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On the Waterfront (BFI Film Classics) annotated edition Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1844570720
ISBN-10: 184457072X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leo Braudy is University Professor and Bing Professor of English at the University of Southern California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: British Film Institute; annotated edition edition (April 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184457072X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844570720
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,346,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Dash Manchette VINE VOICE on November 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is easy to see On the Waterfront as strongly autobiographical of, or even cathartic for, its director Elia Kazan. Kazan named names of communists to Congress, earning the contempt and hostility of the artistic world, then, as now, overwhelmingly left-leaning. In the movie, Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) testifies against the mob controlling the waterfront, despite a strong-as-steel ethos against ratting, the `D and D' philosophy (Deaf and Dumb) as described in the movie itself. Beaten and bruised, Malloy nonetheless triumphs in the end, bringing salvation to his brethren in the process.

As Leo Braudy demonstrates in this thin book from the British Film Institute, such an interpretation is not only too narrow, but grossly misguided. Corruption on the waterfront piers of New York was rampant at the time, and viewing the movie simply as a veiled defense of testifying gives woeful short thrift to the real issues it was trying to address. The story of waterfront corruption had captured the imagination of several people at once, including Kazan and writer Arthur Miller, who was creating a story based upon the piers of the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. The collaboration between these two fell apart, and screenwriter Budd Schulberg filled the void. Schulberg had done significant research on the issue, focusing his attentions on an actual priest that served as the model for the movie's Father Barry (Karl Malden), and publishing articles in the New York press.

Over several years, numerous rewrites and a Hollywood more interested in Prince Valiant in Technicolor than a black and white movie about the working class, On the Waterfront eventually got made and became almost an instant classic.
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By Miami on January 31, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As promised
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