The Cinema Museum, London

Some new kind of kick presents The Wild One (1953)

Sat 25 May 2024 @ 19:30 · Events

The Wild OneSome new kind of kick – celluloid rock n roll trash on a Friday night.

A biker gang rides into town… this is the one that set the template. My mother saw it before she came here which gave her a certain cachet because here, they banned it. A “spectacle of unbridled hooliganism” is how the British Board of Film Censors judged it. It was banned until ’67 when it was granted an X cert, downgraded to PG in ’88 which it still remains.

The film is a fictionalised account of a mostly fictionalised event; the Hollister “riot” of ’47. Pre-war there was a series of motorcycle races, when they re-started post war more people attended maybe doubling the town’s population. There was drinking and dragging on Main Street, any other activities might have been coloured by journalistic exaggeration or biker mc origin story. The event continues to this day and they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first post war meet in ’97.

It doesn’t fit with R‘n’R trash because too early but has great jazz and cool beatnik re-bop scat slang. It’s a great B movie, great iconic costume, inarticulate mumbling rebellion and apart from the death to stir up moral panic entirely a barrel of laffs.

Marlon of course wears a Schott Perfecto, shrink to fits and engineer boots, Lee Marvin a striped jersey which allegedly was later worn by a member of the Oakland Angels for many years without the benefit of laundry.

I’ve just noticed that I’ve overused great in this gusher, well that is how I’ve always felt about it, it’s nice that in my dotage I still do.

– What’re you rebelling against Johnny?
– What’ve you got?

Doors open at 18.30, for a 19.30 start.

Refreshments will be available in our licensed cafe/bar.


Tickets £8.

Advance tickets may be purchased from Ticketlab, or direct from the Museum by calling 020 7840 2200 in office hours.
The Wild One