After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
Terry Malloy dreams about being a prize fighter, while tending his pigeons and running errands at the docks for Johnny Friendly, the corrupt boss of the dockers union. Terry witnesses a murder by two of Johnny's thugs, and later meets the dead man's sister and feels responsible for his death. She introduces him to Father Barry, who tries to force him to provide information for the courts that will smash the dock racketeers. Written by
Colin Tinto <email@example.com>
ON THE WATERFRONT is considered to one of the great classics of American cinema . It's easy to see why . It's a story that involves a nobody standing up to a powerful and corrupt organisation and doing the right thing , of one man making a difference . However it's impossible to watch this once you know the background of the director Elia Kazan . A Turkish immigrant to America he started off in theater and along with Lee Strasberg introduced something called " Method acting " where the actor gets in to the psychological depths and motivation of their character and effectively becomes that character . Where as previously film stars like Clark Gable , Errol Flynn etc etc were always playing a different shade of themselves a new breed of actors in the 1950s such as James Dean and Marlon Brando brought the method acting style to cinema and the method hit new heights in the late 1960s and 70s with New Hollywood . Perhaps we should be thankful for Kazan ? Maybe but the downside was Kazan was not a nice person at all from a very important moral viewpoint
This film features a corrupt union who are fleecing the workers and lining their own pockets . The Waterfront Crime Commission are very interested in bringing down this corrupt union but they have a problem in that no one wants to talk to them and the union are more than happy to arrange accidents for suspected informers such as throwing people off roofs and fearing that former boxer Terry Molloy might snitch on them because they murdered the brother of a girl Molloy is falling in love with decide to put heavy pressure on him . You might like to consider that a couple of years previously Kazan was more than happy to testify in front of The House Of Un-American Activities and named eight former colleagues he knew from the American communist party with these eight people then being blacklisted . In effect he grassed them up and stabbed his friends in the back .With friends like that who needs enemies ? Continually this film screams that informing on " bad guys " is all that's needed for good to defeat evil and unfortunately while being a red might not necessarily make you a bad person there does seem to be some sort of moral equivalence of being a murderous gangster and someone suspected of leftist leanings . I mean it doesn't matter what someone has done because if they've done something wrong then they've only got themselves to blame if someone snitches on them isn't that right ? . A snitch is a good thing
There's also a large dose of irony . The only character with a moral compass is Father Barry played by Karl Malden . Yeah I mean a Catholic priest makes for a superlative role model . Yeah I'm sure if Father Barry found out about a paedophile ring for example he'd be round the police station right away naming names ? Or maybe not . After the death of a longshoreman who knows too much Father Barry pleads in the name of Jesus for the workers to rise up against their cruel union bosses who are taking the bread from hungry babies and using it to pay for expensive suits .Let's think about this for a tiny second . If the character of Barry wasn't a priest and just an ordinary worker , and who doesn't mention Jesus and pointed out the exploitation the workers were experiencing what sort of person would Barry be ? No doubt a good guy but one with leftist , almost certainly fundamental Marxist leanings , in which case he'd automatically be blacklisted as a filthy red . Oh it's an entirely different ball game now eh comrade ? Yet another example of Americans not getting irony . And remember - no one likes a snitch
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