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On the Waterfront Review

  • Date Submitted: 04/12/2010 06:36 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 59.4 
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On the Waterfront

Budd Schulberg's script is based on his own original which in turn was "suggested" by the Malcolm Johnson articles. It's a rousing scenario that Schulberg fashioned, with strong accent on murder and somewhat remindful of the picturized gangsterism of the 1920's.
Under Elia Kazan's direction, Marlon Brando delivers one of his strongest performances here as Terry Maloy, the flawed hero of this riveting drama. Maloy and his brother Charlie were "bought" at an early age by local mobster Johnny Friendly, who tempted them with easy money and cushy jobs. Charlie went to college and became one of Friendly's henchman, while Terry, more the physical type, trained to become a boxer. Yet his potential was wasted because of rigged fights and bets which forced him to lose. And now he's one of the many poor slobs who work as longshoremen on the waterfront, sweating like pigs for almost nothing. They have to be part of an Union, but corrupted as it does, it doesn't do much but suck their hard-earned cash from them. Some of the guys would like to take action, to go talk to the authorities, but that generally results in unfortunate "accidents".

The movie is about how a cold, tough working man used to care only about himself grows to begin to wanna do the right thing. Maloy hates being called a bum, but he gradually realizes he behaves like one by rubbing shoulders with a priest who has the guts to leave his church and try to make a difference in the real world, and through his relationship with Edie Doyle (Eva Marie Saint ), the sister of a righteous dock worker who was killed for his beliefs. Eva Marie Saint, a newcomer to films who has appeared in television and the legiter, "Trip to Bountiful." Edie Doyle, in sharp contrast with the robust people and settings of "Waterfront," is fresh and delicate but with enough spirit to escape listlessness in her characterization.The priest kind gives him a conscience or at least makes him realize he has one,...


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