Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) Gentle Inarticulate Confused Contradictory Reluctant Disturbed by his conscience.
A reluctant hero Individual choices and decisions – moral salvation. Considered to be a ‘bum’ Lack of education, low intelligence – sensitive point, Johnny’s gang focus on this. Defined by contradictions. Ex-boxer – great physical strength Vulnerability
“Every man for himself.” “I love you” needed to hear Edie say this. After Charley is murdered “take it out of their skulls” (brutal), however caring for the pigeons – gentle – the music reflects this as well. Wants to escape his world – the world turns against him. Roof top – away from the world. Allows him to contemplate Which world he belongs in??? He has to decide after Joey’s murder.
Edie suggests an escape, Terry sees cowardice with escape. Personal and collective responsibility – a drive of the film. Ultimate choice for the community – no more victims of Friendly. Outlaw hero – remain free of responsibilities – operates outside of the law to bring about justice – however eventually testifies to bring victory. Ironic – Terry’s body has taken a belting – bleeding and broken. He has triumphed spiritually and morally – his conscience. D and D.
To what extent is Terry’s contradictory nature explained by his upbringing? What might Terry’s fear of the city’s hawks symbolize?
Father Barry (Karl Malden) Articulate Inspiring Devout Save others Courageous A voice
Religious figure – the moral voice Urges Terry and other workers to come forward – testify against the corruption. Leaves his safety of the church – activist – fighting for rights Encourages others to speak the truth The meeting in the church Johnny Friendly believes Father’s beliefs to not belong in their world. Up until Joey’s death, he kept shelter in the church. The world is alien to him.
Gave the D n D men a voice He promises Kayo to go “down the line” – Keeps this promise Despite the dangers, he speaks out against the corruption. Metaphorical ascent to heaven with the body of Kayo. Alternative father figure to Terry. Terry was raised in a home, as his father was “bumped off” and was looked after by his brother Charley. Father Barry makes Terry realise that his real fight is not in the ring and that Terry has other abilities.
They want Terry’s soul – Is this in Terry’s best interest or is Father Barry wanting a figure for others to follow? Determined that Terry walks the dock unaided – symbolic – Father’s desire for spiritual and moral triumph over physical survival and self-preservation. Has Terry been manipulated by Father? How does Father Barry contribute to Terry’s decision to testify against Johnny Friendly? Discuss the significance of Father Barry’s sermon after the death of Kayo Dugan?
Edie Doyle (Eva Marie Saint) Innocent Determined Kind Brave Loyal Wants social justice
An outsider on the waterfront – her father wants this to continue. Protected by the nuns at St Anne’s – however this education makes her determined to see justice. Represents the possibility of escape – she has seen other places – encourages Terry to do the same after his testimony. Lack of experience with men and alcohol, naïve view of the world are clear immediately. Depicted as a caregiver Her desire to find out what happened to her brother drives the narrative. Protect the men in her life. Care for animals – audience make the connection between this and Terry.
Pop describes the cat as a ‘bum’ – Edie’s connection with Terry. Doesn’t understand the code and is angry at D and D Believes in loyalty “Everybody should care about everybody else” – believes people are good – not seen in the harshness of the waterfront. White woolen mittens – innocence. Terry plays with the gloves – relationship - exploring. Terry helps her escape the union officials – starting to believe how the world operates. Changes Edie’s life. Does have a D n D moment. Wants to hear the truth about her brother, covers her ears and then mouth - sometimes the truth is difficult and unwanted. Their conversation is drowned out. Edie’s desire to block out his confession – the audience can’t hear – close-up of Terry – she is horrified. To what extent is Edie’s determination to discover the truth about her brother’s death due to family loyalty?
A character of contradictions At the beginning refers to himself as “soft touch” – also turns violently on Skins – highlighting his violent temper and his value of loyalty. His name is symbolic of contradictions The head of the corrupt longshoreman’s union. Initially protective of Terry “he likes the kid” “cushy job”. “Present from your Uncle Johnny.” Expects complete loyalty and uses fear to do so. Reasons to sympathise with Johnny – “beg for work in the hold” to provide his family.
The American Dream – achieve success and money if they work hard. “Sweated and bled” and now controls “fattest piers in the fattest harbour in the world.” Changed his name – Michael J Skelly – new identity with success His success no longer due to hard work “gravy” of corruption. “You take the heaters (pistols) away from you and you’re nothing. You know that? …..You take the good goods away and the kickbacks and the shakedown cabbage and the pitsoleros (gunmen) and you’re nothing! Your guts is all in your wallet and your trigger finger.” At the end a broken man, humiliated by the lack of obedience. The men ignore Johnny “I’ll be back!” Will this be the case? At what point in the film might we lose complete sympathy for Johnny? In what ways is Johnny’s ruthlessness simply a requirement of succeeding in the world presented in this film?
“Charley the Gent” “butcher in a camel hair coat” Educated member of the gang – “right hand” “to the bottom of the river” “deep thinker” Becomes unstable – his position in the gang “You got a real friend here” – reinforce Johnny’s warnings Perceptive, refers to Terry as “kid” “slugger” His coat reflects his love of the finer things in life – compared to the mob. Inner guilt with his brother. Terry “could have been somebody, but instead ended up a bum”. Terry blames Charley for not looking after him “It was you Charley” Crossroads – if Terry testifies – he sacrifices himself – trying to make things right and allow Terry the chance to escape the situation. “Very brain guy” “had a couple of years of college”. Can’t escape the waterfront. Charley is always seen with coat buttoned up, scarf and hat, often with gloves on. What do you think this may indicate about his character? There are a few scene in which Charley is only wearing once glove. What might this represent?
Others Joey Doyle – murdered at the beginning – the focus of the film. Terry’s involvement in his murder leads to his moral crisis. Pop Doyle – fears for his safety – does what Johnny wants. D n D. He told Joey to remain quiet. Changes – challenges Johnny’s authority. Timothy J “Kayo” Dugan – the next longshoreman willing to “stand up” by testifying – he is murdered guaranteeing his silence. Mrs Collins – her son Andy died 5 years earlier – suffering for many years at the hands of Friendly. Big Mac – Enjoys the power he has over the workers. Johnny Friendly’s goons – Tullio, Truck, JP – physical reminders of Johnny’s power on the waterfront. The ‘muscle’ that allows Johnny to maintain his control, ensuring that everyone is in debt to him. Detective Glover – outsider on the waterfront – little authority in the world. Connects with Terry and Terry reveals the truth of his last professional fight. Longshoremen – Facial expressions, body language – desperate situation Mr Upstairs – corruption – the source