Wednesday, 27 February 2013

On the Waterfront


ON THE WATERFRONT (BLACK AND WHITE, 1954)

Director:
Elia Kazan

Cast:
Marlon Brando, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, Pat Henning, John F. Hamilton, Leif Erikson and Eva Marie Saint

Ages:
12 and up

Plot:
On the docks of New York, the union manages the labourers badly. The person who runs the union is Johnny Friendly (Cobb), who has many goons helping him. One of them is Terry Malloy (Brando), an ex-prize-fighter and boxer. One day, Joey is killed by Johnny and indirectly by Terry, but only Terry feels guilt-stricken.  His conscience worsens when he is befriended by Edie Doyle (Saint), the daughter of ‘Pop’ (Hamilton), who are both related to Joey. Priest Barry (Malden) wants to stop the union bosses from having too much control, so he holds several hearings. Kayo Dugan (Henning) tries to tattle on Johnny, so Johnny finishes him off. Now, Barry encourages Terry to tattle on Johnny, and Terry tries to, but when Johnny learns about it, he kills Charley (Steiger), Terry’s brother, who is also a longshoreman. Now, Terry has one thing in mind - revenge!
Terry Malloy (Brando) flanked by Edie Doyle (Saint) and Priest Barry (Malden).

Why it’s good:
Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of newspaper articles, it is sure to be good.
And it really is good. It is morally enlightening, similar to the themes in George Orwell's book Animal Farm. This time it is no longer a farm, but the waterfront of New York.

The acting by the leads are incredibly sublime, you cannot fault Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy or Eva Marie Saint as Edie Doyle. Both of them won Oscars in their roles. 

This film will be controversial to sensitive older kids but will present a sense righteousness to the young teenagers. It is quite mature, so begin by explaining the moral values - Marlon Brando is not a bright guy, but he is one with good moral values. He sets an excellent example for the rest of the longshoremen.

He is a good role model for teenagers, too. Fight for what you believe in. Fight for freedom! Fight for a better life!
Trivia:
Marlon Brando originally refused to play Terry Malloy.
Parent’s guide:
Violence throughout. Terry’s face is seen bleeding in one scene. Lee J. Cobb’s is scarred, too. Joey falls off the roof just when Terry leaves. Terry and Edie find Charley’s body hanged on the wall.
If you like this…:
The rest of the Kazan-Brando films - "The Wild One" (1953), "Viva Zapatza" (1952) and "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951).             

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