On the Waterfront (1954, USA, Kazan)
Marlon Brando could have been somebody, if it wasn’t for the union mobsters. All he has left is being a man, and he doesn’t even have that. Watched it all before, but didn’t appreciate how perfect it is, a meeting of the old gangster thumbscrew and new acting. What has changed since last time I saw it? Does fast-forwarding through thousands of mediocre movies allow the great ones to stand out in a way watching the occasional preselected classic doesn’t?
The Men of Sherwood Forest (1954, UK)
Well, I’ve seen worse Robin Hoods, but that’s because the worse ones had bigger budgets, which allowed their awful plots to bloom into full potential. I sometimes wonder what it is about the Robin Hood myth that is so compelling when I can’t think of a single book or movie that has told it well. Watched: 11 minutes. The one interesting thing about this movie is that it was made by Hammer, which got famous later for gorier reasons.
Night People (1954, USA)
Of all the post-war movies about Communist scheming and kidnapping in the European occupation zones, this is my favorite so far. It reminds me of The Sandbaggers. No action, no fancy schmancy noir shadows and zither music, just dull, tough men making hard choices and dirty deals. Watched it all. Berlin comes off well too: For once as a beautiful city, not just ruins.