20 February 2011

Movies: On the Waterfront

On the Waterfront http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047296/
I was hesitant to watch this flick. TiVo grabbed it for me a few times over the past year and I just deleted it each time 'cause, well, a flick about dock workers and their corrupt union boss just didn't seem interesting to me. But I keep finding out that good old movies are Good old movies for a reason, so I finally gave it a watch this last time TiVo grabbed it. Glad I did. Wow. Story, cast, acting, sets, even the technical aspects of the movie -- all superb. 
Has a great cast of actors that were pretty darn young at the time. It is interesting to watch these folks in these old movies and see why they were big deals back then. Especially when the first time I saw most of them they were old codgers making guest appearances on crappy TV shows while I was growing up and I just couldn't grasp what the big deal was. 
Seeing why these old flicks still work so well in today's world makes watching today's movies even better, or worse, depending on the movie. 
Another great thing about old movies -- there are just certain pieces of them that keep cropping up repeatedly in newer movies. References, quotes, scene blocking, sets. Seeing the original scene in context makes understanding the later homages and references that much better. This movie's moment that's referenced over and over in later works is, of course, the taxi scene with Brando's "I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum" line.
Just as repeated modern references to "he's got a purdy mouth" and "squeal like a piggy" really make no sense if you haven't seen "Deliverance".

Sometimes ya just gotta see the old to better appreciate the new.

(originally posted 4 March 2010)

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