of hot rodders, it would be the suped up cars and trucks that they drive, and the movies such as, American Graffiti (1973), etc… Now as for Biker Gangs, it would be the motorcycles (or hogs) they drive, and Biker movies, such as, The Glory Stompers (1968) Chrome And Hot Leather (1971), and The Wild One (1953):
Written by: John Paxton (A Prize Of Gold), Ben Maddow (Intruder In The Dust) and Directed by: Laslo Benedek (The Night Visitor). Starring: Marlon Brando (Apocalypse Now), Mary Murphy (Sitting Bull), Robert Keith (Duel Of Champions), Lee Marvin (The Wild Bunch), Ray Teal (Ace In The Hole) and Will Wright (Adam’s Rib).
The Wild One tells the story of a town that is about to bust in to it’s own tiny little war against two different biker gangs!
What I mean by this is that after being kicked out of the town of Carbondale, for hassling a motorcycle race… Johnny Strabbler (Brando) and his biker gang, ‘BRMC’ (which stands for, “Black Rebellion Motorcycle Club”) head over to a new small town, where for the most part they are welcomed with open arms…
That is until a rival offshoot of the BRMC comes in to town and starts harassing the townsfolk, but after a fight between Johnny and the leader of the rival biker gang by the name of ‘Chino’ (Marvin) get in to a fight and one of the locals that is not happy that the bikers are there runs over a bike, both gangs start trying to push this guys car over (they are being cheered on by Chino). Now at first Sheriff Harry Meeker (Keith) is planning on bringing in both Chino and the regular guy from the town, but is convinced to bring in just Chino!
This angers Johnny and both biker gangs who decide to start taking matters in to their own hands and take over the phone company, and then get Chino out of jail while forcing the other guy in… This only services to anger the towns folks!
As the pranks and attacks increase between both the townsfolk, and the biker gangs in the town. The ultimate example of, ‘Squares’ vs, ‘the cool kids’ will take affect to a level that will change the lives of everyone from the bikers and the townsfolk that live there!
Now what I like about this movie, and what makes this an awesome exploitation movie is a couple of things:
1. I really do think this movie exemplifies the great stuff that makes up biker movies! Including the motorcycles, the story lines, the one guy who is more sensible then the rest, the duality between the bikers and those that would be considered, ‘the squares’ etc…
2. I have not seen Marlon Brando in much, but I gotta say that I am a fan… And to see Marlon Brando in an exploitation movie rules!
3. I also thought that you guys might find this interesting, but it turns out that this movie was banned in Britain until 1968.
4. I also thought that you guys might find this interesting but, it turns out that Marlon Brando and his biker gang rode on British motorcycles, but Lee Marvin and his biker gang rode on American Harleys.
So if your looking for an awesome biker movie then I recommend checking this one out, it is a classic!