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Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Brad Collins, former stevedore, is rising fast in a shipping company when local communist agitators use his former Party affiliation to extort his help in stirring up trouble. When Brad resists, communist femme fatale Christine works through his brother-in-law Don. But Brad's new wife Nan sees that her husband and brother are under pressure; when she investigates on her own, party boss Vanning takes ruthless action.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Robert Ryan and Laraine Day star in "The Woman on Pier 13," along with Thomas Gomez, John Agar, Janis Carter, and William Talman. Ryan plays Brad Collins, who falls for lovely Nan practically the moment he meets her. They marry quickly, without knowing much about one another. One of the things Nan doesn't know is that Brad used to be Frank Johnson, a member of the Communist party. His ex-girlfriend (Carter) is still one, and she is working to recruit Nan's brother (Agar). Meanwhile, Brad is blackmailed into stalling union negotiations on the waterfront.
This is an okay film, with Robert Ryan looking great and doing his usual fine acting job. It's interesting that while he looked taller than the other actors, he really didn't tower over them. He was 6'4" and actually had special furniture in his home to accommodate it. Here he is robust and not playing a meanie as he usually did. MGM never knew what to do with Day, so she was lent out constantly. I think she was underrated.
This film really draws you in. The acting is very good, and the cinematography is great.
Communism, of course, was a hot subject back in the late '40s and '50s. On paper, it sounds like it might work, which is what drew so many young people to it during the Depression years. During the blacklisting years, the fear of Communism got out of control, and people who had attended one meeting in 1935 found themselves blacklisted. Lee Grant went to the funeral of someone who was thought to be a Communist, and she didn't work for 19 years.
Consequently there are many anti-Communist films. This is one, with a solid cast and some good production values.
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