By GRACE CONWAY
El11111111111111111111111 a Catholic Herald, Film Critic Jonnunnuanuni7; ON THE WATERFRONT Gautnent: Certificate A Director: Ella Kazan SOM E weeks ago I told the story behind the scandals of the New York waterfront and the part which Fr. John M. Corridan played in helping to clean it up. It makes an absorbing, at times Mood chilling, film. This is not so much because of the physical violence, of which there is a substantial share. It is the violence being done to men's souls that kept sending cold shivers into my blood stream, watching human beings whose souls are dying.
From the well-upholstered, cigarchewing. expensively suited bosses down to the wretched labourers whom they have intimidated into cowardly acquiescence and connivance at their wickedness, the richest waterfront in the world presents a pretty frightening spectacle.
HAT are your trade unions doing about it?" demands the priest (Karl Malden). The answer is a spit and a shrug. And so the racket of dues paid for the chance of a job and a murder if anyone talks to the police or the Press out of turn goes on.
A fair-haired " girl (Eva Marie Saint) comes back from her convent school in time to see her brother pushed off a roof and killed. The priest is called to him and the girl, rushing in where tough men fear to tread, sets out to track down his murderer.
She mets an almost de-humanised young man (Marlon Brando), who is a member of the gang. It is his slow,
reluctant and, for him, dangerous change of heart—brought about first by the girl and then by the priest— that finally blows the tyranny of the docks sky-high.
/ARLON BRANDO is an actor 1V1 whom one may dislike but never ignore. He does an extraordinarily good job here of showing us a creature who to begin with is nothing less than a cunning, cagey animal, out for himself alone but who gradually, with the revival of his pulverised conscience. assumes the dignity. even the nobility, of a man.
In a particularly well-directed sequence with the girl (and how well this part is cast) we can watch this slow dawning of intelligence and awareness on the boy's face, really quite moving.
Lee J. Cobb is the tough "boss" and there are some memorable cameos among the minor characters. But this is one of those happy occasions in which script writer. director and actors are all in sympathy.
Karl Malden seizes his big opportunity when he rouses the pitiful bunch of terrified dockers over the dead body of one of them—and the whole film is lent an unusual realism by being made for practically its entire length on the actual waterfront itself.
THE dialogue is horribly difficult to follow for the first quarter of an hour; It took me about this time to attune my ear to the Bowery mumbles. But some of the dialogue is so good that it would be a pity to miss it. And I'm glad that I heard Eva Marie Saint answer Brando when he says condescendingly : "Me, I admire brains."
She says: "It isn't brains so much as what yotedo with them."
And that's quite a good thought for any day.
Plaza : Certificate U Director : Billy Wilder
"raeOD bless the tycoon and his Is-Jrelations and keep us in our proper stations" is the theme. Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn), the daughter of an English chauffeur, loves David, the younger, thrice-married, son of of her father's employer.
Sabrina is always on the outside looking in on the revels that go on in the big house. To take her mind off this hopeless passion, her father sends her to Paris to learn cooking.
Not only does she return with a diploma but with a Paris chic, the upkeep of which must have cost a pretty penny—and there is no explanation of how she was able to afford it. Of course, there was an elderly baron taking a refresher course at the cooking academy.
David, blinking slightly at the Parisian importation, at once capitulates, thereby angering his family considerably because they want him to marry another tycoon's daughter.
This is where Humphrey Bogart comes in. He is the elder brother, whose only passion is the family business. In an effort to separate the two romantics he takes Sabrina out himself. You can have two guesses as to what happens.
Neither William Holden as David nor Mr. Bogart looks entirely happy as two of the sides of the triangle, but Miss Hepburn is cinematic perfection, acts with poise and grace, and an air that is a mixture of the wistful and the quizzical. It is altogether her picture.
DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS Odeon, Marble Arch : Certificate A Director : Delmar Dares