On the Waterfront (1954)
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Elia Kazan’s 1954 film On the Waterfront is included on the Vatican’s film list in the Values section. The film broke ground in its gritty, realistic production and acting style, particularly manifested in Marlo Brando’s unforgettable performance as low-down dockworker Terry Malloy. It offers a striking vision of how we can be transformed by attending to the demands of conscience, articulated in fully Christian terms in a classic monologue by one of the greatest movie priests in Hollywood history.
In discussing the film, James and Thomas touch on the pros and cons of method acting, and learn about the real-life priest whose testimony inspired the screenplay. The film’s political context is also interesting, as it was arguably director Kazan and writer Schulberg’s cinematic defense of their decision to name names of Hollywood Communists in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com/
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