Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: On the Waterfront (1954)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Posts
    131

    On the Waterfront (1954)

    On the Waterfront (1954) - **** (Out of 4)
    This masterpiece was really made what it is by the excellent performances of it's stars...Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Eva Marie Saint. On top of that it was a great story by Budd Schulberg, directed brilliantly by Elia Kazan. With all that talent, it is simply one of the great movies. Regardless of how you feel about the specifics of this story of corruption in the dockworkers union, it really is a basic story of human struggle between right and wrong that we can all relate to. The scenes between Brando and Eva are very touching and realistic, but I must say, the famous "I coulda been a contender" scene really is deserving of all it's praise. A very touching scene between two brothers and the eventual ultimate sacrifice that comes from it. Watching this movie for the first time in 2003, makes me long for this time when the really great movies were made.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4,830

    Re: On the Waterfront (1954)

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by SinjinSB
    On the Waterfront (1954) - **** (Out of 4)
    This masterpiece was really made what it is by the excellent performances of it's stars...Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Eva Marie Saint.

    Brando's is my favorite but Cobb, Steiger and Saint never had better performances. In spite of Boris Kaufman's crisp cinematography and Shulberg's precise script, the performances do make the film and cement Kazan's reputation as a director of actors.
    I like the film almost as much as you do but here's my problem. It's not simply that Kazan was a jerk and coward. After all, Polanski is probably guilty of bigger crimes and I rate his films highly. Mr. Kazan uses waterfront corruption as an excuse to give us a protagonist presented as a martyr for informing on his co-workers. This is the Kazan film that followed the director cooperation with the shameless House Un-American Activities Committee by providing names of alleged former members of the American Communist Party. It's not the specifics of the story that bother me. It's the self-serving nature of the whole project as a way for Mr. Kazan to present himself to the audience in general and the Hollywood community specifically as something other than a coward and a hypocrite. Knowledge is a bitch. I'll feign ignorance to enjoy Brando's performance yet again.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Posts
    131
    I didn't know Kazan's history prior to watching the film. Though I heard some of it on the special features of the DVD. So I was able to form my opinion of the movie itself. Hearing about his personal life afterward, didn't reduce my enjoyment of the film.

    I do think Polanski's past personal crimes are much more heinous, yet I really enjoyed The Pianist.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4,830

    SALT OF THE EARTH

    I like this film but I think it overrated, both back in 1954 and now, if Sinjin's review is any indication. ON THE WATERFRONT won 8 Academy Awards in the same year that the vastly superior REAR WINDOW and Nick Ray's influential western JOHNNY GUITAR were released. Personally, my favorite film of 1954 is SALT OF THE EARTH, the "grandaddy" of the American Independent movement, about the effects of a 13-month long strike at a zinc mine on a Mexican-American family. A beautifully lensed and acted political film with heart and bite. It's now available on home video y'all.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Posts
    131
    Rear Window is my #1 movie of 1954, #1 of the 1950s, and #5 movie of all-time. I haven't seen Johnny Guitar or Salt of the Earth yet, but sounds like they're good too. Though regardless of how good they are, it's doesn't diminish my enjoyment of On the Waterfront.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4,830

    MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 1954

    1. SANSHO THE BAILIFF (Mizoguchi)
    2. SALT OF THE EARTH (Biberman)
    3. REAR WINDOW (Hitchcock)
    4. (tie) JOHNNY GUITAR (Ray), THE SEVEN SAMURAI (Kurosawa) and SENSO (Visconti)
    7. (tie) ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE (Bunuel) and ON THE WATERFRONT (Kazan)
    9. (tie) A STAR IS BORN (Cukor), HOBSON'S CHOICE (Lean) MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (Sirk)

    HONORABLE MENTION: LA STRADA (Fellini), SABRINA (Wilder), SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (Donen)

    WISH LIST: ANATAHAN (Von Sternberg), THE CRUCIFIED LOVERS (Mizoguchi), MONSIEUR RIPOIS (Clement) and THE GAME OF LOVE (Autant-Lara)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM, USA
    Posts
    376
    I may be taking a bold step here, but after just watching On the Waterfront for the first time today, I think I have to say I'm beginning to dislike Marlon Brando as an actor. This may sound a bit shallow, but the fact that he always looks like he's wearing 3 pounds of makeup and his very nasal voice just manage to slightly make me cringe. However, I still admire his abilities to act in at least a few of his films, especially this wonderful little piece.
    "So I'm a heel, so what of it?"
    --Renaldo the Heel, from Crimewave

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    377
    I watched this movie again recently, and I was struck at how many references there are to it in other movies. A few of the ones I could identify (and surely there are many more that I didn't pick up on):

    1) "Rushmore" - Scene where Max in "Rushmore" informs Mrs. Bloom of her husband's indiscretions is a clear takeoff of the scene in this movie where Brando speaks indiscernably to Eva Marie amongst the ship noise along the river.

    2) "The Royal Tenenbaums" - Another Wes Anderson film; the protaganist here, Luke Wilson tends to his birds kept in a cage on the roof of his building. Identical to Brando in Waterfront.

    3) "You Can Count on Me" - I just noticed how similar Mark Ruffalo's acting style is to Brando in Waterfront. It's that hangdog look, tormented soul persona. And (coincidentally?) both characters are named Terry.

    It's like watching "The Graduate"; there have been so many film references made to these movies that it becomes a game to try to catch them when watching the originals.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •