Quick Thoughts: On The Waterfront, High Noon and The Player

I watched these three movies in class this week, so I thought I would post a short reaction to each one.  All three of them are great movies that are worthy of your time if you haven’t seen them yet.

On The Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954)

With Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint.

This is an all-time classic drama about defying the mob to stand up for what is right, featuring communist undertones and themes.  Brando’s performance is one for the ages, and the rest of the cast puts in good work as well.  My only complaint with it would be its music and sound.  At times the music seemed a little forced and tried to over-emphasise things that didn’t really need any added emphasis.  There is also the one scene where the conversation between Brando and Saint gets drowned out by a boat.  I’m sure it was for dramatic effect, but I didn’t appreciate it.  The acting and story could have spoken for itself.

Rating: 9/10

High Noon (Stanley Kramer, 1952)

With Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly.

I’m not the biggest fan of westerns, but this one really worked for me.  It is short, quick and to the point.  Cooper’s performance is fantastic, and the movie does a great job of building suspense all the way until the final showdown.  This movie offers the opposite perspective from On The Waterfront in terms of its communist motifs, but both political expressions are very strong in their representations in the respective movies.  The use of the movie’s ballad can seem a bit corny at times, as can the acting from some of the supporting players, but Cooper’s performance more than makes up for it.

Rating: 8/10

The Player (Robert Altman, 1992)

Starring Tim Robbins.

This is a movie that ranks up near Sunset Blvd. on the totem pole of movies about the movie business.  The Player is basically a story about a studio executive receiving angry letters from a brushed-off screenwriter, but it is so much more than that.  Altman wears his influences on his sleeve, and nods to the movies and filmmakers that inspired him.  This film really does have everything that makes movies great: intrigue, suspense and comedy.  I also enjoy the way he uses lesser known or character actors for the main roles, and saves the big stars for cameos.  The Player is a perfect movie for people who love movies.  The more you love and know about movies, the more you will appreciate its brilliance.

Rating: 9/10

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