The Wild One is the original motorcycle film, starring Marlon Brando as the brooding leader of a biker gang that invades a small town. The film always looked like one of those synthetic Hollywood ideas of subculture life in the 1950s, which means it looks even more artificial today. But it is an actor's piece more than anything, and to that end Brando's performance really is an important one in the context of his revolutionary reinvention of film acting during that decade. The film was directed by Lásló Benedek (Namu, the Killer Whale) and produced by the socially conscious Stanley Kramer.--Tom Keogh, Amazon.com
"On the Waterfront" tells the emotional story of an ex-boxer, Terry Malloy (Brando), who, after seeing the immoral and deeply wrong nature of the mafia he is working for, realises the value of life and freedom and sets about to bring the organisation down for its crimes.
A superb performance on Brando's part as well as the film's supporting actors: Eva Marie Saint, who plays the attractive young nun, Edie, who convinces Malloy to listen to his conscience and eventually find his admirable view on life: Rod Steiger, who playsMalloy's brother, Charley The Gent, who shares the fantastic taxi scene with Brando, in which the relationship of the two brothers is seen in its real light: Karl Malden, who plays the creditable town priest whose goal from the outset is to persuade the workers at the dock to rise up against the mafia and expose their evil ways: and lee J. Cobb, who plays mafia leader, Johnny friendly whose ruthless and barbaric personality is mirrored perfectly in Cobbs performance.
Bernstein's score also adds to the amazing power of the film, reflecting the fear, hatred, anger and confusion in every workers hearts and minds in the film. The famous scene where a truck threatens to run Malloy and Edie over in a remote alleyway is given a vital accompaniment of striking overscore to convey the sense of panic and terror that is so prominent in most scenes in the film.
Perhaps most astonishing of all, are the emotions the film can't help but send racing through your mind when viewing it. The savage and barbarous existence of the mafia is so infallably crafted that its very presence in the film fills the viewers heart with anxiety, dread and alarm that I am yet to see paralleled by another piece of filmwork. Also, the touching humbleness of Brando's reformed character has a unique ability of communicating to people from all walks of life, and it is this every-man quality that forms Malloy so perfectly.
8 Academy Awards very well earned and an essential and truly brilliant films in the life of cinema, which even houses one of the most famous and emotive screen lines ever "I coulda been a contender." This immortal line encapsulates the magnificance and power of one the greatest films in history.
Based on true events, the film paints a glum picture of working-class life, by shooting on location and in grimy black and white. Marlon Brando has gained phenomenal recognition for this role, and rightly so, offering one of the greatest performances in movie history - the torn and confused Terry Malloy - and yes, that famous scene - "I coulda been a contender." Rod Steiger is also brilliant as Malloy's brother Charley, who's deep underworld connections resulted in Malloy's present state. This movie deserves all the hype that surrounds it, as it is a genuinely classic, smart movie.
A brilliant morality tale, the "story of the redemption of Terry Malloy" is an astounding depiction of life and conscience, a man facing his personal demons and need to do the right thing. Despite the last two minutes of the movie (which went for a fairly misplaced up-beat feel), this is a must watch, must own, intelligent, thought-provoking classic.
It isn’t difficult to see that these two occurrences had great bearing on the film. At the beginning of the film we find that Terry Malloy (Brando) has resigned himself to the idea that he missed out on his dream of being a prize-fighter. So he lives his life running errands for Johnny Friendly, the corrupt boss of the Dockers union. Terry witnesses a murder by two of Johnny's thugs, and later meets the dead man's sister (Edie Doyle) who he ultimately falls in love with. She introduces him to Father Barry (Karl Malden), who tries to make him supply information for the courts in order to destroy the dock racketeers.
The fact Terry is put in a situation at the end where he has to ‘ name names’ parallels Elia Kazan’s own dilemma. In fact he later said that ‘On the Waterfront is my own story; every day I worked on that film I was telling the world where I stood and my critics to go and **** themselves.’
America’s growing concern over complacency is also clear because Terry departs in every possible way from the groomed, well spoken leading man of the previous decades. Terry Malloy is strong yet gentle, invincible yet vulnerable. He was in fact born out of 50’s anxiety, as was James Dean’s character in Rebel Without a Cause.
For all the these reasons, as well as Marlon Brando’s method acting (a form of acting Elia Kazan invented in A Streetcar Named Desire) On The Waterfront is a seminal work. It’s worthy of your admiration, of your praise, of your time and of your money.
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