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On the Waterfront Final Project

A review and analysis of the film "On the Waterfront".
by

Kevin McNamee

on 31 May 2011

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Transcript of On the Waterfront Final Project

On the Watefront By Kevin McNamee, Savannah Pintor and Elliott Yamane Review: "On the Waterfront" is, overall, a top of the line film
entirely deserving of it's status as a "classic" Hollywood film. The acting is extremely well done by all main characters:

Brando captures Malloys many character aspects from his gritty background to his sensitivity and desire for justice. Eva Marie Saint builds in Edie, a strong character full of compassion and a strong female presence in an amlost entirely male cast. Karl Malden's performance as Father Barry is powerful
and memorable, and like Brando, Malden takes on a
complex character, with both an urban grittiness and
a strong desire for good to win out. Johnny Friendly, played by Lee J. Cobb, is an excellent film villian who unlike the villians of most modern Hollywood films, is made memorable by great acting not over the top costumes or a clichéd accent. The film also has a great soundtrack which enhances the various tones of the film. Kazan is provides genius direction using many subtleties in nearly every shot to build a complex and moving story. Film Techniques Identified Johnny Friendly seems compelling throughout the movie. He looks powerful because of his position on the set and the tilt of the camera. However in the final scene he seems isolated and puny when the workers all trek past him. With the help of the high-angle shot, we don't really believe him when he shouts “I'LL BE BACK!” The “love of a lousy buck” speech by Father Barry Close up eye level characters see eye to eye w/Father Barry
Second level --> skeptics
Top level: considered a 'step' above skeptical.(throws beer can at head)
Low angle shot (2nd and 3rd levels of ship)
high-angle shot (Barry)
Father Barry centered and lit up indicates his influence and story teller mode Non-synchronous sounds

Definition: any noise whose origin you cannot see
Identified in the film: shown in clip Edie is truth, innocence and integrity.
Notice she appears lit up in every scene and there’s at least one close up
Close ups: when she speaks, the other person in the scene is in a shadow, increasing focus, importance and contrast. Subtle and clever film technique:
Fog! It manifests the uncertainty Edie has for Terry so far. It represents her confusion.
Is he a a bum? She is trying to figure that out during this scene. Toward the end of the scene it becomes less foggy and that's meant to show he’s getting “in the clear”, gaining her trust and likeness
We are to think of the end of that scene as a breath of fresh air. “On The Waterfront” is very similar to Hamlet plot wise other than the ending where it is more of an ‘outside of the box’ interpretation so to speak. The antagonist in the movie (Terry) is very much like Hamlet in the sense that he knows about the murder of someone but is indecisive when it comes to taking action on it. We also see that in both accounts (of Hamlet and Terry), due to their inability to decide on what to do, they both suffer; like when hamlet begins to go “insane” and beats himself up over whether or not he should exact revenge on his father. It can be compared to Terry deciding whether or not to spill the beans about Friendly. You also see the theme of revenge vs. justice in the film just like you do in Hamlet. When Terry tries to get revenge on Friendly for the murder of his brother, the priest finds him in the bar with a gun. The priest then punches him and tells him how if he were to kill Friendly, it would achieve nothing, and that it would just be mob violence. This is the same conflict between revenge and justice that we see in Hamlet. Now in the ending of the movie, all the longshoremen revere Terry as their new leader. This is where it becomes an outside the box comparison because unlike Hamlet, everyone didn’t die. However the same ending effect was still achieved. In the ending of Hamlet, he got recognition for what he had done and was to be exalted for his actions. And just how the people looked up to Hamlet, the longshoremen looked up to Terry after he fought with Friendly.
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