An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.
In this same political vein, Director Kazan was never forgiven by large segments of the Hollywood left for naming names before the HUAC sub-committee on communist influence in the US. Apparently, he looked upon this movie as a defense of his role before the committee. After all, it's Terry's (Brando) willingness to testify about underworld control of the union that breaks their hold. But, of course, the movie couldn't end on a bland courtroom proceeding, so we get the powerful showdown on the docks, where Terry undergoes a purifying beating for his earlier collaboration with Friendly.
It's hard to say enough about the effectiveness of the decision to film on actual dockside in New Jersey. The uncompromising nature of that filming lends necessary grit to an explosive drama. Note too the ongoing sounds of the waterfront that keep reminding us.
Maybe I missed something, but I can't understand why the mob killed Charley (Steiger) instead of Terry once they knew Terry would inform. After all, what's going to motivate a guy to retaliate more than killing his brother. Charlie's dangling corpse does make for a powerful scene, as does Terry and Edie's expressionist flight down the shadowy alleyway. But the choice to kill Charlie still seems murky to me.
Anyway, these are a few side remarks on a much reviewed film that remains an undiminished classic, even after 60-years.
- Mar 9, 2014