[As Brando] I always wanted to be a film professor at a college somewhe′. “But my old man raised us 3 boys on a stinkin’ laborer′s wages. When I was 16, I hadda sneak into the Watertown Drive-In
just to be able to watch the classic movies de-ya. But I couldn′t get a job in dat place for nuthin′.” So den one day I get off-uhd a job at Da Insurance Company. My Mom, she says [Eva Marie Saint] ‘Listen to me, Paulie. Take the job. No questions. Just take it.’ Worked there for 28 yee-ahs! “′N ya know what I became: A cheap, lousy, dirty, stinkin′ mug! FFFTTT! Do it to him before he does it to you: That was my philosophy o′ life when I was woi-kin dere. It was like a one-way ticket to Palooka-ville! It was da love of a lousy buck. I made it more impaw-tint den da love o′ man. Conscience: That stuff can drive ya nuts! I shoulda held out for a little bit. I shoulda kept tryin′ to get work at dem drive-in dives & went to film school instead sellin′ out for the short-end money. Youse guys don′t understand. I coulda had a class. I coulda been a professor. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I was. So then about 5 years ago, they was gonna give me my walkin′ pap-uhs. So I says to myself ‘You′re getting on. You′re over 50. You know, it′s time to think about retirin′ & gettin′ another racket. Ever′body′s gotta racket.’ So now I′m retired & this racket is like my choich”, where I get to preach ′bout these classic pict-chas to you guys. Here & at UConn Wadda-berry′s OLLI Program.
[Normal] And today, we have Elia Kazan’s 1954 masterpiece, On the Waterfront, one of the best films of the decade. Retired boxer Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) is a NYC longshoreman. His brother Charley (Rod Steiger) is the Longshoreman’s Local 374 lawyer. Its mobster leader, Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb), completely controls the Waterfront – who works…when, where, on what, for how long…EVERYTHING! Those who refuse to be “D&D (deaf & dumb”)…starve. Or worse, like Edie’s (Eva Marie Saint) brother Joey. He even bullies Father Barry (Karl Malden) for rallying the workers against him. John Heldabrand’s small, important role as a one-armed bum is his 1st of 2 films. His character’s name is never mentioned & the credits don’t list character names. The Grateful Dead immortalized him in their ballad Wharf Rat, which you just can hear here ===>
<=== & where we learn his “name is August West”.
The symbolism in the film is overwhelming: There are pigeons in coops & unseen hawks; a one-armed bum & a boxer who barely uses his; a murdered man hoisted up towards the sky; fog to disguise & from which to emerge; wrought iron fences like prison bars; rooftops of solace that are settings for evil. On the Waterfront won 8 Oscars at the 27th Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress (Saint) and Budd Schulberg’s Story & Screenplay. Released 2 years after Kazan’s testimony to Sen. Joe McCarthy’s puppet House Un-American Activities Committee testimony, On the Waterfront is his atonement for confirming to it 8 members of his Method Acting teacher Lee Strasberg’s Group Theatre Company as Communist sympathizers; including Strasberg’s wife Paula who was then blacklisted (denied work). Lee (best known as Hyman Roth in The Godfather Part II) wasnt! Some others on the Hollywood Blacklist: Edward G. Robinson; Judy Holliday; Gypsy Rose Lee; Eddie Albert; Burgess Meredith; there’s Arthur Miller, who wrote On the Waterfront’s 1st screenplay but pulled it when the FBI & studio execs pressured him to make Friendly a Communist; John Garfield, for whom the role of Terry was written before he died at just 39; Leonard Bernstein, who wrote the score; and Lee J. Cobb. Brando wasn’t blacklisted, but he was Strasberg’s prized protégé. Atonement! Now don’t be a Commie!: Watch the trailer below & then add the DVD of the incomparable Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront to your Netflix queue. 4 Stars!