Something Wild Screen 10 articles

Something Wild

1961

Something Wild Poster
  • Knowledge of Garfein's personal trauma—both in wartime Europe and postwar New York—cannot help but inform one's sense of Baker's acting. But despite her fascinatingly behavioral performance (and an elaborate dream sequence replete with Sabine women and dripping eyeballs), Something Wild makes little psychological sense. For all Schüfftan's fabulous street photography, the movie's uneasy blend of symbolism and naturalism might have worked better onstage.

  • Sight & Sound: Nick Pinkerton
    February 03, 2017 | March 2017 Issue (pp. 99, 101)

    ...Mary Ann soon takes to aimlessly roaming the city, and here the comparison to Antonioni, or even Allen Baron's Blast of Silence (1961), is unfavourable to Garfein, who explores the expressive possibilities of the city only by having his star strike distressed postures against suitably authentic slum backdrops... Once Mary Ann is accosted by a seemingly sympathetic Brooklyn mechanic, the movie loses even documentary interest, settling into an overacted tenement-bound two-hander.

  • Very impressed by most of the first hour, especially the initial dialogue-free stretch; it's uniquely disturbing to watch a woman who's just been raped methodically cut up the clothes she was wearing and flush them down the toilet. The second half, though...yeesh.

  • A melo-noir with wildly campy outbursts, Something Wild turns serious and collapses on its delicious self after the James Joyce-reading Mary Anne gets a job at a five-and-dime and moves into an apartment next door to Edith Bunker.

  • Garfein's surreal fillips include shooting the first 15 minutes without dialogue and a dream in which Mary Ann finds herself in a museum, watching her younger self amid a gaggle of faceless schoolgirls enthralled by a painting of the rape of the Sabine women, complete with a dying stag whose eye oozes off the canvas. The sordid psychodrama comes to a jaw-dropper of a conclusion that's oddly touching despite its outrageous proposal that marriage is the cure for post-traumatic shock syndrome.

  • It’s not wild, necessarily. But it's unforgettable. I never understood the title of Jack Garfein’s beautiful, sad, confusingly romantic and richly empathetic Something Wild. If the title refers to the movie’s brutal rape, a wild animalistic act, it’s certainly nothing wild for the tragic protagonist, Mary Ann (played by a powerfully touching and brave Carroll Baker). Something dreadful is more apt, as she suffers the rough hands of a faceless brute, emerging from the trees like a demon spirit.

  • The movie daringly treats the blistering shamefulness of its first-act rape as an opportunity to dislodge itself from dramatic convention almost entirely; afterward, all bets are off, and director Garfein nosedives into the long, angular shadows of his main character's traumatized headspace.

  • There are so many striking moments in Something Wild, simple gestures, evocative silences: Mary Ann buttoning up her cardigan after the rape, fingers trembling. Mike cutting pictures out of magazines, gluing them into a scrapbook. Mary Ann lying on a cot during a heat wave, pushing back and forth the wet towel hanging above her head, water dripping onto her pale face.

  • Something Wild and Elle stand out among their peers by not offering easy answers to these impossible questions, but instead asking viewers to empathize through the acutely observed complexities of two women who both have to live with rape.

  • The rape scene encapsulates the brilliance of Something Wild, which takes a highly politicized atrocity that outsiders can’t hope to understand, humanizing it with a mercilessly empathetic devotion to detail. This rape scene is chaste by contemporary standards of on-screen violence, but Garfein and Baker offer us something more illuminating than gore: intimacy.

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