Cinematic Techniques in on the Waterfront

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TOPIC: ‘Kazan uses a range of cinematic techniques to reveal the emotional and moral struggle of Terry Malloy’

‘On the Waterfront’ is an, award winning film, directed by Elia Kazan, whose audience is faced with Terry’s moral dilemma and emotional battle, that forces them to think about their own beliefs about what loyalty, love and friendship mean. The films protagonist Terry Malloy, portrays the tough-guy attitude, in order to try protect himself to from the degradation that surrounds him. Trapped by poverty and lack of education he experiences a moral and emotional struggle throughout the film. Kazan uses a range of cinematic techniques including setting, costuming, symbolism and so to convey Terry’s battle. Kazan also focuses on the relationships and friendships that build throughout the film.

Terry’s emotional struggle shows he is stuck between good and evil. He had suffered from low self-esteem, since he was compelled to lose the prize-winning fight by the mob. He also repeatedly called himself a "bum” putting himself down. After dealing with the death of his brother, Terry decided to stand up for what he knew was right. By doing this, he represented the other dockworkers, and above all, for the people he cared about the most; and for this, he gained the respect and loyalty that he deserved. His emotional and moral struggle shows how he faced a tough decision, about whether he should confess for taking the life of an innocent man that he, his brother, and his closest friends had been involved in. Despite his stubbornness to change and his ignorance to others, Terry proved himself by doing what he knew was right to be a true hero.

Edie Doyle plays an integral role in the transformation of Terry Malloy. In the male dominant world they lived and worked in, no other woman’s care, kindness or nurturing was present. She had a positive impact on Terry, and was linked directly to his changes throughout the film. Edie raises Terry’s expectations, persuading...
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