Saturday, February 11, 2012

On The Waterfront (1954)

On The Waterfront (1954) ★★★★★ 5/5

Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) emerges from the dark and calls to a window for his friend Joey, telling him to go to the roof to get a pigeon of his that had escaped his coop. Joey goes to the roof and as Terry walks away, Joey is thrown from the roof top and killed. Father Barry (Karl Malden) becomes involved as he realizes that there is more going on then meets the eye at the docks. The dock workers are being treated unfairly. Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) controls the docks and who is paid what and when. If a worker complains, he ends up like Joey.

Terry feels bad about setting his friend up to be murdered, but at the same time he is conflicted to remain under the good graces of Friendly. Terry becomes more conflicted as he develops a relationship with Joey's sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint). Eventually he realizes he has to stand up for himself in order to keep Edie by his side. With the help of Father Barry, Terry takes on Johnny Friendly and his mob in an effort to ensure the workers are treated fairly.

Eva Marie Saint, Marlon Brando and Karl Malden are all powerhouse stars in this film. Each of them ignite the film and when they appear together on screen the results are awesome. The story is fast paced and the finale is terrifically played out. A moving picture with a message. My only complaint about the movie was Brando's character name. At times it sounded like people were saying "Jerry" other times "Gary." I don't know if it was the accents or the distant yelling in some scenes but I was often like, "Who are they talking about?" You are also going to look out for Brando's famous "I coulda been a contender line." It is always a thrill to hear a popular movie line played out in its actual context.

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