Thursday, August 8, 2013

On the Waterfront

1954, 103m, Elia Kazan(dir), Marlon Brando
Revisiting after many years this riveting drama of moral heroism, I observed the amazing fluidity of Brando's expressions and masterly projection of the persona of a dim witted ex boxer who resurrects as a human being when a storm of life breaks out. His face is a rippling canvas on which the drama is written. The eyes and brows contort crookedly in anguish or soften in gentleness, compassion, hurt. One wonders how it comes about. It is not acting, but immersion. The look in his eyes as he pushes away the gun his brother points at him is an unforgettable moment. To quote the director: “ ... what was extraordinary about his performance, I feel, is the contrast of the tough-guy front and the extreme delicacy and gentle cast of his behavior. What other actor, when his brother draws a pistol to force him to do something shameful, would put his hand on the gun and push it away with the gentleness of a caress? Who else could read `Oh, Charley!' in a tone of reproach that is so loving and so melancholy and suggests the terrific depth of pain?”

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