Film Friday: #12 On The WaterFront

Made: 1954

Director: Eliza Kazan

starring: Marlon Brando, Rod Steiger, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J Cobb, Karl Maldon.

This film takes place around the docks  area where the longshore men are ruled by a corrupt union run by Johnny Fingers (Cobb) and his other criminal activties which pervade the entire are, if you want to work you go through him.

Terry Malloy (Brando) a one time prize-fighter seems to have it easy because his brother Charlie (Steiger) works for Johnny Fingers), he always works usually in the loft the easiest place where he’s not expected to do anything.

Anyway Terry is asked to call his friend one night Joey Doyle,as some people want to talk to him, Joey is subsequently murdered.

Enter Edie Doyle (Eva Marie Saint) home from the convent and wants answers as to why her brother was killed and finds out tha Terry was the last person to speak to him.

She begins to prick Terry’s conscience and introduces him to Father Barry ( Malden) who is working with the local men to break the hold the corrupt union has over its community.

Terry begins slowly to see the light and realises how he was used in Joey’s death and agrees to help at first for Fingers as a spy,  then for himself, thought there are others who seemingly speak up but only because of the direct threats to their families.

The commission investigating crime on the waterfront are slowly gaining traction as people come forward, and Fingers begins to lose his power, he sends Charley to murder his own brother which he can’t do and he in turn is killed which forces Terry to make a stand.

Make a stand he does he goes to court and tells all he knows to no avail Fingers seemingly gets away with it, Terry arrives at work and waits to be picked for the days work, and he’s snubbed by all, he demand that he be able to work and has a final showdown with Fingers and takes a savage beating.


His fellow workers see that he’s willing to fight for all of them and they cheer him on the Bosses tell him if he works the all work, this scene is incredible a one shot camera direction watching his faltering steps to the front of the line to start work, but also the corrupt union is broken and it means people can now sleep easy.

This movie hits the right note every step of the way from the desperation of the longshore men and the men who control their very existence, to finding a voice and the courage to fight for their way of life without constantly living in fear.

Brand in what I think is one of his greatest roles portrays Terry with sensitivity and strength his command of the screen is impressive, but also cast support him ably seeming fitting like a glove into their various roles and conveying the feelings of the times.

This movie also has one of the greatest scenes ever in movie history.see below.

About therabbitholez

I returned to this blog in September 2014, after a 2 year absence, due to depressive illness and homelessness. This journey charts the rocky road to recovery and my feelings about it, and getting a home together after losing everything, this too has been a rocky rocky, both things connected on many levels, but separate at the same time. If you want to know more please read my blog:) and comment on any blog you like I enjoy the interaction, and belong to a great community on here. Thanks for reading.:)
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