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The Young Savages

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Critics' Reviews

AMG Review
Craig Butler
The Young Savages is the kind of pulse-pounding "social message" film that inevitably dates badly -- but it also has a power and conviction that make it hard to ignore. Even at its most melodramatic and blatantly manipulative (and it is both, in spades), it manages to press more buttons than most viewers will want to admit. Savages starts off well, with an opening sequence that is ferocious and attention-grabbing (and brilliantly shot by director John Frankenheimer). It gets the film off on such a high that it inevitably has to come down. While Savages has its share of "ups" subsequently, none of them ever quite reach the height of the opening. The film is also damaged somewhat by its climactic courtroom scene, which is a bit too overblown and unrealistic, and by the sermonizing tone it too frequently adopts. While the young actors playing the three defendants come across a bit too mannered in their acting style, they still exert power and manage to hold their own with Burt Lancaster, who grabs hold of the film and steers it from the moment he hits the screen. He's given good support from Shelley Winters and Telly Savalas, among others. Savages is too earnest and, at times, too innocent, but it packs a punch. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi
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