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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 5. 1964.

Film Flexes Muscles

Film Flexes Muscles

Marlon Brando in "The Wild One".

Marlon Brando in "The Wild One".

A highspot in town on Sunday night was the V.U.W. Film Society showing of Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront."

Shown to a packed Little Theatre, this feature and several good supports were received very favourably. Announcements of further Film Society screenings were applauded.

As the sordid story of trade union corruption on an American waterfront unfolded, Penelope Houston's criticism of Kazan's films in which Marlon Brando starred, gained point.

From the first plug made in the film, as a sub-title, extolling the virtues of the small man standing up for his rights against a more powerful dictator ("self-appointed tyrants can be defeated by right-thinking people in a vital democracy") it is clear that this film is not going to tax interpreters of the esoteric.

The development of the film is simple, the characters hardly outstanding and the ending predictable.

Brando, as the former racketeer turned "canary," or informer, receives his "deserts" when he is beaten up by union gangsters under the noses of unionists who excuse themselves from interference by the words "He is one of them."

The new purged Brando can then lead the men to work in defiance of the gangster unionists.

As Miss Houston says, Elia Kazan "usually emerges with some clearly lighted Freudian truth; and on the way he finds an immense amount that is vigorous and stimulating for his actors to do. Marlon Brando has never looked a more exciting actor than in his films for Kazan. Yet, at the end, one seldom feels that one has been watching very much more than a dazzling display of muscle-flexing, with some inspired performances on the side."

This general criticism can justly be applied to "On the Waterfront."