On Sunday, as part of a series on Marlon Brando running through the end of October, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive will transport moviegoers to the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey, as Elia Kazan’s 1954 On the Waterfront screens at 7 p.m. In this melancholy masterpiece, Brando delivers one of the most acclaimed performances in Hollywood history, as a longshoreman and ex-prizefighter struggling over whether to remain loyal to his corrupt union. Boasting an extraordinary cast also including Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Eva Marie Saint, and buoyed by Budd Schulberg’s gritty dialogue and Boris Kaufman’s forlorn location photography, On the Waterfront went on to win a whopping eight Oscars, and its influence can be felt in the work of such cineaste admirers as Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee. Several decades later, “it’s still possible to be captivated by the tough-minded verisimilitude of Kazan’s approach,” writes filmmaker Michael Almereyda in his liner essay for our release of the film, a classic that simultaneously “earns its status . . . by breaking free of strict realism to tell a story that is, finally and enduringly, a poetic fable.”
Two Stark Visions of the American Underbelly Hit the Big Screen
A new restoration of the groundbreaking vérité documentary Streetwise joins its companion piece, Tiny: the Life of Eric Blackwell, at New York’s Metrograph theater this weekend.