The Young One (Directors Suite) (1960)

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Released 21-Oct-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Booklet-The Young One: Bunuel's Neglected Masterpiece
Trailer-Four Directors Suite Trailers
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1960
Running Time 91:39 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:54) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Luis Buņuel
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Zachary Scott
Bernie Hamilton
Key Meersman
Crahan Denton
Claudio Brook
Case Alpha-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    The Young One (or White trash in the United States or Island of Shame in the United Kingdom) is one of only two films made by Luis Bunuel in English, the other being The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe made in 1952. Both films share the distinction of being Mexican productions, films made to make Bunuel known in the United States. The Young One (La Joven in Spanish) is confronting in its themes of social justice, treatment of innocent people, prejudice and racism and for this reason it failed at the US box office in 1960. American audiences just couldn't sympathise with Bunuel's social criticism of the treatment of people judged inferior, such as Bernie Hamilton's Traver who is a black man escaping a false charge or Key Meersman's Evalyn who is a 13 year-old girl left in the care of Miller, played by Zachary Scott, after Evalyn's grandfather and handyman for Miller who is a game warden on an island off the American coastline.

    If you compare the reaction to Bunuel's film made in 1961, Viridiana, in Spain, with similar social criticisms against authoritative figures and judgment of inferior people in society, you could deduce that Viridiana lives on in cinematic history because it is much more visually and metaphorically confronting then The Young One. Also, audiences in Spain, and especially in France, could sympathise with the criticisms made in Viridiana. In The Young One, each main character is presented with flaws and virtues, Bunuel seems to be judging the situation these characters find themselves in, not the characters themselves and frankly American audiences in 1960 would not have been able to empathise with this scenario.

    Jonathan Rosenbaum writes an interesting essay on why this film is a neglected masterpiece in the 16 page booklet included with the DVD. Luis Bunuel was not a recognised auteur at this stage in his career, did that have something to do with it? I would reply by asking what about Los Olvidados? The Young One is not a trademark Bunuel film replete with surrealist metaphoric undertones, so don't view this film thinking that is has been made in that style. Instead, it is a clever criticism of late 1950s/early 1960s American society that deserves to be looked at afresh on its own merits.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of The Young One is pristine, the film looks stunning for its age.

    The aspect ratio is 1:85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    The film is sharp, the transfer is clean, there is no grain evident. This is mainly because the film's average bitrate is 7.97 m/b per sec.

    Gabriel Figueroa shot The Young One in glorious black and white, the contrast and tones of the cinematography is distinctive.

    There are practically no film artefacts evident in the video transfer.

    Unfortunately, no subtitles have been included with this release of the film in Region 4.

    The RSDL change occurs at 68:54

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Claudio Brook (as Reverend Fleetwood) was the only non-American used in the principal cast. Even so, you can easily tell that his dialogue has been dubbed into English in post-production.

    There is one main audio track in English. It is encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 kbps.

    Dialogue is not always synchronised in this film, but it is not too distracting overall.

    The music consists of one song which bookends the film, "Sinner Man" by Leon Beeb. Bunuel did not like non-diagetic music (music that comes from a source off-screen) in his films, with some of his films he made having no soundtrack whatsoever!

    There is no surround channel usage.

    The subwoofer is not utilised either in the main soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

16-page Booklet by Jonathan Rosenbaum

Rosenbaum provides some good arguments as to why The Young One should be re-evaluated. I found the essay "The Young One: Bunuel's neglected masterpiece" a strong statement just in it's title. Rosenbaum cites the lack of connection with American audiences and Bunuel's international reputation as major factors why this film was poorly received at the box office.

Four Directors Suite Trailers

Trailers for Tickets, The Exterminating Angel, The Marriage of Maria Braun and Funny Games are included on this DVD.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Young One has been included as a double feature with Gran Casino in Region 1 in the United States. This version of the film has a similar clean transfer, although it is only presented on a single-layered disc. The audio is clear and it includes a subtitle track in English and Spanish. Peter Evans and Isabel Santaolalla provide an academic commentary on the film. The only criticism of this Region 1 version of the film is the fact that the Region 1 double feature has the names of the film mislabelled on both sides! Otherwise, The Region 1 version of The Young One is only slightly better than the Region 4, which is still a quality DVD presentation by Madman Entertainment's label, Director's Suite.

Summary

    The Young One has finally been released on DVD by itself, on it's own merits. How does it compare other Bunuel films? It is not a metaphoric criticism of societal relations for it's time. So, please judge The Young One on it's own merits, you may be genuinely surprised!

    The video transfer is stunning, the audio transfer is very good also.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Monday, December 28, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 019), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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