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Mary Ann Robinson, a young woman living in The Bronx, New York, with her neurotic, overbearing mother and kindly but ineffectual stepfather, is raped while walking home one night. Keeping the attack to herself, Mary Ann runs away, seeking to lose herself in Manhattan by renting a seedy flat and taking a job in a dime store. Overwhelmed by people's hostility and her own despair, Mary Ann tries to jump off the Manhattan Bridge, only to be stopped by Mike, a garage mechanic who takes her back to his modest basement apartment nearby. At first appreciative of Mike's kindness, Mary Ann becomes terrified when he refuses to let her leave. Is Mike really Mary Ann's rescuer - or is he another rapist?Written by
Eugene Kim <email@example.com>
Actually, New York,New York is the real star of SOMETHING WILD. Carroll Baker is lovingly lit throughout the whole picture(thanks to Director and then husband Jack Garfein)amidst the alternate squalor and splendor of America's greatest city.
The brutal rape of Miss Baker's character within the first 5 minutes of the movie is depicted with surprising frankness for its time. One can almost smell the sweat of the predatory thug who, without saying a word, viciously violates her. This scene is all the more harrowing in that there is no music soundtrack provided. Yet another example that The Hays Code was becoming by 1961 an historical document not reflecting the current mood of what the North American movie public was indeed mature enough to view on the silver screen.
I really enjoyed the kitchen sink realism of this picture, from the cattiness of the girls at Woolworth's against fellow worker Miss Baker(Doris Roberts nails her part for all it's worth) to the good natured slovenliness of Jean Stapleton's next door neighbor in the tenement slum.
Ralph Meeker(every man's meat&potatoes actor)is Carroll Baker's 'knight in shining armor' in this movie. Rescuing Miss Baker from a leap into despair and the briny deep, he then proceeds to hold her captive in his castle,or in this case a barren basement bed and...bed. "Mike" is an auto mechanic and yet he has no phone,no radio, and just one light bulb that illuminates the entire room. However, away from the elbow grease of his job, "Mike" likes to spend his hard earned money bending his elbow at the neighborhood bar. We see the staggering evidence on more than one occasion and poor Carroll, already victimized earlier now has to confront yet another man turned beast.
Of particular notice is Carroll Baker's wardrobe throughout this flick. She wears light-colored dresses and matching white pumps which, with her soft, flowing blonde hair, enhances her already luminous presence on screen. This is all the more striking in black & white,particularly during the location shots along the sleazy store fronts of 42nd St. Only at the movie's end does she wear a dark print dress and jet black high heels. Likewise in BABY DOLL, Miss Baker wore white until the final reel,after her climactic encounter with Eli Wallach,in which she then donned a black dress.
Parallels may be drawn between the two movies, but SOMETHING WILD is as valid today as a subway token. Some days you are lucky to find a seat,while on others you better hold on to the overhanging strap.
Rate this *** out of **** stars.
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