Screened as part of Autumn Events 2014
Marlon Brando mesmerises in the indelible performance that revolutionised big-screen acting 60 years ago and is still heart-breaking today. He is Terry Malloy, a dock worker waking up to the crushing power of his protectors and his own bruised humanity. Based on the true story of a worker who broke ranks with a corrupt union, Budd Shulberg’s script tapped into director Elia Kazan’s urge to justify his own betrayal of Communist Party colleagues. In a uniformly stunning cast Rod Steiger plays Terry’s brother, right-hand man to union boss Lee J. Cobb. Eva Marie Saint plays the grieving sister of their most recent victim. The film was shot on location in Hoboken, N.J., on and near the docks. Martin Scorsese has described the thrill he experienced on seeing a world he actually recognised shown on screen. That realism might appear artfully heightened now, but the thrill endures every moment Brando takes the screen.
“On the Waterfront is the supreme success story of '50s Hollywood… It is thanks to Brando that this posthumous Popular Front classic is a heart-clutcher from beginning to end.” — J. Hoberman, Village Voice
“As unspoiled in its key elements as the day it was made, On the Waterfront is indisputably one of the great American films.” — Kenneth Turan, LA Times