Saturday, 16 March 2013

''On the Waterfront'' (1954 movie)- Review

Directed by: Elia Kazan
Released: 1954
Country: United States

Main cast: Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Leo J. Cobb, Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, Pat Henning, Ben Wagner
Genres: Crime drama

Rating: 5 out of 5


Elia Kazan's ''On the Waterfront'' is a wonderful film for any reasons. Firstly, maybe because of the performance by Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint (both Oscar winners for their roles in this film). Secondly, because it's a moving and intense film. However, it is not really a film to fall in love with, yet the intensity it has is powerful, the direction by Kazan is excellent, the script is brilliant, some of the dialogues are completely unforgettable.

Corrupted union boss Johnny Friendly (played by Leo J. Cobb) kills Joey Doyle, who was going to testify against him. Terry (Marlon Brando) the brother of Johnny's right hand man Charley, is indirectly used in this crime. Terry is not pleased with what he has done, and does not like the work that his brother and Johnny Friendly does.

Terry develops a bond with Edie (Eva Marie Saint), the sister of the late Joey Doyle. Then there is Father Barry (played by Karl Malden), who, along with Edie, insists Terry to testify. Will Terry do it? Terry hesitates, as the people involved with the murder are his ''friends''; Charley is his brother, and Johnny Friendly has also played roles in his life. On the other hand, there is a humanistic and noble side in him, a side which is against the injustice and crimes committed by the corrupted union boss. 

The screenplay (by Budd Schulberg) is very powerful; it is brilliant, and rightly deserved the Oscar which it won. The film has some very unforgettable dialogues. One memorable dialogue ''You lost a battle, but you have a chance to win the war''. The dialogues are made more powerful and efficient by the way that the actors deliver them. Indeed, the film has excellent performances, most remarkably from Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint.

Eva Marie Saint and Marlon Brando in ''On the Waterfront''
Brando brings the character Terry to life. The character itself is memorable. Take a look at his background. This dialogue that the character gives give us some insight to the life of this character: ''You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody instead of a bum, which is what I am'' The character is not shown as perfect. He has done a lot of wrong and bad things. Yet, there is a soft and humanistic, memorable side in him, that being one of the reasons making this film so memorable.

Eva Marie Saint gives a yet another powerful. She and Brando make the bondage between the two characters sweeter. Her expressions  and overall acting- oh so wonderful. Near the beginning of the film, just after Joey Doyle is killed, the character shouts, '' "I want to know who killed my brother!" The way Eva Marie Saint says this, we understand that she is a great actress. Several years later she gave another memorable performance in Alfred Hitchcock's comedic thriller ''North by Northwest''.

The other actors, remarkably Leo J. Cobb and Karl Malden, all give excellent performance.

Overall, this is a brilliant film, that is rather simple, but with a script so powerful and performances so brilliant, a presentation so memorable- so sublime!

5 out of 5!


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