Movie: "Bless The Beasts And The Children"
Directed by: Stanley Kramer
Writing credits: Mac Benoff, Glendon Swarthout
Reviewer: Max Burbank
Plot: A bunch of emotionally disturbed summer camp kids go AWOL, steal a car and attempt to free a heard of Buffalo scheduled to be slaughtered during Arizona’s annual Buffalo hunt.
Review: Mention director Stanley Kramer and your film snobs are likely to think of “Judgment at Nuremberg”, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” or “Inherit the Wind”. Hey, eggheads, screw you. Do any of those pictures feature a teenage Billy Mummy with long, flowing hair performing an unplugged version of The ‘Stones “Mother’s Little Helper”? No, sir. They do not. And “Bless the Beasts and the Children” does.
It’s also the film about odd kids at summer camp I can think of.
The boys quest to free the Buffalo is laced with flashbacks detailing each kids miserable family life. This gives each of the excellent child actors in the film a little solo scene, and each one is a wonderful blend of comedy and pathos. You laugh and squirm at the same time, it’s funny, but it rings true. As a kid I identified with it, and as an adult, it stings a little.
The scenes of the Buffalo slaughter are pretty disturbing. Small wonder, since it’s mostly stock footage of the real thing, Arizona's annual buffalo hunt.
And hey, here’s some trivia, “Bless the beasts” is the first movie to use the piece of music later picked up by Soap Opera “The Young and the Restless” that’s come to be known as ‘Nadia’s Theme’ on account of spunky Romanian gymnastics android, Nadia Comaneci. The piece was originally called ‘Cotton’s theme’ and was written for this movie.
Also, the Carpenters sing the theme song, but that’s more something to endure than an enhancement.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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