The Cinephile Fix

 

Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront” has been discussed endlessly by film fans, critics and film historians. It’s easy to see why, for “On the Waterfront” can be studied from various perspectives. On the one hand the film reflects a time in history when some Americans named names before the House of Un-American Activities Committee much like Terry Malloy does in court. It has also been argued to be Kazan’s answer to Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible” or his redemption and justification for falling victim of Joseph McCarthy’s witch-hunt of the 1950’s.

Others simply revisit the film to study its significance in film history and the impact of Brando’s method acting. Pauline Kael recognized strong Christian symbolism in the plot and looked at the film from a religious point of view. Among other things a lawsuit filed against Columbia pictures in 1955 revealed that the film was also a true…

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