The Young Lions is based on the award winning novel by Irwin Shaw that tells the story of two American soldiers and one German officer during World War II whose lives are almost paralleled. Filmed during the late 50's, director Edward Dmytryk twists the regular mode of story telling of that era by separately telling the tale of each of his heroes. The first story revolves around Christian Diestl (played by Marlon Brando) who is the German Arian ideal with broad shoulders and blonde hair. Brando successfully plays the German ski instructor who eventually ends up in the German army as a successful yet highly disgruntled officer.
Whereas the second story revolves around two American soldiers who end up in the same infantry unit. Noah Ackerman (played by Montgomery Clift), is the reclusive Jewish store clerk that falls in love with a girl from Vermont but encounters heavy anti-Semitism at the military boot camp. While Michael Whiteacre (played by Dean Martin), is the highly popular broad way singer but plays the reluctant soldier who has been drafted in the army.
The Young Lions, although not a masterpiece is a very unique movie for its time as it swaps between the three main characters and even jumps through time and space as the movie spans 7 years, from 1938 to the end of the war in 1945. All in all, The Young Lions is a very strange story that actually works quite well, considering how disjointed many aspects of the story are but if you are a lover of classic movies, then you should really consider adding this to your DVD collection.
The video transfer of The Young Lions uses an original aspect ratio of 2:35:1 which is 16x9 enhanced but unfortunately the quality ends there. The movie itself is quite grainy at the best of times but fortunately the colours and images still remain very sharp. The upside to the video quality is that there is no artefacting anywhere during this movie which is a boon to movie buffs.
Fortunately where the video lacked, the audio quality of The Young Lions makes up for this and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The musical score is written by Hugo Friedhofer who assists the storytelling with his masterful musical pieces. Although the video and audio transfer is not perfect, it should be noted that this movie is almost 45 years old and the arrival on DVD should be welcomed by all movie buffs.
The Young Lions doesn't contain any extras whatsoever beside the original theatrical trailer. In conclusion, The Young Lions is still a Hollywood classic that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys the old movie classics but be wary, the video and audio transfer leaves a lot to be desired.
- Andrew B