Archive for November 3rd, 2013

Dockland mauling in Kazan’s classic ‘On the Waterfront’

by Mike Norton

Hello Wonders readers! My name is Mike, and this is my first post ever on this site. A little background on me- I am 17 years old, and I love movies. I have been reading Wonders in the Dark for about 2 years now, and only this summer did I start commenting on the Monday Morning Diary posts (you may have also seen me pop up on Joel Bocko’s site ‘Lost in the Movies’, which I have been a frequent commenter on). Other miscellaneous info on me- I love hip-hop, and have been a hip-hop head way before I was a film lover, I am a health/fitness freak, and I love to read and write. The essay I penned below, on one of my favorite films, On the Waterfront,  was originally going to go up on a blog I plan to create sometime in the future, but Sam offered me a slot to post in up here, and I couldn’t refuse. For my standards, it’s pretty good, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the consistently comprehensive and insightful writing that is posted on this site regularly. Still, I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have it posted here, and would like to thank Sam Juliano for his kindness and generosity for allowing me to post it here. Hope you enjoy reading.

 Like the pigeons in his stoop on the rooftops overlooking the city, Terry Malloy lives his life without conscience, falling in line and keeping quiet whenever his number comes up. The moral choice he is faced with, whether to snitch on the corrupt mob boss who runs the dock he works at, makes up the core drama of On the Waterfront, and his frame of mind is explored as different characters pull him in different directions, each impacting his outlook in a different way. He is so clearly a product of his environment, the inner city working class, and Marlon Brando’s embodiment of the role placed a new emphasis developing characters through acting, which was groundbreaking in 1954. Director Elia Kazan and screenwriter Budd Schulberg also infuse this social realist drama with a good dose of humanity, suggesting that if we can assert our own free will, we can transcend, both spiritually and physically, our current conditions. (more…)

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