Marlon Brando Month #2: Superman & On the Waterfront


The movie starts on the distant planet of Krypton which is in serious danger where criminals are threatening scientists and the world is turning upside down. In the midst of this a lead scientist is able to get his last hope to earth but what will we do with it? In addition to Marlon Brando Superman features a stellar cast of Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Glenn Ford, Margot Kidder, Ned Betty and Valerie Perrine. The film is directed by Richard Donner.

A great family danger drama envelopes decision making that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

In the movie Brando takes on the role of Jor-El which is the actual father of Superman. Jor-El and his wife Laura are Kryptonian parents in the time before Krypton’s exploding in the middle of space. Jor-El is one of the leading scientists of the planet who is able to see the coming destruction of the planet Krypton. Because he sees the doomsday clock ticking and no one listening he is forced to make a heart-wrenching decision and save his son. His son Kal-El is rocketed out for Earth in a homemade escape pod before Krypton is no more.

As far as look goes Brando in the role of Jor-El wears the classic family crest which is actually the “S” symbol which becomes the logo for Superman himself. On Krypton some professionals are seen to be wearing family or tribal crests.


Crime reporting from 1948 that went on to win the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting inspired this film. The docks of Hoboken, New Jersey were home to a variety of union violence and all sorts of corruption until one man decided to blow the whistle on it. Marlon Brando takes on the lead role beside Rod Steiger, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, and debuting Eva Marie Saint. The film is directed by Elia Kazan.

Next we have a movie based on real life crime and drama. My favorite part of all movies based on real life people is the color they bring to the written word which is often all we have to relate to them by.

On the Waterfront was based in part after a real life fight against corruption. Turns out Anthony DeVincenzo who inspired Terry Malloy who is played by Marlon Brando. In the real life situation it was Malloy’s inspiration who blew the whistle as a longshoreman and had several types of legal drama in his life for it. This included actually testifying in front of the actual Waterfront Commission because of the happenings which happened in Hoboken.

In the 1954 movie version Marlon Brando takes on the lead character in the film written as a crime drama. In addition to being a commercial hit and a big hit with critics On the Waterfront was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and actually won eight. They include Best Actor for Brando’s portrayal, Best Director, Best Picture, and even as late as the last quarter century it’s still on top of the listings. The American Film Institute in the year 1997 placed this picture as number eight on a list of Greatest American Movies of All Time. Ten years later in 2007 it still held the rank of number nineteen.


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