On the Waterfront
I. Background/ History:
On the Waterfront is a classic, award-winning, controversial film directed by Elia Kazan. This movie is part drama and part gangster film. The film is full of the problems of trade unions, corruption, and racketeering. It is set on New York's waterfront docks, where the workers try to keep their low wage jobs, while being bossed around by the mob. To make matters worse, the mob is in charge of the labor unions. The movie has a very realistic feel, due to where they shot the film. It was shot in Hoboken, New Jersey, at the actual loading docks. They filmed inside the ships, in the bars, and on the rooftops of actual buildings. Abe Simon as Barney, Tony Galento as Truck, and Tami Mauriello as Tullio were real-life, professional ex-heavyweight boxers, and played as the bodyguards to the mob leaders. The movie did not bring in as much money as hoped, and it received harse reviews. What it did was deliver a much needed message about the society on the waterfront. The story was based on a New York Sun newspaper reporter Malcolm Johnson's series of 24 articles called Crime on the Waterfront. The series was written about real events, and labor racketeering in New York's dockyards. It also won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. II. Professional Critique
Roger Ebert’s critique was positive and he added some background information that was helpful to viewers. In the film, when a union boss shouts, ``You ratted on us, Terry,'' the Brando character shouts back: ``I'm standing over here now. I was rattin' on myself all those years. I didn't even know it.'' This part in the film was about Kazan’s view on communism, which he had liked. During the time the film was being made he had begun to oppose communism and this was his stab at it. Brando's line was repeated in Kazan’s autobiography A Life, which was made in 1988. Ebert writes, “He writes of his feelings after the film won eight Oscars, including best...
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