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On the Waterfront - seeing it in a startling new way!


filmlover
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I recorded On the Waterfront to my DVR a couple days ago. Tonight I was watching it and, though I have seen it many times before, it hit me on a brand-new level. No, that doesn't sum it up accurately. I sat there in total amazement, wondering how I never ever realized it before, but it is without a doubt one of the most excitingly acted films ever made!

 

Every single performance in this film totally thrilled me, more than I ever felt before!!! How could it happen this way when I had seen it so many times before? What did I see in it this time? Brando gave one of the greatest performances I have ever seen on film, so delicately nuanced, so much hurt and pain, so torn by guilt, and wanting so much better from his life. And it isn't just Brando's performance in the film that is so dynamic, it is every single person, even down to the smaller roles. Of course, the driving score by Leonard Bernstein adds to the thrill of each moment in the film.

 

The only thing I had trouble with is the ending of the film. It just doesn't ring true from the moment he is left alive after the beating. Certainly, I do believe the original ending had him die. I can understand how that would be a downer to the audience and it would also show that the bad guys win, the ending as it is now -- and always will be -- just seems to mess up a wonderful, brilliant movie up to that point. If the film had let him die, then maybe would not have worked, either. Maybe it is just a film that has third act trouble, but still what a great film it was up until that moment.

 

I can't tell you how wonderful it feels thata movie I have seen so many times in the past can affect me in a totally brand-new way. It makes me smile to think how many more films that I have seen over and over that I just might experience as if it were the first time and get totally blown away by it...again.

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Yes, and the high def was the only thing that was high, in case you want to know. But I have also seen it a few years ago inside a movie theater and that was a much bigger screen...so I don't think the image was the new factor.

 

I've benefited recently from seeing Maltese Falcon and Shadow of a Doubt at the Academy recently and each time I feel like I am seeing the film for the first time (or at least the way it was meant to be seen).

 

Have you never had that exciting experience of seeing a film again but it was like the first time you have ever seen it?

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> {quote:title=filmlover wrote:}{quote}

> Have you never had that exciting experience of seeing a film again but it was like the first time you have ever seen it?

 

I often have, perhaps not exactly like the first time, but still seeing it anew, with fresh realizations on my part, details previously unnoticed.

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filmlover - this is a movie that I grew up with - it seemed to be a staple on tv and we watched it every time it was on. So, it is a movie that I am very attached to. I came home the other night and it was on and, of course, I just started watching it again. This time, the music really stood out for me.

I don't have anything but a basic 19" screen, but as I stated on another thread, it has been so long since I have seen anything on a Big Screen - I need to experience it. I'm sure I would be blown away.

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Filmlover, you make me want to see ON THE WATERFRONT all over again. Everyone in the film is cast perfectly, and Kazan knew how to make his actors probe deeply for the emotional truth. These were the days when Marlon Brando acted WITH other actors. By THE GODFATHER and BURN! he's doing more soliloquies. He's often not even in the shot with another actor.

 

I've recently had similar experiences with THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, which was overwhelming on the big screen at the festival, and with DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES, seen piecemeal over several nights on VHS tape from its recent showing on TCM. The directing in both films is amazing.

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I?ve felt over the years that ?On the Waterfront? actually has a strikingly more affective impact, when watched on a big movie screen. Although some may feel because the film is in standard Black & White and lacking a certain amount of what might be considered cinematic techniques, its dramatic flow and atmosphere is unmistakable. On a small television screen, the film at times appears routine or just another fine acted film, with a documentary sort of feel to it. But, when viewed in a large theater, everything becomes larger than life and the experience is overwhelming. It might be that it?s all a mind play of the large screen creating something dynamic beyond simple thinking, but there?s a lot to be said for how some films will give you a very different experience in a theater than even when watching it on the largest home projector in somebody?s media room.

 

In fact, any old Black & White movie seen in a reasonably good movie house can at times create a new experience. There?s also the pleasure of seeing a film with an audience that adds more to the allure and excitement. It becomes something of an important event and there?s even a tendency to feel passionate about being in the movie theater. Let?s face it, when in a good movie theater, there?s a real escape from the reality outside of the theater. This I think is the real under core to how one reaches a feeling that a film viewed on the large screen is taking us away into a magical world, regardless of all the new technologies now available to us. ?On The Waterfront? definitely is a hell raising, compassionate, mind-boggling, electrifying movie experience when viewed in a theater. It?s only then, I see things differently that the small screen can never offer me or take me away from where I?m sitting.

 

Of course, I don?t want to knock TCM and what they have to offer on the small or big home media screen. But, most fans will agree, there?s no place like a movie theater when watching a movie. It?s the real thing!

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"...I can't tell you how wonderful it feels thata movie I have seen so many times in the past can affect me in a totally brand-new way. It makes me smile to think how many more films that I have seen over and over that I just might experience as if it were the first time and get totally blown away by it...again."

 

I think it is great to feel this way filmlover. I believe movies are magic. Classics like "On The Waterfront", frivolous ones like a "Bye Bye Birdie", horridly wonderful ones like "Plan 9 From

Outer Space" all can elicit a sense of wonderment on some level with repeated viewing.

 

Movies are funny. Take seeing something for the first time (in its entirety-from beginning to end). Now I just saw "Metropolis" having never seen it in its entirety before, much less with the new foo-tage. It blew my mind...I was stunned beyond belief. I'm sure with repeated viewings I'll discover more. A few months ago I saw "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (for the first time all the way through). Its layered story was unexpectedly incredibly emotional for me. (So THIS is "Liberty Valance"?) I don't know if I can even put myself through that again. (Myth vs. truth). Actors who I've never paid attention to before, now have my undying loyalty. What happened? Did he part

his hair differently? Is it a line reading? A gown instead of slacks? Is it the camaraderie in the

dark with strangers around us? Why do I love Samuel S. Hinds so. I can't explain it.

 

Imagine that. A piece of celluloid runs through a projector...still photographs twenty-four times a second bombard our retina...stories that stir your soul...actors who melt your heart...music that turns you to mush...movies made forty, fifty, eighty...ninety years ago even resonate as though they're made today. And then the kicker, if we're lucky, is to see that film over and over again,

and find something new within it, feel thrilled by it. (That just happened to me with "ALL ABOUT EVE" with TCM's screening at the Ziegfeld. I know those lines...why are they really sounding different now??)

 

And so you --speak-- write of "On The Waterfront." A different kettle of fish...seeing a movie after repeated viewings and experiencing it as though you've never seen it before. How does it do it? Does it sneak up on us? Were we not paying attention? Did we gain maturity? I believe movies

are magic. It's happened to me. I can't explain it; don't want to.

 

But I'm happy when I read the magic has genuinely touched another.

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Big or little screen-for me it doesn't matter. For me, this is still the greatest movie ever made. The setting is so realistic, the actors look like working class dockworkers, the acting brilliant, and the story still rings true. I know all about the political baggage it has but I'm talking about the finished product on the screen. Father Barry's monologues over Dugan's body have stayed with me ever since I first heard them and I've drawn from them whenever I've felt the need to speak my mind in a controversial situation. I think the ending was fine when Friendly was left behind with nothing to look forward to but the "hot seat" while Terry leads the men back to work. I doubt even Friendly's men could have beat the rap for killing terry in front of all those workers.

 

This is one movie I have on CD so I can watch whenever I need to muster courage. Only A Man for All Seasons and Becket come close.

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I think I understand it, filmlover. I will find anything I previously enjoyed starting to have a sameness with me. Then I will remember two things-- what you love best you will focus on, and there are always other details in something you haven't noticed,

 

It is like loving a person. You notice the attributes that attracted you the first place, then as you get to know their lives; you see the person they are and how they handle their situation, relate to other people, and fit in their world.

 

Seeing On the Waterfront in HD may have helped; you were noticing details in the picture you haven't noticed before. For me, it is usually something visual too. My two recent Casablanca copies on DVD have given me a new appreciation for the camera work.

 

The eye takes in far more than the brain can process. You will notice details in HD that will draw you to the nuance of a scene.. Brando does plenty of small, meaningful gestures; and it's a shame in a way for we are so focused on the big ones. There is really so much going on in a movie it can be challenge to grasp it all at the first sitting!

 

What stands out? Actor interplay? Camera angles, POV? Dialog to reveal character? General story arc?

 

What made you fall in love all over again?

 

Familiarity doesn't always breed contempt; sometimes it will deepen the love.

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This is one of the great movies. Beautifully written, it works on more levels than I can count. I feel the (slightly) upbeat ending is necessary. Unlike HUD, THE HUSTLER and other dark dramas, this is the story of people finding the courage to rise above the ugliness. Had Terry Malloy died trying, Johnny Friendly and the things he stood for would have gone on unopposed. What would have been the point?

 

Of all the gritty, urban morality tales, this is the big winner. Most have a slow, laboring moment here and there. An overt way of delivering the message. Not this treasure. Every scene is precisely what it needs to be. No more, no less. My top ten list changes weekly. But I always find room Mr. Kazan's best film.

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> {quote:title=MovieProfessor wrote:}{quote}

> Of course, I dont want to knock TCM and what they have to offer on the small or big home media screen. But, most fans will agree, theres no place like a movie theater when watching a movie. Its the real thing!

 

I'm certainly a big screen guy. In fact, I usually sit in the center of the front row, and enjoy having to turn my head a bit to catch all the action. But, having had a 56" DLP screen for four years now, I'll have to say that a good home theater screen is as least as much better than the old 27" CRT, as a real theater is better than a home theater. I really did feel like I was seeing things anew on the 56" screen.

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