Some films require more attention than just the standard “review” format to cover properly. On the Waterfront has been “reviewed” thousands of times from amateurs and professionals alike. It is the caliber of film that, in my opinion, requires a little more attention than just a few scribblings and moving on to the next one. There are many variables in play, and the film reflects film history, and would change the nature of film (especially acting!) for years to come. For that reason, I am going to expand upon my usual format to cover this tentpole film. I’m going to spend the entire week dedicating myself to the film and discussing various elements.
What prompted this was another Blogathon. I caught wind of Classic Film and TV Café’s “My Favorite Classic Movie Blogathon” and had to make a quick decision. I wanted something American, so I scanned my shelves for an unwatched master. My eyes settled in this lovely turquoise and white digipack for On the Waterfront. I had seen the movie a couple of times and considered it among my favorites of all time, even though it ranked behind Sansho the Bailiff in my 1954 list. Picking a favorite film would be like a father of ten picking a favorite child. I just cannot do it, but in terms of importance and the influence of a film on my own tastes, On the Waterfront qualifies.
Excuse the increased activity, but this week there will be a few posts about the film. The first will be within the next day or two and will discuss the history behind the film, specifically the HUAC and how Elia Kazan named names. This film was in a lot of ways a justification of his actions. The next post will be about the acting styles. This was arguably one of the greatest ensembles of method actors ever assembled for a film. It cemented Brando as a star and changed acting permanently. On Saturday, I will post the reason I consider this among my favorite films. Who knows? By the end of the week, I may be willing to boldly proclaim it AS my favorite film. We’ll see how it holds up. Either way, it certainly belongs in the conversation and I will discuss why. Finally I will wrap up the postings, talk about the Criterion supplements (of which there are many) and then I can move onto the next one.
I hope you’ll enjoy taking this journey with me. If you haven’t seen it, I implore you to rush out and rent it, or better yet buy the Criterion. It is a must have for any serious cinephile.