30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 30

| by Lou | 9.38pm UK time |

Your favourite film of all time

(Took me long enough! I've actually had this sitting in drafts almost finished for a month... New job, lovely man (Michelle did very well with that set-up) conspired to distract me from ever finishing this.)

At last. The final one. I've known all along what the film would be:

On the Waterfront

I fucking love this film. The main reason why can be summed up in two words: Marlon Brando.

I'm going to use an adjective I've never before had cause to put into a sentence:

His performance in this film is incandescent.

Of course in it he delivers one of the most famous pieces of acting ever - the "I coulda been a contender" speech. I knew this scene long before I saw it, and even with the high expectations and the foreknowledge it is still a stellar moment of acting.

But in this film he gives an overall performance of raw power and tender softness that transcends a single moment of celluloid legend. I love the swoon-worthy moments of delicacy and vulnerability:

When he picks up the girl's glove and sub-consciously puts it on his own hand.

When he pushes her against the wall and kisses her to the floor.

He is simply stunning across every frame, every line, every scene.

A film about a waterfront union dispute sounds rather bland and dry. But for me in Brando's performance* is a film about something (or someone) shaking up your life and leading to a catharthis where you find within yourself an integrity, a strength, a goodness and a sense of pride you didn't even know you were capable of.

Marlon Brando, Terry Malloy - I salute you.

*I say Brando's performance to try and detatch from the dodgy political context of the Elia Kazan and Budd Schulberg McCarthyist thing - I choose to detatch this from my own experience of the film, having not known about it when I first saw and fell in love with it.

2 thoughts on “30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 30”

  1. That is okay. It is the one that was my first exposure to Young Brando, and had me literally say "fuck!" when he came on screen for the first time. But I like the character more in OTW, plus generally I love films about people fighting injustice (coughevenifthefilmmaker'smotivationsareabitreprehensiblecough).