On this reel of COL Movies, the boys start off heading back to 1954 and go looking for trouble… On the Waterfront. Do the boys feel that the movie and Brando’s performance live up to expectations? Next it’s a jump to a very dystopian future in “The Hunger Games” Does the screen adaptation of the first novel in this very popular trilogy stand up to the twilight and battle royal comparisons? Finally the boys take a look at the not so distant future release of “The Rift” is there any chance this low budget sci-fi horror flick will get our interest? all this plus news about a “Carrie” remake, Kevin Smith making a Clerks play, and Mr. Bay is still defending his Ninja Turtles.All this and more on the 98th reel of COL Movies “May the odds be ever in your favor”
- Chloe Moretz officially offered role in “Carrie” remake
- Kevin Smith wants to make Clerks 3, a play?
- Mr. Bay still defending the Ninja Turtles
The Past: On The Waterfront (1954)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% Fresh, 94% Audience
Director: Elia Kazan
Starring: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Eva Marie Saint
- The idea for the film began with an expose series written for The New York Sun by reporter Malcolm Johnson. The 24 articles won him a Pulitzer Prize and were reinforced by the 1948 murder of a New York dock hiring boss which woke America to the killings, graft and extortion that were endemic on the New York waterfront. Budd Schulberg was captivated by the subject matter, devoting years of his life to absorbing everything he could about the milieu. He became a regular fixture on the waterfront, hanging out in West Side Manhattan and Long Island bars, interviewing longshore-union leaders and getting to know the outspoken priests from St Xavier’s in Hell’s Kitchen.
- On the Waterfront is widely known to be an act of expiation on the part of Elia Kazan for naming names to HUAC during the Joseph McCarthy witch-hunts of the 1950s. What is less widely reported is that Kazan intended it as a direct attack at his former close friend Arthur Miller who had been openly critical of Kazan’s actions. Specifically, it was a direct response to Miller’s play The Crucible.
- Elia Kazan was loath to do business with Darryl F. Zanuck who had insisted on multiple cuts on Man on a Tightrope. Fortunately when Kazan and writer Budd Schulberg met with Zanuck, he started talking about widescreen Technicolor pictures. Zanuck eventually came clean and said he didn’t like a single thing about it, stating “Who’s going to care about a bunch of sweaty longshoremen?” This led Kazan and Schulberg to meet with independent producer Sam Spiegel who set up a deal with Columbia.
- Sam Spiegel sent the script to Marlon Brando and it came back with a refusal. Spiegel however had inserted small pieces of paper between the pages which were still in place when the script was returned to him, indicating that it hadn’t been read. While Spiegel continued to work on Brando, Frank Sinatra agreed to take on the role.
- The original title was simply “Waterfront” until Columbia learned that there was a television series by that name.
- The part of Terry Malloy was originally written for John Garfield who died before the film was made.
- According to Marlon Brando’s friend, Carlo Fiore, and his reminiscences in his book “Bud: The Brando I Knew”, it was Fiore who helped make some key decisions about the famous taxi cab scene. It wasn’t working to Brando’s satisfaction, and the actor was becoming increasingly frustrated at being unable to find the truth about the scene. Fiore told him that having a gun pulled on him by his brother would hit a bullshit note with Terry, and that shocked disbelief that his brother would do such a thing would be the most appropriate response. Brando then went into a stormy conference with Elia Kazan and Sam Spiegel before nailing the scene. Afterwards Kazan drew Fiore aside and said “Next time you get an idea about a scene, bring it to me, not Marlon, okay?” There is some doubt about the veracity of this story however as one look at the original script reveals that shocked surprise was Terry’s reaction all along.
- Sam Spiegel forgot to pay for rear-projection equipment, hence the reason why the cab where Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger play out the film’s most famous scene has blinds.
- As part of his contract, Marlon Brando only worked till 4 every day and then he would leave to go see his analyst. Brando’s mother had recently died and the conflicted young actor was in therapy to resolve his issues with his parents. Interestingly, for the film’s classic scene between Rod Steiger and Brando in the back of the cab, all of Steiger’s close-ups were filmed after Brando had left for the day, so his lines were read by one of the crew members. Steiger remained very bitter about that for many years and often mentioned it in interviews.
- From a budget of just under $1 million, the film went on to gross ten times its production costs in its initial release.
- Elia Kazan later remarked that the biggest problem he encountered with his actors was getting them on set on time (the weather was so severely cold, most of the actors didn’t like to hang around the set for long).
- Arthur Miller was approached by Elia Kazan to write the screenplay, and did so, but later pulled it when the FBI and studio bosses required him to make the gangsters Communists.
- Film debuts of Johnny Seven, Michael V. Gazzo, Pat Hingle, Martin Balsam, and Eva Marie Saint. The last gave a debut performance that won her the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.
- The only film that wasn’t a musical for which Leonard Bernstein wrote the incidental music.
- Frank Sinatra was originally considered for the role of Terry Malloy. Elia Kazan approached Sinatra about the part but producer Sam Spiegel favored Marlon Brando for his greater pulling power at the box office.
- According to Arthur Miller in his autobiography “Timebends”, he had written a screenplay dealing with corruption on the New York waterfront called “The Hook”. Elia Kazan had agreed to direct it, and in 1951 they went to see Harry Cohn at Columbia Pictures about making the picture. Cohn agreed in principle to make “The Hook”, but his minions were troubled by the portrayal of corrupt union officials. When Cohn asked that the antagonists of the script be changed to Communists, Miller refused. Cohn sent Miller a letter telling him it was interesting that he had resisted Columbia’s desire to make the movie pro-American. This film, which did include corrupt union officials, was based on articles by Malcolm Johnson. Kazan asked Miller to write the script, but he declined due to his disenchantment with Kazan’s friendly testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Budd Schulberg, a fellow HUAC informer, developed the story and wrote the script. The movie was produced by Sam Spiegel and distributed by Columbia, which had turned down “The Hook”.
- Marlon Brando did not initially want the role of Terry Malloy after producer Sam Spiegel offered it to him because he was disgusted with Elia Kazan’s friendly testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Spiegel, who had originally offered the role to Hoboken native Frank Sinatra, who had enthusiastically accepted, then tried to interest Montgomery Clift in the part. Spiegel wanted a bigger box-office attraction than Sinatra, who eventually filed a lawsuit against Spiegel for breach of contract when Brando did sign for the part.
- The taxicab scene between Terry and Charlie, one of the most famous scenes in the cinema, was not improvised, as Marlon Brando claimed in his autobiography. When Brando did initially improvise during the shooting of the scene, and Rod Steiger followed his lead, Elia Kazan yelled, “Stop the shit, Buddy!” to Brando, using his nickname. The two actors stuck to Budd Schulberg’s script after that.
- Marlon Brando objected to certain aspects in the famous taxicab scene. When filming began, Brando began to improvise some dialogue, surprising Rod Steiger. After a while, Elia Kazan told Brando to “knock it off”. The problem Brando had with the scene, as he explained to screenwriter Budd Schulberg and Kazan, was that he felt he (as Terry Malloy) would have difficulty trying to talk reasonably with his brother (played by Steiger) with a gun at his ribs. At this, Kazan agreed and told Brando to improvise. Kazan maintained that he did not direct Brando nor Steiger in this scene, he simply stood back and let the two actors direct themselves.
- Marlon Brando was paid $100,000, Elia Kazan received $100,000 plus 25% of the box office.
- The script was originally turned down by Darryl F. Zanuck at Twentieth Century Fox on the grounds that the gritty drama didn’t fit well with the policy at the time of creating lavish productions for the studio’s Cinemascope format.
- Marlon Brando’s Oscar for Best Actor was either lost or stolen. The award did show up later when Brando was contacted by a London auction house, intending to sell the item.
- Tony Galento, Tami Mauriello and Abe Simon, who play Johnny Friendly’s heavies, were all former professional boxers and opponents of Joe Louis for the heavyweight world title. Simon fought the Brown Bomber twice and was knocked out in Round 13 in the first fight and Round 6 in the second. Galento and Mauriello fought Louis once apiece and shared similar fates. Galento was kayoed in Round 4 and Mauriello in Round 1.
- The scene where Eva Marie Saint drops her glove and Marlon Brando picks it up and puts it on his hand was unplanned. Saint dropped her glove accidentally in rehearsal and Brando improvised the rest. Elia Kazan loved the new business and asked them to repeat it for the take.
- Grace Kelly turned down the role of Edie Doyle, deciding to make Rear Window instead.
- Many real longshoremen from Hoboken, New Jersey were used as extras.
- The real-life model for the film’s Johnny Friendly character (played by Lee J. Cobb) was International Longshoremen’s Association boss Michael Clemente (Johnny Friendly also has aspects of former Murder Inc. head Albert Anastasia, who was a top enforcer for the crime family that ran the Hoboken docks, the Luciano – later Genovese – family). In 1979 Clemente and other members of the Genovese family were indicted for corruption and racketeering on the New York waterfront.
- In 1955, screenwriter Budd Schulberg – who won an Oscar for his screenplay – published his novel “Waterfront”, which focuses on the causes of waterfront corruption and elucidates the involvement of the shipping companies, the mayor’s office, police, and the church.
- Shortly after the film’s debut in 1954, the AFL-CIO expelled the East Coast longshoremen’s union because it was still run by the mob.
- In 1955, Anthony “Tony Mike” de Vincenzo filed a lawsuit against Columbia Pictures because Terry Malloy (the character played by Marlon Brando) seemed to have been based on him, who was known as a whistle-blower against the corrupt International Longshoremen’s Association union. He won a small out-of-court settlement.
- When Elia Kazan and his original screenwriter Arthur Miller originally showed the script to Columbia Pictures boss Harry Cohn, Columbia executives objected to the script as being “atni-union”, as they feared union retaliation. Cohn recommended that union officials be changed to communists.
- The leading characters were based on real people: Terry Malloy was based on longshoreman and whistle-blower Anthony De Vincenzo; Father Barry was based on waterfront priest John M. Corridan; Johnny Friendly was based on mobster Albert Anastasia.
- Most of the solo shots of Rod Steiger during the famous taxicab scene were done after Marlon Brando had left for the day. Steiger was deeply hurt and annoyed at Brando’s apparent rudeness, but used these emotions to add to his performance.
- The shooting schedule occasionally had to be worked around Marlon Brando’s appointments with his psychiatrist in Manhattan.
- Was one of the first films named to the National Film Preservation Board’s National Film Registry in 1989.
- Elia Kazan, in his autobiography “A Life”, says that the choice of an actress to play Edie Doyle was narrowed down to Elizabeth Montgomery and Eva Marie Saint. Although Montgomery was fine in her screen test, there was something well-bred about her that Kazan thought would not be becoming for Edie, who was raised on the waterfront in Hoboken, NJ. He gave the part to Saint, and she went on to win cinematic immortality, and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, in the part.
- Although the part of Edie Doyle properly is a lead, producer Sam Spiegel listed Eva Marie Saint as a Supporting Actress in the hopes of getting her a nomination. The ploy worked, and she won the Oscar.
- The DVD version of the film has a Special Features section which shows some of the original promotional posters which state that the film is about “the redemption of Terry Malone”. Marlon Brando’s character’s name was changed to Terry Malloy by the final draft.
- The role of Terry’s brother Charley was originally offered to Lawrence Tierney. Tierney asked for too much money so the role went to Rod Steiger who was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.
- Selected as number 8 on AFI’s 100 YEARS…100 MOVIES
- The Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) line, “You don’t understand. I could’ve had class. I could’ve been a contender. I could’ve been somebody instead of a bum, which I am.” was selected at No. 3 on American Film Institute’s (AFI) 100 YEARS..100 QUOTES.
- In his biography of Elia Kazan, Richard Schickel describes how Kazan used a ploy to entice Marlon Brando to do the movie. He had Karl Malden direct a scene from the film with an up-and-coming fellow actor from the Actors Studio playing the Terry Malloy lead role. They figured the competitive Brando would not be eager to see such a major role handed to some new screen heartthrob. The ploy worked, especially since the competition had come in the form of a guy named Paul Newman.
- In early drafts of the Budd Schulberg script, the Terry Malloy character was not an ex-pug dockworker but a cynical investigative reporter, as well as an older, divorced man.
- Marlon Brando’s performance as Terry Malloy is ranked #2 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
- Roger Donoghue (born 11/20/30 Yonkers, NY – died 8/20/06 Greenport, NY) was the prizefighter who Budd Schulberg credited with partly inspiring the famous line of Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando), “I coulda been a contender”. He was Brando’s trainer for the film. He came up with the idea of putting little plastic tubes in Brando’s nose to represent scar tissue.
- The movie’s line “I coulda been a contender.” was voted as the #7 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” by Premiere in 2007.
- Debut of Fred Gwynne.
- Near the movie’s beginning, it’s amusing to see character actor James Westerfield, playing Big Mac, calling out names of men selected to work, and paying tribute to himself by yelling, “Westerfield.”
- In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #19 Greatest Movie of All Time.
- While preparing for the role, Marlon Brando became friendly with a young Al Lettieri, who was an acquaintance of real-life Mafiosos. Brando based much of his performance on Lettieri, who became his co-star in The Night of the Following Day and The Godfather.
- Thomas Handley, (who played Terry Molloy’s teenage friend Tommy, was hired by the production to feed the pigeons on set. His father, a longshoreman, had been blackballed for anti-union activities, and disappeared when Hanley was 4 months old. Elia Kazan and Budd Schulberg had him audition for the role, and coaxed an angry response out of him by calling his father a rat. He was paid $500 for his role, but never really acted again. He went on to become a longshoreman, and in 2002 was elected recording secretary of his union after yet another corrupt leadership was ousted.
- The film was shot by Elia Kazan at the aspect ratio of 1.37:1. It was originally offered to 20th Century Fox by Kazan, but was turned down by Darryl F. Zanuck because the film was shot in black & white and in the academy ratio of 1.37. Fox at the time was big into Cinemascope wide screen pictures. The film may have been exhibited in a few theaters at 1.66 or even 1.85, but was shot, and exhibited, in 1954, at 1.37:1.
- While filming the scene in the back of the cab Marlon Brando would leave every day for a psychiatrist appointment before Rod Steiger could film his lines with a double standing in for Brando. Steiger was very hurt by Brando’s apparent disregard to a fellow colleague and was not able to forgive him until many years later.
- Marlon Brando would improvise several different lines while filming the famous “I coulda been a contender” scene such as asking Rod Steiger “How’s mom?” or “Do you think the Yankees are going to win it this year?”. At one point director Elia Kazan said, “Buddy, cut the crap.”
- What is it about Brando and his acting (not particularly from this movie) that makes him considered one of if not “The best” actor of all time?
- What the hell are they talking about?
What We’ve Learned:
- Keep quiet, don’t ask no questions, don’t give no answers. You’ll live longer
- Stoolin is when you rat on your friends.
- Pigeons aren’t peaceful, but they are faithful
- If your gonna scrap your whole life, might as well get paid for it.
Jeff: This was a pretty good classic movie. It’s still 1950’s style acting but I enjoyed it. I say at least give it a chance.
Ray: Honestly, this was a struggle for me to get through. I found the scenes between Brando and Saint entertaining, and the last 20 or so minutes good, but I really had a hard time getting into this film. In my mind it would have been more interesting to follow Karl Malden’s character around instead of Brando.
Steve: I definitely struggled through this movie. It was interesting, especially because I tend to like “mafia movies”, but it was so stylized and just drug along.
The Present: The Hunger Games
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% Fresh; 87% Audience
Directors: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
- First part of a Trilogy series of young adult books by Suzanne Collins: ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Catching Fire’, ‘Mockingjay’.
- Chloë Grace Moretz, Mary Mouser, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Lyndsy Fonseca, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Roberts, Kaya Scodelario, Emily Browning and Shailene Woodley were considered to play Katniss, the lead role. Jennifer Lawrence won the role.
- Alex Pettyfer, Josh Hutcherson, Lucas Till, Nico Tortorella, Alexander Ludwig, Evan Peters and Hunter Parrish were considered to play Peeta Mellark. Hutcherson was later cast.
- Liam Hemsworth, Chris Massoglia, David Henrie, Robbie Amell and Drew Roy were considered to play Gale. Hemsworth was ultimately cast.
- Jennifer Lawrence was initially cast as the lead in Savages, but dropped out to do this film instead.
- Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence, both natural blondes, dyed their hair brown for their roles in the film while Josh Hutcherson, naturally dark-haired, dyed his hair blonde for his part.
- Composer Danny Elfman left the film due to a scheduling conflict and was replaced by James Newton Howard.
- Despite its high popularity with teenagers and adults, Lionsgate has admitted that the chances of Catching Fire and Mockingjay being converted into films all depend on the money that ‘The Hunger Games’ makes.
- On February 22nd, four weeks before The Hunger Games’ release, Lionsgate began selling advance tickets. Not only did the ticket sales break the one-day record originally held by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, but also accounted for 83% of the ticket sales of the day.
- The name of the main character, Katniss, is derived from the name of a group of edible plant species, genus “Sagittaria”, commonly known as “arrowhead”. This is a reference to the character’s archery skills.
- The fictional nation in the film is called Panem. This is derived from “Panem et Circenses,” or “Bread and Circuses,” which comes from the latter days of the Roman Empire, in which the government would keep the masses satisfied not by performing their public services well, but by providing violent and deadly entertainments for the people to watch, which is rather fitting for the subject matter of the film.
- The director has stated that his decision to go with shaky cam work, “had a lot to do with the urgency of what’s going on and to reflect protagonist Katniss Everdeen’s point of view.”
- The design for the Cornucopia was inspired by the work of architect Frank Gehry.
- This is not the first time actors Jennifer Lawrence and Paula Malcomson (Katniss and Mrs Everdeen) have worked together playing mother and daughter. The previous time was in the “Cold Case”(2003)_ episode, ‘A Dollar, A Dream’ in which Malcomson plays a homeless mother struggling to support her two children. Lawrence’s character similarly had a very strained relationship with her mother, a deceased father, and blamed her surviving parent for their hardships.
- The Racism following the movie release
- Twilight and Battle Royal comparisons
- Sequel? excitement?
- The end (last 5 mins or so)
What We Learned:
- Nothing gets someones attention like shooting at them with an arrow.
- Be careful what you put in your mouth it might kill you.
- Hope tis the only thing stronger than fear
- A spark is fine, as long as it’s contained
- Fake romance always brings in the ratings!
- Woody Harrelson is great at playing what we all think Woody Harrelson is like in real life.
- Effie Trinket = frigid bitch 🙂
- Look out for the genetically manipulated wasps!!
- There SHOULD be only one!! (Highlander and Thunderdome got it right!)
Jeff: I really liked this movie, despite my sinuses killing me and my need to pee, I was easily able to enjoy the entire thing, Worth seeing in the theatre, will now check out the book.
Ray: A decent film, although I found the book a lot more engaging, with more character development, and no shakeycam! It is entertaining and well done.
Steve: Totally enjoyed 2:15 of it. That last 7 minutes though…grr. Well shot and good story.
The Future: The Rift
Release: 7-7-2012 (limited)
Director: Robert Kouba
Starring: Eileen Grubba, James DiStefano, Ralph Guzzo
For decades they have been watching us. Studying us. What are they? Nobody knows. Nobody but Ivan Petrenko Karkarov. The Russian physicist started to study a phenomenon which was occurring for several decades. In 1982 he found an answer to the strange phenomenon but before he could tell anyone he mysteriously vanished. 30 years later, in a suburb of Los Angeles, Dean Hollister seems to be a normal guy until strange radar anomalies appear throughout the world. All of a sudden something starts to happen at the sky, black rifts appear. Something is moving behind those rifts. It’s watching us.
- Ok.. the budget on this thing is $20k …
- The difference in the two teaser trailers… wtf? (agreed…Steve)
- The Director
- Did you read the comments on youtube? LOL
Jeff: Meh, I think I’ll pass, nothing special to me.
Ray: I guess im intrigued mainly because I want to see what a 20 year old can do with 20 grand 😀
Steve: OK…I need to see more than the teasers because I’m just way too confused. I think I have an idea of what’s going on. Looks kind of like a “made for SyFy” original though.