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About Brian9

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  1. Growing up in an NY Irish neighborhood (in the BX) we all loved this film too. Years later my late wife used to always suggest renting it as she had not seen it. I always resisted, telling her it was too sad. Finally I gave in and agreed that we should rent the VHS...I was right!!! She cried her eyes out. You see, her father was a dreamer who died an alcohol related death as well...he also used to sing tenor style. He was the same kind of character; never had an ill word for anyone and was full of love and affection for his studious daughter. A TREE GROWS is a wonderful movie but hit her a little "too close to home."
  2. That's what makes horse racing CineSage. The narrow chromatic range of the themes and liberal use of percussion suits and augments the drama to me.
  3. "I coulda been a contender" Recently Turner Classic Movies aired a month of Oscars; films notable for their recognition by the Academy in one category or another. The 1953 film On the Waterfront was shown: once and at 6AM on a Saturday morning. Not that I am complaining. I have owned the DVD for years and have gotten my money's worth! I know that Elia Kazan, the director, is not one of Hollywood's favorite sons. He, after all, "named names" to the House Committee for Un-American activities. I know the film is dated and gritty in its on location (in Hoboken) black and whiteness; that at times it's downright corny. I also know people who have never seen this film, yet they can quote it using the above line from the cab scene. That's how much of an icon it is. On the DVD there are special features that include remarks that you can listen to during the film (commentary) by such luminaries as James Lipton. The other names escape me. They, like the people that can quote; "I coulda been a contender", think that the cab scene is the whole movie. You would think that Eva Marie Saint wasn't even nominated much less that she won an Oscar in her first film role. The hero worship that these nincompoops shower on Marlon Brando is nauseating. They grudgingly honor Rod Steiger too who also was in THE scene, though you get the feeling his performance must have been enhanced by the warm glow of Brando's shining star. Do not get me wrong. I think if Brando had never made another movie he'd still be one of the greats for this one film. It's just the experts drooling in adoration that slays me. Not only is Eva barely mentioned in the commentary, it takes these geniuses all the way to the final scene before they mention, as an aside, the film score. That score was nominated by the Academy but didn't win. My opinion is that it is one of the greatest in all cinematic history. Its "suite" is regularly performed by orchestras around the world. How many other film scores are honored in this manner? It was written by an artist who in some circles is recognized as one of the pre-eminent composers of the Twentieth Century: Leonard Bernstein. Another thing missed by these "experts" is the true theme of the film. It is only a drama about corruption on the docks on the surface. It is a theme that is not often presented but when it is, it is immensely popular with movie-goers. In the Nineties a smallish film was released called; As Good As It Gets. Everyone was surprised how well it did at the box office. They don't understand what people like. How can I compare this comic dauble to the great Crime drama in question? Easily. Both films are about the redemptive power of love. When Jack Nicholson's character says to Helen Hunt's; "You make me want to be a better man" it turned that film into a compelling drama with humor, not just a vehicle for quirky characters. Marlon Brando's character Terry Malloy, of course, has much harder choices to make but his love for Edie Doyle (Eva) compels him to risk his life to do the right thing and his action become infectious. Charlie the Gent (Steiger) sacrifices his life for the love of his younger brother. The burning love between a young man and woman and the filial love of brothers is power enough to bring the mob to its knees. Why don't film makers make more use of stories like these? The old fashioned Random Harvest type romances may be pass? in our time where 12 year olds are tongue kissing and using terms like "suck" and "****" on the Disney Channel; when to be a really successful recording star you must prance half naked around the stage periodically stroking your genitals, but the fact that As Good As It Gets touched a chord in people gives me renewed hope that perhaps all innocence is not yet lost. The theme that love makes us better people, if used more, could relieve us a bit from the garbage heap of pop culture. Oh yes, On the Waterfront is my all time favorite film drama...did I mention that? Brian Kennedy Cranford
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