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On the Waterfront (BFI Film Classics) annotated edition Edition
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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.Read more ›