Monday, February 15, 2010

#53 On The Waterfront: I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum...

1954. dir. Elia Kazan, starring Marlon Brando, Lee J. Cobb, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden.

Seen it before? No.

Marlon Brando stars as Terry Malloy, a washed-up former boxer who now works down at the docks. The dockworker's union is ruled with an iron fist by Johnny Friendly, played by Lee J. Cobb, who seemed to specialize in shouty asshole roles like this. (See also: 12 Angry Men.) The union is corrupt and crooked, and Friendly uses brute force to run it. He has Malloy set up a hit on somebody who I guess was asking too many questions. The guy's sister (Eva Marie Saint, winner of Best Supporting Actress for this role) investigates his death, and becomes involved with Malloy. Oh and Karl Malden is here too, as a meddlesome priest.

This movie reminded me of Season 2 of The Wire. Apparently not much has changed in the last 50 years for the dockworkers: backbreaking labor, lousy pay, inconsistent hours, and organized crime. Of course The Wire was able to explore these issues in more detail, given that it had 13 hours to play with instead of 107 minutes. Anyway, this is a great movie, and it's worth seeing for Brando's performance.

Position on the list: 114
Another weird Wire parallel: The pigeons. "Man, shit like that don't even work in them cartoons. The roadrunner just snatch the birdseed and book."

No comments:

Post a Comment