Marc Eliot, New York Times bestselling author and film historian spoke to film students and professors at the UFM School of Film and Visual Media about the Oscar winning film “On the Waterfront'' directed by Elia Kazan. This classic Hollywood film, released in 1954, is also one that established Marlon Brando as a Hollywood star.
For most of his talk, Marc spoke about the connection between this film’s narrative and the story of the Crucifixion found in the Bible. He gave the audience a brief analysis of how the director Elia Kazan makes this possible by comparing the lead characters to Biblical ones. The greatest connection is between Jesus and Marlon Brando’s character of “Terry Malloy”. He also analyzed many of the images and situations that occur in the film that echo the cross at Calvary.
What matters to us is the way this film builds, right from the beginning with the body thrown off the roof and how slowly Brando gets pulled into this dilemma where people start talking about his conscience. You have this idea of chrsitinanity, being born, sacrificing yourself for others so you will live again through them. That's the power of this film.” — Marc Eliot
Marc spoke about the boldness of Elia Kazan to make a film dealing with this subject matter and how he worked closely with actors from a theater group he created called The Actor’s Studio. Their main approach to acting was by using the Method, Marc explains, that meant the actor dove deep into the character’s world and acted as though they were actually living each moment.
He specifically notes the Oscar winning performance in this film that is given by Marlon Brando, noting that he was never able to make another film like this again because of the emotional toll that it caused him.
The performance by Marlon Brando is mystical. It's unearthly. He was only 25 when he made the film adn all the make up he used-he had no problem with making himself look like an ex fighter but the way he moves and the way he handles himself like a boxer is awesome.” — Marc Eliot
He also noted the stelar performance given by Eva Saint Marie, who plays his love interest in the film, as well as Lee J. Cobbs who plays Johnny Friendly and can be noted as the “Pontius Pilate” of the film. The actors give performances that have gone down in history and that changed many people’s approach to acting and consequentially, to filmmaking itself.
After this film, everyone wanted to act in this style. No more posing, no more looking a certain way or following the script. This is the film that introduces modern filmmaking and dont forget its an independent film just distributed by columbia. So here is the future of filmmaking.” — Marc Eliot
Marc is also an expert on Hollywood and also gave historical context about this film’s impact of the studio system. One of the points he talks about is the distribution of the movie that was made by Columbia Pictures, specifically because of Marlon Brando’s popularity at the time.
Writer and American biographer
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Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.
Universidad Francisco Marroquín