The Waterfront

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Movie Review
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On the Waterfront is a 1954 film directed by Elia Kazan and written by Budd Schulberg and stars Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Rod Steiger and Lee J. Cobb. It is based on a series of articles written by Malcolm Johnson for New York Sun.

Introduction

Malcolm Johnson, born on 24 September, 1904 and graduated from Mercer University in 1926, was a noted investigative journalist. He wrote a series of 24 parts called `Crimes on the Waterfront’ about the dock strikes, published in New York Sun. The series exposed corrupt practices, bribery, extortion, theft, murder and the mob’s influence on New York’s waterfront. He eventually won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for the series in 1949. `The Sun’ articles formed the basis for the movie “On the Waterfront”. But before Budd Schulberg started working on the screenplay for the movie, Arthur Miller wrote a play “The Bottom of the River’ about the efforts of Peter Panto who was murdered by the mob while struggling to organize the dock workers of Brooklyn Red Hook district in the 1930s. In 1950, Miller rewrote the play as the screenplay “The Hook” for Elia Kazan. Kazan wanted to make the movie but was rejected by the studios. Reason was the pressure imposed by HUAC on the Columbia Pictures studio chief Harry Cohn. Miller was told to change the villains to evil communists from corrupt union officials and gangsters. Arthur Miller refused and was replaced by Budd Schulberg, who wrote `On the Waterfront’ as a result.

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