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Something Wild (1961 — not the two decade later Melanie Griffith comedy vehicle)- Is a Criterion film I have heard virtually no one mention or talk about, Which is odd given it stars Carroll Baker and Ralph Meeker (one of my favorite actors) , and sporting some of the legendary Saul Bass’ best and most effective title credits.
Indeed the title sequence alone sells me on the film, and I’m worried once its over the film will not live up to the succinct but powerful storytelling in that credit sequence, as it tells wordlessly the fast paced, regimented, almost automaton like, lacking real connection, breakneck race on a rat wheel… that industrialized life has been broken down to.
It infers, the title sequence, of the individual being lost in the unending grinding of the wheels of industry and progress and the masses.
So I’m worried the film will falter from the title sequence.
Thankfully it doesn’t.
The opening sequence is as effective, and giving the time period, as groundbreaking and striking and shocking a bit of film-making as you can think of.
So to wrap up the non-spoiler section, I highly recommend seeing this film. Carroll Baker gives a raw, game changing performance, in a convoluted, messy, masterfully directed tale.
Special Features are limited but are excellent.
A rich, vibrant, informative, moving 2016 interview with Director Jack Garfein conducted by film critic Kimberly Morgan.
“I programmed it in 2010 on Turner Classic Movies, and never have I received so much email from viewers. And then we showed it in Telluride, and I spoke to you at Telluride and the audiences there were really taken aback, really, in fact, shocked by the film in many ways.” Kim Morgan
‘So was I, you remember?” Jack Garfein
“Yes, I do remember.” Kim Morgan
“I was sitting next to you, and almost had a breakdown. Because, I suddenly… I looked at that film… I made that film, but any kind of real creation is a subconscious process. The artist himself doesn’t quite understand. I didn’t realize that this film… is me. This character of the girl… is me.
When I arrived here in Manhattan I feel the same pain, the complete isolation, in the sense I tried to connect but it was very difficult to connect. I had to keep everything in myself and go on. When I was liberated in Bergen-Belsen I weighed 48 lbs, I couldn’t walk. I was 14 years old.”
A riveting, must watch interview, about a Director I was unfamiliar with, and unfortunately he would not do another film after SOMEWHERE WILD failed to make an impact at the theater.
The loss is cinema’s.
And then a wonderful, deeply entertaining and humorous 2016 audio interview with star, the effervescent and lovely Carroll Baker. I am now on the lookout for all her films.
And lastly a video interview with Historian Foster Hirsch who breaks down the history of the Actor’;s Studio and Roots of Method Acting.
Watch the Blu-ray then come back and read the rest of this review.
You’re back… good.
Minor spoilers follow.