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Not faltering in action, your attention is riveted to the screen. Most amazing is the acting skill of Marlon Brando. Here he creates another character - a Nazi soldier who is the protagonist throughout the film. The other actors are fine, but they play themselves... they don't seem to have the ability to create someone new, extrinsic to their own being. In contrast, Brando is a stand out.
The film is not only entertaining, but effective at making war more horrifying and juvenile, with the humanizing elements of the individual cast members.
This is a good film in its entirety, but Brando bowls you away with his almost perfect performance. He is so good that it takes a while into the film to recognize just who he is. He commits to his character and becomes one with him, holding it throughout the film.
A classic, by all definitions.
Good, but could have been brilliant.
World War 2, as seen through the eyes of three soldiers, two American and one German.
Directed by Edward Dmytryk and based on a novel by Irwin Shaw, The Young Lions is a movie with heaps of potential: show the history of WW2 through the eyes of soldiers from both sides in an objective fashion.
Dmytryk does reasonably well with this foundation, creating a movie that is entertaining and reasonably engaging.
However, it is far from perfect. The history side is a bit clumsy, juxtaposing events to suit dramatic ends, and the military side isn't always accurate.
The human side should have been gritty, showing what the soldiers went through and why they were fighting. There's a bit of that but it's largely padded with their home life and some sub-plots that don't really go anywhere. There's also rather predictable moralising sub-plots tacked on for soapboxing purposes.
A tighter plot, less secondary characters and more focus on the war and this would have been a masterpiece.
The film looks wonderful and grand, almost 3 hour runtime flies unnoticed. What set it back a little are those stereotypical propagandistic moments that must have been spread all around back in 50s after the war.
This is a well made War film with 3 stars leading the charge, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Dean Martin. It tells an interesting story an examines areas not often covered in films like these. Brando plays a Nazi office disillusioned with his cause and Clift plays a Jewish soldier dealing with anti-semitism in the U.S. Army, and at home. The performances really make this, all three leads are great, as is the B&W cinematography. Maximilian Schell is all good. Check it out.
Almost 3 hours, maybe that's a lot for a war movie. I t was like From Here to Eternity but with a better ending at least. Montgomery Clift was awesome as always (i can't believe in the imdb page of the movie it says that he was too old for a soldier. he was younger than Dean Martin)
Brando being Brando. Brando and dean collide in a movie that had a touch of Full Metal Jacket meets the nazi scenes from Casablanca. Clever story telling that even kept my girlfriends the entire way through.
A forgotten war classic with vintage Brando, Clift, and Martin. A bit longish but strong evocative performances sell the story.
Ah, yes, an epic about the rise of popular alternative/indie rock band Young the Lion. That was a stretch, but, in all seriousness, this does sound like a cool rock band name... which makes the Young the Giant joke sound like even more of a stretch, because indie rock isn't exactly White Lion cool. I joke, but the only song I can think of titled "Young Lions" is by some Constantines, a "Canadian" indie rock band, so this title must not be that cool, as reflected by the fact that it was ostensibly the peak of coolness in the 1950s. I guess that means my jokingly associating this film with a rock band in the first place is misguided no matter what, because this film even predates the 1960s jazz band which was named The Young Lions, another band that only I know of. Well, the fact of the matter is that I'm old, like this film, which is pretty unsurprisingly old, seeing as how it came out back when Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Dean Martin could be considered "young" lions. This film is so old that it's one of Maximilian Schell's first projects, which should tell you that he's always been into giving himself a bad wrap by playing Nazis, and in dramas that were edgy enough to really show how big of jerks the Nazis were, no less. Well, this film is edgy for 1958, being really good, as surely as "Judgment at Nuremberg" was good, despite making Max Schell come off as a jerk (Well, here, he's working with Marlon Brando, who is playing a Nazi sympathizer, so just how detestable can Schell be by comparison?), but not entirely capable of transcending dramatic shortcomings of the time.
Now, the film seems to be intentionally structured as a melodrama, thus, the histrionics are generally easy to embrace in the context of this film, but only up to a point, before certain melodramatic elements are carried a touch too far away to compel all that easily, or at least seem to be, when backed by a certain directorial sentimentality. Edward Dmytryk's direction has plenty of kick to it, but it's a script that still gets dramatically flimsy which is most realized in its handling of melodramatics, whereas Dmytryk's storytelling occasionally adopts an ambition to bite so immense that it's sometimes somewhat overbearing. Of course, it's not as though the film is only overblown with its dramatics, because, at 167 minutes, this film's runtime is perhaps too sprawling, dedicating about as much time to near-aimlessly meandering material and filler as it does to more realized and fleshed out material, which, quite frankly, gets to be a little limited. Well, at least immediate development is a little sloppy, taking its sweet time to get you used to the characters and their stories, then proceeding to do a plenty solid job of drawing an extensive narrative that still tends to lose its tightness, in addition to its grip on gradual exposition, resulting in one of the film's more aggravating aspects: structural unevenness. On top of juggling three separate storylines, this film divides each plot into several segments, and such a structure is seriously ambitious, which would be fine if it wasn't for the questionable pacing and flimsiness in expository tightness, thus, when shifts in focus on a particular character or on a particular chapter in each character's story, it's extremely difficult to not get thrown off, to where momentum takes yet another blow from a certain aimlessness. There's a taste in this film that never abates, and is honestly so great that the final product could have gone well beyond a merely rewarding state, yet all of the overambitious bloating to dramatics and structure go quite a distance in holding the film back. Of course, it's hard to hold this drama that far back, because for all the ambition, there is so much inspiration that the film is never less than compelling, even though it might stand to be a little more consistent with, say, its style.
By, if you will, criticizing the film's visual style as inconsistent, I mean that, whether it be because of technical limitations of the time or whatever, Joe Macdonald's cinematography fails to impress as often as it could have, but when the visual style does come to highlights by way of an almost noirish exploitation of a black-and-white palette, it helps pretty handsomely in supplementing a sense of weight to this perhaps gritty drama. For this tasteful placement of style, Edward Dmytryk deserves credit, for although his direction is surprisingly not as edgy as other forms of storytelling in this drama which was ahead of its time, it too has many an area of inspiration to storytelling that is rarely thoughtful to the point of blandness, and recurrently realized enough to immerse you in the dramatic heart of a story concept of great conceptual value. The film's story is perhaps a little too dramatically and structurally bloated to handle all that comfortably, but, quite frankly, just about every aspect of this both epic and intimate war is compelling, even on paper, with a solid deal of potential that one might figure 1950s sensibilities would fumble. Well, limitations of the time are there, but they are limited, and that especially goes for Edward Anhalt's strong script, whose dialogue is sharp, and whose set pieces are tight enough to sustain liveliness, despite excesses, while characterization, despite its also being a little uneven, carries enough depth to dissect the leads of this film as worthy dramatic figures by their own right, as well as thought-provoking supplements to considerable thematic value. Unafraid to take a realist approach to themes on problematic politics, patriotism, the horrors of war, and moral instability all behind a melodramatic narrative that rarely gets too carried away, Anhalt's storytelling handles remarkable subject matter with remarkable grace, and were there a little more consistency to Anhalt's efforts, as well as a lot more consistency to Dmytryk's, the film might very well have stood out. What might have secured such a position would be the performances in the film, which boasts a solid cast of talents who endear across the board, from which the leads stand out, with Montgomery Clift being nuanced in his portrayal of a young man who must face ridicule from the enemy and even his own peers as a Jew, as well as overwhelming dangers as a soldier, while Dean Martin convinces as a cool man of respect who isn't prepared to fight and perhaps die for his country, and Marlon Brando truly steals the show, delivering on a German accent that is about as impeccable as a powerfully subtle emotional range that firmly showcases Brando's groundbreaking dramatic acting sensibilities in top form. The acting is often so good that they have to be seen in order to be believed, as surely as the highlights are so bright that they're worth waiting for, reflecting an inspiration that was uncommon at the time and would have made a still-powerful film, were it not for certain shortcomings that still don't stand much of a chance at keeping the final product to rewarding through and through.
When the lions finally sleeps tonight (The Vietnam War was just starting up in the real world at this time, so, no, the lion is not sleeping in the mighty jungle), overly melodramatic moments reflect an ambition which bloats things almost as disconcertingly as the expository unevenness, excessive structuring, and serious focal unevenness which ultimately secure the final product quite a ways shy of a potential that is still sound enough for sometimes handsome visual style, often effective direction, frequently effective writing, and consistently strong performances by Montgomery Clift, Dean Martin and the particularly powerful Marlon Brando to prove to be enough to make Edward Dmytryk's "The Young Lions" a then-edgy and still-thoroughly rewarding epic of a war drama.
3/5 - Good
Interesting, but too long.
An interesting movie based on a novel by Irwin Shaw. It follows three separate stories around three different characters. Marlon Brando plays an idealistic Nazi and follower of Hitler who has to come to terms with the Anti-Semitism. Dean Martin plays an American who is more concerned with the night life at home than responsibility; who basically grows up on the battlefields of WW2. Montgomery Clift plays a American Jew who goes to WW2 as a Jew fighting the Nazi's. There are moments, especially when the film examines the loves of these three men that are a little melodramatic and drawn out. But the stories of these three men and how they come together in combat is appealing. A fairly good war movie in general.