Monday, October 11, 2010

Movies You May Have Missed Monday

Today I highlight one of my favorite movies ever. And I’m not alone in my opinion. The “experts,” a.k.a. American Film Institute, lists it at number EIGHT on their list of greatest movies of all time. The Academy gave it EIGHT Oscars (although it should have been at least NINE, if you ask me).

I’m sure you’ve heard of it.

You probably even know some of the famous quotes from it. (I could have been a contend-ah!)

But… have you seen it??

Know what I’m talking about?

On the Waterfront, Elia Kazan’s 1954 drama about a mob-run dock workers’ union and starring the ah-mazing Marlon Brando, the equally ah-mazing Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb and Rod Steiger.

While the story fueling this movie piques and involves the hearts and minds of its audience, the performances make it truly great.

Eva Marie Saint’s “Edi” glows with innocence and vulnerability, yet her determined strength grounded in a distinct creed of right and wrong makes her a credible catalyst in the story. Her youthful zeal combines with simplicity to convince and capture us. For her performance, Eva received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Marlon Brando’s “Terry” comes across as both passionate and ignorant, an inhibited down-and-outer desperately avoiding getting involved. Yet, he is involved, and the crux of the matter rests with him. His inner turmoil churns dangerously under a lid like a pressure cooker, making the film’s turning point, climax and resolution exciting and believable and powerful. For his performance, Marlon received a Best Actor Oscar.

But I’m most impressed with Mr. Malden here as “Father Berry”. (That’s saying something seeing how I am quite the Brando fan!) Malden embodies the socially conscious, fearless, outspoken, yet compassionate and genuine priest working against the mob and the oppression weighing heavy over his parishioners with such zest and umph, I almost feel like I’ve been to church listening to and watching him. And I don’t mean just church. I mean CHURCH. His no-nonsense approach packs a punch, tossing aside stifling religiosity to get to the heart of dirty, rotten situations needing a ray of redemption. For his performance, Karl did not receive an Oscar, which is the cryin’ shame of this cinematic biography.

I love how stark this movie is. I love how fearless and honest and gritty it is. I love that it doesn’t mince words or play the political correctness game. I love that it removes traditional filters to be, in a word, real.

If you’ve never taken the time, I highly encourage you to make a point of seeing On the Waterfront, one of the best movies of all time.

If you want a little taste, watch the following clip – an impressive monologue indeed.


Thanks for starting your week out with me on Dry Ground! Be blessed, and remember to cherish each other!

(photo by


Jonathan said...

I am ashamed to say, I have never seen this one. I will be seeing this in the next 2 weeks.

The Father Berry character has me intrigued.

Btw, I Love this feature of your blog. With as much movie knowledge as you have, as well as your writing skills, I could easily see that leveraging into a syndicated column or blog link on a major news outlet website.

lynnrush said...

Totally missed this one. Great description, though. Love how you describe movies you've seen.

I agree with Jonathan about the syndication, girl! You should go for it!

KM Wilsher said...

Oh, count my for for syndication!

Lori, between your description and that moving clip I'm ready to watch it this weekend :)

I'd never heard of this one.

Sign me up for this series
I will be excited to see your recommendations!!!