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January 29, 2022, 05:43:30 am

Author Topic: [ESL] On the Waterfront by Elia Kazan  (Read 1210 times)  Share 

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dinosaur93

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[ESL] On the Waterfront by Elia Kazan
« on: April 29, 2012, 07:27:29 pm »
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Could anyone please help me annotate the essay and mark the areas from which I have to improve....tnx heaps guys! :)





“On the Waterfront highlights that justice is possible, even in the most bleak of circumstances.’ Do you agree?

Through the use of a monochromatic Film Noir style, Elia Kazan’s iconic film On the Waterfront justifies the fact that good triumphs over evil even when justice seems hopeless. (1–2)In Hoboken’s most unwelcoming atmosphere, we constantly see that an overwhelming force of evil that engulfs humanity, but Terry’s determination and newly awakened conscience triggered him to pursue justice and peace over the waterfront. Terry’s confrontation with Johnny Friendly and his brother, Charley, highlights that justice is made possible if one persist to pursue what one’s desire. (2)Father Barry was also another element in the film that underlined justice on the waterfront. Despite when it seem that everyone strongly disagree about revealing what they have witness, his sheer determination and spiritual belief drive him to convince everyone about the danger of their actions physically and spiritually that ultimately brought justice. The very moving scene of Father Barry’s sermon juxtaposing with Kayo Dugan’s murder depicts that justice is still possible despite the situation at hand. On the waterfront is an iconic film that emphasize on the importance of justice regardless of the situation.   

Terry and his newly awakened conscience are considered as a vital agent that help made justice possible even in the moment when goodness does not even seem to exist. Terry’s discussion with his brother in the cab suggests the audience that justice is possible to be obtained when he tries to pursue it by breaking his alliance with the mobsters. “I have been ratting on myself all these years and I didn’t even know it.” The wide angle shot featuring the broad and spacious street suggest Terry’s inner feelings after having done what is essential.” The appearance of Charley’s dead body followed as he was taken in a wide angle shot with insufficient natural lighting. With the effective use of film technique, his death can be seen as a crucial moment where this is one bleak situation that justice was never feasible. Terry’s response of testifying against the corrupt ‘superiors’ was a indication/confirmation to the audience that justice is pursuable and achievable even in the most disturbing events.

Terry’s confrontation against the corrupt empire of the waterfront was a most inspirational event that signifies a strong force of justice even when it seems to be futile. The highly choreographed scene where Terry confronts Johnny Friendly and his wavering empire was an indication of his disassociation of his relationship with the mobsters. Kazan shoots Terry and Johnny Friendly highly choreographed battle in a wide angle shot to include the shadow of Johnny Friendly symbolising the amount of power is bestowed upon him. Johnny Friendly, with the help of his mobster, was able to take Terry down, but this clearly did not highlight that he has won the war. Pop Doyle pushing him towards the lake symbolises his lost of power and authority. This was further illustrated as he was placed in a distant high angle shot. Father Barry’s word of encouragement ‘you may have lost the battle, but you haven’t lose the war’ fuelled a broken and battered Terry to guide the longshoremen to work was a again a symbolic representation that justice is attainable even when it appears to be impossible. Despite Mr. Upstairs intimidating presence strengthening future corruption, Terry’s head-to-head combat with Johnny Friendly was a motivatational scene that made justice possible even when Johnny Friendly’s dominant and governing empire seems to be indestructible and everlasting. 

In this without no doubt that Father Barry’s fundamental belief over truth, justice and honour shed a blazing light for the longshoremen to hope and act for justice regardless of the ramifications. Kayo Dugan’s death was another ominous and discomforting scene where integrity is not uplifted. The lack of natural lighting was use to add weight on the tragedy showing pessimism and no hope for the longshoremen. This juxtaposes with Father Barry’s influential and prevailing sermon in hope to break the silence of the society and help thrive for justice on the waterfront. As he ascend from the bottom of the ship, natural lighting increases and as the camera pans up with Father Barry and the victims, we see a established sign where goodness prevails even in the presence of the tragedy. Father Barry’s word of wisdom over truth and justice was a powerful influencing catalyst that made people see justice over materialism and self-interest even in the midst of hardship and inescapable danger.

Even when all things seem to fail, justice is still made possible through the everlasting influence of Father Barry, Terry’s newly awakened conscience, and his determination to pursue what is right. Despite Charley’s death being a disturbing and inescapable tragedy for Terry to accept, Terry used this tragedy to his advantage and made justice possible for everyone who were victimised and oppressed by the corrupt. Terry’s brave confrontation with Johnny Friendly was another element of the film that illustrate that justice is attainable despite the odds that stacks up against him. Even when he is broken and battered, his unrelenting nature to give up paid off by leading the longshoremen to work. Furthermore, Father Barry’s ravenous nature for justice was another significant element that made justice possible. Even when Kayo Dugan’s death, he turned hopelessness into a moment where every longshoremen are encouraged to step up against all evil. Kazan’s iconic film has instilled the powerful omnipresent concept of everlasting justice regardless of the circumstances and uncertainties that the storm may bring. (Exaggerating????)







‘On the Waterfront suggests that redemption is only possible when people are honest with themselves and others.’ Do you agree?

Through the use of monochromatic Noir style, Elia Kazan’s iconic film On the Waterfront suggests that people can redeem themselves from their wrong doing if they are readily sincere and committed to make a positive change in their lives. They must also readily accept the end result of their actions. (1)Charley’s decision to let Terry go his own way and break free from the shadow of his mobsters come at a cost, but he is ready to sacrifice himself for Terry’s freedom. (2)Terry’s determination to be more than a ‘bum’ and testify against Johnny Friendly was another aspect that showed his redeeming nature to bring balance in the waterfront. (3)Father Barry was also able to redeem his Christ-like defiance by becoming articulate, inspiring and courageous through Edie’s word of challenge to step out of the church and witness the reality for himself. Kazan incorporated unique roles for each character in such a way that the events exposes how they redeem oneself from the temptation of materialism and power that engulfs the docks of Hoboken during the 1950s. 

Johnny Friendly’s right-hand man, Charley, was a character who, in the end, redeemed himself as a last attempt to demonstrate an unrelenting sacrificial love by putting his family forward as a priority and being selfless. As Charley persuades Terry to take the offer, they are zoomed in and entrapped in a claustrophobic atmosphere with the lack of natural lighting. This reflects the inner guilt and shame of Charley as he held a gun on Terry thinking that he may take the offer. Furthermore, the fiddling of the glove reveals Charley’s anxiety and suggests that he is uncomfortable in pressuring Terry to take the offer. ‘I was ratting myself all these years and I didn’t even know it.’ These were the final decision of Terry – to break his alliance with the mobsters indefinitely. Although the following wide-angle shot of the streets tells us the freedom that Terry now enjoys, Charley’s anxiety also clearly forewarns the viewers about the danger that he is anticipating. He was ready to face all possible ramifications for his actions which was later underlined when he is dead body was hanged in the dark ally. His self-sacrifice was shows his last attempt that make things right and a symbolic sacrificial love to make up for his previous actions in contributing to the corrupt.

Throughout the film, Terry is constantly plagued by his bothering conscience to pursue justice, which was a vital element that made him testify through the help of Father Barry and Edie. Through Father Barry’s inspirational sermon, Terry was able to show a redeeming nature to do what is right. This was underlined as he was placed in a wide-angle shot where he deliberately punched Tullio to defend Father Barry. The effect of his relationship with Edie was an also another aspect, which helped him in redeem himself. With the help of his relationship with Edie, he was able to tell her the truth and confess. This was an ambivalent but remarkable point that he is ready willing to redeem himself to make up for his involvement with Joey’s death. It is Father Barry and Edie’s influence that helped Terry set a course to the right track and rectified his mistakes. Terry’s truthfulness and willingness to act on his bothering conscience gave way for him to redeem his previous actions.

Father Barry’s character played an important role in the film to help other’s redeem themselves, but he himself was also able to redeem oneself by becoming more involved, articulate and encouraging to people outside the church. With the help of Edie, he was able to act upon her words of encouragement by stepping out of the church to witness the reality of the waterfront. ‘Have you ever seen a saint hiding in a church?’ His powerful and motivational sermon was an inspirational turning point to most longshoremen. He plays a much more effective role in society and preserving the balance of power than once he was first introduced. His unending passion and love to pursue justice and truth were powerful agents that helped him redeem himself by helping more people outside the church. 

On the Waterfront defined that everyone must accept the consequence of their own action and underpins the concept of ‘you will reap what you once sow’. Charley placed his relationship with his brother as a priority as he tries to show this by letting him go. His death marks his brotherly love for Terry and a last attempt to rectify his mistakes and wrong doings. Terry also showed redemption as he confesses to Father Barry and Edie about his involvement of Joey’s death. Father Barry’s action in standing up for the longshoremen by fighting every forces of evil on the waterfront was also magnified his redemption as he steps out of the safety of the church and into the danger and harshness of reality. Kazan’s realist film On the Waterfront underlines that people should readily accepts the consequence of one’s action and be able to redeem themselves through honesty and sincere relationships.