The Young One
Archival 35mm Print
Zachary Scott, Bernie Hamilton, Key Meersman, Crahan Denton,
Luis Buñuel’s sole English-language film is a peculiar portrait of American Southern racism that only at first resembles a Hollywood effort; by the end, it’s pure Buñuel. A Black jazzman, Travers (Bernie Hamilton), on the run from a false rape charge, finds himself in a hunting refuge on a Carolina island, where he warily observes the strange rites of the rural white population. A naive teenage orphan, Evvie, is left in the care of the lonely, lecherous game warden (Zachary Scott) until the local clergy can take her in. The preacher comes (in the fascinating form of Buñuel regular Claudio Brook), but not soon enough. The Young One is a warm-up for Buñuel’s next film, Viridiana, meaning that this passion play of guilt and expiation plies no piety as regards racism or statutory rape. Harking back to Simon of the Desert, we are left bemused as innocent Evvie clicks her new high heels.