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Youth of the Beast (Criterion Collection) back to product details

Don't Try Parsing This Title
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written by talltale June 15, 2005 - 3:34 PM PDT
7 out of 8 members found this review helpful
If Sam Fuller had been Japanese, he might have come up with something as unusual and fun as YOUTH OF THE BEAST, the 1962 film by a director (Seijun Suzuki) whose work I knew nothing of, but who proves to have an interesting command of plot, composition, color, humor, blood, jazz-influenced music and general entertainment values that cut across cultural lines.

Ahead of its time in the open presentation of a gay character, the movie also offers more nudity than was generally seen back in the early 60s. Criterion has released the DVD in that company's usual splendid condition, so expect to be surprised at many of the terrific visuals. Do not expect a "classic" in the usual sense (or even the "camp" sense), as this is more a "pop" art classic of its particular time and place. While I'm glad I saw it, I'm not certain I'd want to spend much time seeing many more of these films, at least not in too quick a succession.

Do watch the interviews with the director (who is now old and somewhat forgetful) and the lead actor Jo Shishido (old, but sharp as a tack and much more interesting). I had wondered where the odd title came from, as I could not figure out to what it referred. Turns out the director couldn't either. He says the producers probably chose it because the movie was marketed to "youth"--which I suppose makes a tad more sense than choosing the title because they planned to market the movie to beasts.

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(Average 7.13)
53 Votes
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