Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guest Blog: ON THE WATERFRONT: Survival against all odds

My review for ON THE WATERFRONT, which I guest blogged on

TITLE: On The Waterfront 
DIRECTOR: Elia Kazan
STARS: Marlon Brando, Karl Madden, Lee J. Cobb and introducing Eva Marie Saint
EDITOR: Gene Milford
AWARDS: Won 8 Academy Awards: Most Notably for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Director, best Film Editing, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction
BOX OFFICE: $910,000
RUN TIME: 108 min.
VIEWING FORMAT: Netflix Streaming

Tony Malloy, an ex-prize fighting boxer, becomes a longshoreman who has family ties to the mob wh controls the waterfront. When Terry is involved in the murder of an innocent man, he stuggles to break free of the corruption controlling the docks while leading other to follow his cause.

On The Waterfront is one of the most critically acclaimed movie in the history of cinema. It was nominated for 12 Academy Awards in 1955, winning 8. It consistently ranks in the top 100 of all major film lists.

This film remains universally relevant and the themes of injustice, plight of the common man, and the struggle for freedom remain key themes in cinema today. This film resonated with everyone who watches it and I believe is the reason for its timelessness.

Kazan's tale of class struggle remains as relevant today as it did in 1955. Brando has been forever remmebered for his portrayal of Terry Malloy, a young man trapped with a system of unfairness beyond his means of control. When Terry is involed in the death of an honest man who tried to stand up to the mob, he begins to struggle within himself to find a way out. He cbecomes romantically involved with the victim's sister Edie, Eva Marie Saint, and together, with the town priest, decide to stand up against the corrupted mob controlling the waterfront.

This film is beautifully arranged in both its words and images. The stark black and white cinematography seeks to articulate the plight of the common man versus the indulgence of the mob bosses who seek to live their lives without consequences.

The acting performances in this film are what helps it to shine. I found the conflicted nature of Brando's nuanced performance both impassioned for his plight and apathetic to his circumstance. It is only with the insistent solidarity created by the community, that Terry is able to stand up agains the mob that tired desperately to contain him.

Kazan's fim will always remain of cornerstone of cinema, not only for its artistic merit but for its examination of struggle and captivity of industry that we still feel in this country today. 

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