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ON THE WATERFRONT
(1954)

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One of the greatest movies, 'On The Waterfront' sees Marlon Brando at the height of his powers, supported by a fantastic cast.

Brando plays Terry Malloy, a not very bright ex-boxer, who is used by his union at a New York City dock for various menial tasks.

Things get complicated when Malloy falls for Edie (Eva Marie Saint), whose brother has been killed by union gangsters (this film's one failing is the unions as gangsters theme, which underlined director Elia Kazan's right wing leanings).

When Malloy's brother Charley (Rod Steiger) becomes a third fatal victim, Malloy then looks for a way to put away the union's leader, Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb). The ensuing confrontation between Malloy and Friendly (no-one plays anger better than Cobb!) at the docks is memorable, though the ending of the film is abrupt.

Karl Malden (Father Barry) gives an inspired performance as a priest, and Malden, Cobb, and Steiger were all nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, with movie newcomer Ms. Saint winning one for Best Supporting Actress, and Brando winning one for Best Actor.

The bleak cinematography of Boris Kaufman, and the strange, futuristic, chaotic, but effective music from Leonard Bernstein, are other stand-out features of this film, and with Kazan as director, Sam Spiegel as producer, and a screenplay by Budd Shulberg, it all adds up to American filmmaking at its best.

But the star of the show was Marlon Brando. He could have been somebody, and, as an actor, Brando certainly was.

- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.

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On The Waterfront Main Cast List
Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy
Karl Malden as Father Barry
Lee J. Cobb as Johnny Friendly
Rod Steiger as Charley 'the Gent' Malloy
Eva Marie Saint as Edie Doyle
Pat Henning as Timothy J. 'Kayo' Dugan
Leif Erickson as Glover, Crime Commission investigator
James Westerfield as Big Mac
Tony Galento as Truck
Tami Mauriello as Tullio
John Hamilton as 'Pop' Doyle (as John Hamilton)
John Heldabrand as Mutt
Rudy Bond as Moose
Don Blackman as Luke
Arthur Keegan as Jimmy
Abe Simon as Barney

Directed by Elia Kazan

 

 

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