Monthly Archives: February 2016

Mystery vs. Suspense

I don’t consider myself a film expert by any means, so Hitchcock’s explanation of what separates the mystery and suspense genres was a bit perplexing to me. The example he gave was of the woman who “died” and came back into the man’s life, making him fall in love with her again. Hitchcock argues that a mystery would leave the audience wondering whether she was the same woman–that is, it would withhold that information from us. In contrast, a suspense film would tell us that she is the same woman, thus building dramatic irony and heightening our expectations for when the hero eventually finds out the truth.

This all makes sense, but by that logic wouldn’t “Rear Window” be a mystery? After all, we are not told outright that Thorwald is a murderer. We get the same clues that Jeff gets and are even privy to a couple of shots that Jeff cannot see, but none of these confirm anything. Up until the very end, we are left wondering just like in a mystery. By contrast, something like Sherlock Holmes would typically be considered a mystery. But in modern adaptations (we’ll take BBC’s “Sherlock” for example), we see Sherlock alive after he has jumped off of a building, while Dr. Watson mourns for him. In this way, the story builds suspense for when John finally finds out Sherlock has lived. Of course, Sherlock’s fall isn’t one of his cases in the show, and there is plenty of mystery involved with those. Which brings me to my next point.

Obviously a film or TV series doesn’t have to be strictly one genre or another. There’s plenty of mystery in suspense films and plenty of suspense in mysteries, but what I am wondering is if these genres must necessarily go together. They seem so similar that the line between them gets blurred to me, and I find it hard to imagine one without the other. After all, even if we don’t know who the criminal is, isn’t there some suspense when they finally pull off the mask? Even if we know the truth about a situation, isn’t there some mystery as to what the motives are and how everything will play out?

Rear Window and Space

The cinematography in Rear Window was great, and showed restraint in never giving a perspective too far removed from Jeff’s apartment and often obscuring action. This movie is all about spaces, and we are largely within Jeff’s space throughout the film. The long opening shot establishes two main spaces; there is the outside world in the courtyard where everyone else lives in their own apartment, and there is the space behind Jeff, his own apartment with his furniture, photography, and people he knows. The former space is external composed of others outside his life while the latter is internal, comprised of his own thoughts, personality, and experiences. These two spaces are separated by the window.

The framing of each shot emphasizes the separation of these spaces.

We don’t simply peer into any apartment. Most of the shot is the outside wall, which separates what we are supposed to see and what we are not. Having the action take place in only 25% of the screen makes the apartments feel very closed in from our perspective. This composition accentuates the privacy of the apartment space and makes the audience conscious that it is violating that person’s privacy.

The Thorwalds’ apartment is even more interesting because Lars’s space is separated from Emma’s. The rooms they are currently in during this shot are the rooms that identify them most, that they spend most time in. The walls are even different colors to hint at their lack of cohesion. The apartments are not only physical places that people live in, but also represent their internal state. Using a room that a character lives in to mirror their own mental state is a common technique in filmmaking (e.g. Barton Fink), and it is done pretty effectively here. The brick wall that separates the two spaces is also used strategically to obscure important action in the future to enhance the suspense. Hitchcock shows himself to be a rather resourceful filmmaker here.

The visuals are only one aspect that define spaces in this movie though. Different sounds become identified with different spaces as well throughout the film. From Miss Torso’s apartment we hear the music that she dances to while from the Songwriter’s apartment we hear the progression of his composition. And we hear a scream at night that we desperately try to identify to a space.

The same way we do not get shots from inside an apartment, we do not get sound from it either. As Dr. Jordan discussed in class, all of the sound in this movie is diegetic, and further it is only what can be heard from the space of Jeff’s apartment. So during the climax of the film instead of hearing a dramatic soundtrack to elevate the suspense, we hear jazz from the Songwriter’s apartment, which is very dissonant with the action of Lisa being attacked by Thorwald. This sound, like the framing, accentuates the privacy of the apartments we are peering into. The fact that we cannot hear what goes on in other people’s spaces demonstrates that we should not be seeing what goes on in them either.

Rear Window: Violating Women One Gaze at a Time

Earlier this week, my Facebook feed was peppered with the announcement of Jessica Chastain’s launching of an all-female production company. This news stemmed from the recent Oscar and Grammy award seasons, which brought with them a slew of criticisms of the largely white male pool of nominees coming from an industry dominated by white males. (Take a good look at the graph in the Forbes article hyperlinked above; these shocking statistics are from 2015.) Feminists often cite the portrayal of women in films and media as a source of ongoing sexism and violence against women. If you’re wondering what that means, you don’t have to look any further than Rear Window.

I walked out of Carnegie this past Monday a little dazed and deeply unsettled by Hitchcock’s movie. The acclaimed director’s portrayal of women violated every feminist stance possible. The women in Rear Window are obsessed with marriage and how they are viewed by men. They enjoy being victims of violence and abuse. They exist only to please the perverted men they love.

rear_window_ver3_xlgHitchcock directed the movie to exclusively show the male gaze. There are only three perspectives, and all three are male: Jeff, Hitchcock’s subjective camera, and Thorwald briefly at the final climax. As the audience, we see what these men see, and despite our own race, gender, sexuality, etc., we view the movie and the action as white men. (And as most directors, Hitchcock tries to get us to empathize with his (white, male, hetero) protagonists.) This choice of direction automatically objectifies women; we must divine their thoughts and intentions through the lens of the male gaze, which frequently stops at their physical appearance. Miss Torso’s plotline until the very last scene can be summed up as “eye candy,” and even when we see her partner come through the door, her greatest ambitions are shown to be domestic bliss. Lisa’s first scene and last scene, despite her “character development,” are identical: Massive shots and slow pans of Grace Kelly not speaking and looking gorgeous, or in other words, even more eye candy. Women are to be seen and sexualized, but not heard.

So what happens when the male gaze lingers past the curves and starts to look into the lives of these women? The answer is three victims of abuse.

The first is Lisa, who suffers emotional abuse in trying to domesticate Jeff. In her first scene, Lisa is, by 1950’s standards, the perfect woman. Gorgeous, fashionable, and ready to take care of her man. But her man still doesn’t want her, and that limits Lisa’s character development to pleasing Jeff. In the final scene, Hitchcock further infantilizes her by showing she has not really developed at all; she puts down her book and picks up a fashion magazine with a smile.

The second is Miss Lonelyheart, also seeking domestic bliss. She practices her date etiquette, prims and trims her appearance, and then puts her plan into action by hanging out at a cafe. Her efforts are met with an attempted rape, which Lisa and Jeff watch uncomfortably, neither of them reaching for a phone to call the police. Jeff has just finished asking Doyle to look into a murder he didn’t actually see happen, yet when he witnesses a crime about to happen before his very eyes, his instinct is to watch and say nothing. This incident foreshadows a rape and murder that happened ten years after the release of Rear Window, the famous Kitty Genovese case that launched research by psychologists into the Bystander Effect. Between 37 and 38 witnesses, all neighbors in her Queens apartment block, saw or heard Kitty being stabbed and raped, but not one of them intervened or called the police.

rear_window_ringThe third woman is Mrs. Thorwald. She is sick and nags her husband, and as a result, is murdered by him. One thing that struck me is that Hitchcock, in his attempt to make his murderer seem like a normal fellow, only gives those two reasons for Thorwald’s decision to kill his wife (that she is sick and nags him). Again, this furthers the argument that women are meant to be seen and sexualized (and should therefore beautiful, not sickly) and not heard. Hitchcock further supports this by showing Lisa sneaking Mrs. Thorwald’s wedding ring on her own finger, symbolically marrying a wife-murderer. Lisa is the perfect female character to be shown doing this, having already taken Jeff’s verbal abuse to heart and acting upon it.

The movie ends with domestic justice: Thorwald is sent to jail, Miss Lonelyheart finds a companion in the struggling musician, and Lisa metaphorically lets her hair down for Jeff by wearing jeans and attempting to read an adventure book. Both of the surviving women have reached their peak happiness in the prospect of marriage, and both are seen in their male partner’s apartment, conforming to the man’s life instead of their own. With the final scene, Hitchcock imprisons the women in their endless quest to please men, with no indication of further ambitions or further capacities.

I realize now that my word count is obscene, but for any of you interested in the feminist and psychoanalytical implications of Rear Window and other Hitchcock films, here is a great essay by Laura Mulvey from 1973 that was published as an article in Screen in 1975.

The Two Sides of Marlon Brando

Before watching On The Waterfront, my only exposure to any of Marlon Brando’s work was his role as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather. I knew of his work but had never taken the time to see any of his other films or learn more about him, so after watching On The Waterfront I decided to learn a little more about Marlon Brando as a person. Besides the obvious facts & figures that can be found about awards he had won and such, something that really caught my eye was this conflicted image of who Marlon Brando really was.

On one hand, Brando was an unbelievably generous and caring person. He used his status as an American icon as a platform to advocate for many social causes. He was particularly involved in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. In fact, he was so deeply moved by Martin Luther King Jr. and his assassination that he even backed out of a role in The Arrangement, also directed by Elia Kazan, to dedicate his time to promoting the cause (Mell). Here’s a clip I found of Brando on a talk show with other famous actors such as Charlton Heston discussing their views on the civil rights movement.

Civil Rights 1963 – James Baldwin and Marlon Brando

In this clip, he also mentions the mistreatment of Native Americans, another cause Brando advocated for. Brando was particularly bothered by the mistreatment and typecasting of Native Americans in Hollywood. He famously protested this by declining his award for Best Actor for his role in The Godfather, sending a woman named Sacheen Littlefeather to decline his award and nationally address this issue, seen here:

Marlon Brando’s Oscar® win for ” The Godfather”

Based on all this, you would assume that Brando is an outstanding and morally good individual. But, on the other hand, after I perused the Internet I discovered that Brando wasn’t always as morally good as his actions may have let on. To pull a quote directly from his biography,

“Although Brando avoids speaking in detail about his marriages, even in his autobiography, it is known that he has been married three times to three ex-actresses. He has at least 11 children. Five of the children are with his three wives, three are with his Guatemalan housekeeper, and the other three children are from affairs. One of Brando’s sons, Christian Brando, told People magazine, “The family kept changing shape. I’d sit down at the breakfast table and say, ‘Who are you?'” ( Editors)

Along with his promiscuous lifestyle, I learned that his son Christian (quoted in the biography earlier) was also a convicted murderer and served ten years in prison. When Brando was called to the witness stand, he blamed himself for the incident by not being a good enough father to his son. He was quoted as saying, “I tried to be a good father. I did the best I could.” ( Editors). This created a multi-faceted person for me, and I was very internally conflicted about how I felt about Brando as a person.

Ultimately, it is a judgement call. Public perception praises Brando as an influential and a man of outstanding character, but the reality is that there are several wrenches thrown in that can lead to doubt about his individual character. Personally, I believe that a few transgressions should not defame a man who has done so much good in this world, especially in a world where many actors choose to avoid controversy at all costs. In Brando’s case, the good absolutely outweighs the bad, and I can now see why he is considered one of the greatest actors of his time.

A Different Rear Window

I will admit, Rear Window was not my favorite movie.  Many of the moral problems facing the characters resolved in a manner which left me wanting, and the whole film seemed to promote the attitude of “the end justifies the means.”  Throughout, Hitchcock admonishes viewers for their voyeuristic tendencies and at times, pushes the idea that watching other peoples’ private lives with binoculars may not be the most upstanding past time, but in the end, a murderer is caught because of Jeff’s voyeurism, suggesting it wasn’t so bad afterall.  Additionally, the relationship between Lisa and Jeff definitely said that women should change who they are in order to get the guy.  So, expanding on my ideas in class discussion today, here is Kaley Chicoine’s Alternate Ending to Rear Window:

The movie stays exactly the same up until the police take Lisa off to jail.  Jeff, distraught, is unable to pay her bail.  He continues to watch Thorwald, who is now aware of Jeff’s gaze.  This constant surveillance starts to make Thorwald edgy, and he keeps looking back at Jeff, shrugging his shoulders and going so far as to call Jeff and ask what he wants.  After nearly a full night of this, Thorwald shows up at Jeff’s door.  He explains that he and his wife are on bad terms, and that she went away to stay with a friend in the country after proposing a divorce.  They don’t really love each other anymore, anyway.  Jeff will hear none of it and remains silent.  Thorwald gets upset, continuing to explain his actions and repeatedly asking what Jeff wants.  Jeff eventually speaks, denouncing everything Thorwald has said and accusing him of murdering his wife.  Thorwald snaps and throws Jeff out of the window.  The movie ends with Jeff dead, Lisa with a criminal record, and Thorwald arrested for Jeff’s murder.

This version of Rear Window deals with my earlier complaints.  Lisa ends up in trouble because she tried to change who she was just to suit Jeff.  Voyeurism is definitely not rewarded.  More so, Thorwald becomes a much more interesting character.  He ends up guilty of the crime Jeff imposed upon him, but only because Jeff relentlessly pushes him toward it.  And, there is an unexpected twist at the end that keeps things interesting.  The movie would end with a very clear message: don’t try to understand people’s lives from the outside.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Cameos

So in Rear Window, I noticed something kind of cool: Alfred Hitchcock was in the apartment of the songwriter kind of early in the movie. It looked like he was doing something with the clock in the apartment, but that’s not important. Take a look at the picture below.

That’s Hitchcock on a train right next to Carey Grant, aka C. K. Dexter Haven (we seem to see a lot of the same faces in this class). Apparently, it was a whole thing that Hitchcock would appear in his own movies. In 39 of his major films, he makes an appearance. Once he moved to Hollywood, he appeared in every movie he made. The funny part is that he had to adjust his cameos because of how much people loved him. Apparently, people spent so much time looking for him that no one paid attention to the movie. As a result, Hitchcock made it so that he always appeared in the first thirty minutes of the movie specifically so that people could see him and then go back to watching the movie.

There are two modern occurrences I could compare this to. The first is obviously Stan Lee. He created or helped create many of the comic book characters that have been absolutely dominating the box office for the last few years. This video has all of them as of 2014, so there are definitely several more since then. It’s pretty cool, and everyone always goes nuts at his appearances, and makes sure to look for them specifically. They’re not hidden enough that you wouldn’t see them just watching the movie though, so they aren’t distracting.

The part that is distracting is the thing that really made me want to write this article: The Psych Pineapples. In every single episode of the (underrated) show Psych, there is a pineapple hidden somewhere. Sometimes it’s just on a shelf in the back and you can see it obviously. Sometimes it’s a keychain on someone’s keys that are only seen for a second in a security footage the investigators have found. It’s crazy, and unlike the Seinfeld Superman, the pineapple is in every episode. So, Hitchcock, you may think you’re distracting your audiences, but there are episodes of Psych where I don’t even know what the plot was, but I remember where the pineapple is.

On the Waterfront: Terry and Fences

In class, we had discussed the importance of fences and enclosed spaces in “On the Waterfront” in emphasizing the notion that the mob essentially “traps” people in a world of corruption. I decided to revisit some of the scenes of the movie to see how fences specifically influence and represent Terry’s character development.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 10.09.49 AM

The screenshot above was pulled from the scene in which Terry first initiates a legitimate conversation with Edie. We have learned that Edie has been sheltered from the reality of the corrupt world all of her life, and that she therefore represents both innocence and morality. This scene may represent Terry’s first step in crossing over to the free and stable society on the other side of the mob’s “fence.” Their conversation leading up this point has consisted of superficial small-talk surrounding Edie’s appearance when she was younger; however, once the conversation is brought over to the fence, Edie begins explaining the importance of “patience and kindness,” which are ideals most likely prominent on the other side of the barrier. As depicted above, if Terry continues to build his relationship with Edie and begins to make realizations about his corrupt society, the alternate and almost utopian world on the other side of the fence is right at his fingertips.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 10.25.32 AM

The mis-en-scene in the screenshot above evokes similar symbolism. Terry is visibly on the opposite side of the fence/cage as Edie, and there also seems to be some sort of cross-like figure behind Edie’s head. Clearly, the fence serves as a barrier between Terry and the morale, kind world that Edie is a part of. During their conversation, Terry asks Edie to go out for a beer with him, which shows his desire to break through the barrier and leave his corrupt world behind.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 10.16.16 AM

The screenshot above follows directly after Terry has a conversation with Father Barry about coming clean with Edie regarding her brother’s death. It is interesting to note that prior to making the decision to confront Edie, Terry was behind the fence – the barrier to morality. Once Father Barry instills in him the importance of being honest and breaking away from his forced loyalty to the mob, he finds his away outside the fence where he confesses to Edie. In other words, he has broken away from the corruption, and while he makes Edie upset, he is one step closer to entering her world.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 10.13.32 AM

The last symbolic fence that I took notice of was in one of the last scenes of the film as Terry confronts the mob leaders. In the background, it is clear that Terry had to pass through a unique fence structure; this action represents Terry officially leaving his corrupt lifestyle behind and putting his morale values over his loyalty to the mob. After seeing a shot of the entire dock (seen below), this fence seems very strategically and intentionally placed to make this point, as the fencing is not included along the entire dock.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 12.42.58 PM

Overall, I am incredibly fascinated by the thoughtful mis-en-scene in the film, especially the symbolic value of fences. This class has really opened my eyes to the small, but often incredibly significant details that directors and producers include in films to emphasize the overarching message. Zeroing in on these strategic choices really enhances the film-viewing experience.

Subtle Symbolism in The Philadelphia Story

Whenever I watch a film for the second time, I notice even the most subtle of details or symbolic elements that I had previously overlooked, and The Philadelphia Story was no exception. Despite the fact that I had to resort to re-watching select clips on YouTube (the movie was not available for free online in its entirety), I was able to glean several instances of notable mis-en-scene and cinematic choices that I had not picked up on before. While some may be more obvious or plausible than others, I wanted to share my findings.

My first realization is associated with the first scene of the movie (above), and I am very surprised how I initially missed this distinct cinematic choice. In this scene, Tracy and Dexter have a falling out, and we can determine that their altercation signifies the end of their first marriage. What I had failed to notice before was the complete absence of conversation in their interaction. In fact, it is filmed in a manner very similar to that of early silent movies — with dramatic music and exaggerated actions and emotions. Given one of the central themes of this film, this style make sense. The film’s primary takeaway is the importance of meaningful conversations within a successful marriage in which both parties understand each other’s faults and ask probing questions to help each other grow; the fact that this scene includes absolutely no conversation shows how Tracy and Dexter were previously incompatible and the extent to which they both needed to experience a period of learning and growth to establish a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship.

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 10.49.15 PM







My next observation is associated with the screenshot above, which was pulled from the scene where drunken Macaulay is interrogating Dexter about his feelings for Tracy. Right as Macaulay inquires, “Do you still love her?”, we obtain this view of Dexter’s house, which displays a model of a ship and the shadows of what seem to be a miniature woman and man in the background. As we learn throughout the film, boats represent the relationship between Dexter and Tracy. In fact, at the end of the film, we learn about a boat that Dexter had named “True Love,” which is “only comfortable for two people” and is described by the two as “yar.” Boats obviously represent a significant aspect of their previous relationship and allow Dexter and Tracy to speak in their common language. Perhaps the boat and shadow figures in this scene represent the couple and their “true love” and allow the audience to draw a conclusion on their own to Macaulay’s question, “Do you still love her?”

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 10.50.18 PM

While I have to admit that my next observation may be a bit of a stretch, I decided to share it, as I find it incredibly interesting. When Macaulay and Dexter are conversing at Dexter’s house, the background displays three animal heads mounted above a fireplace along with three trophies –one of which is noticeably larger — on the mantel. While I had dismissed the idea that these objects held any type of significance at first, I decided to explore this mis-en-scene further when I saw that Macaulay literally pauses in conversation to stare at these animal heads. Perhaps these three animals represent the three men “going after” Tracy. Throughout the film, it becomes apparent that one of the men (Dexter) is more fit for Tracy, followed by Macaulay and then George. Does the larger trophy next to the animal head on the far right represent Dexter and his victory in establishing a marriage with Tracy in the end? Is it purely coincidence that there are three animals, three trophies, and three men? Everything is placed in a scene for a reason, right?  Just some food for thought.

Ultimately, while the plausibility of some of my findings may be questionable, I definitely think there are intentional and subtle details in The Philadelphia story that are very easy to overlook. Even after replaying these scenes several times, it did take me a bit of time to take notice to these details and establish these inferences. I can only imagine how many other symbols and cinematic choices I would take notice to if I had the ability to study the entire movie in this level of detail.

Eva Marie Saint: An Acting Icon

Though On the Waterfront was a critical (and commercial) success, receiving twelve Academy Award nominations and winning eight, a majority of the critic’s attention was on the performance of Eva Marie Saint, who made her film debut at age thirty in the film. Though On the Waterfront was her first film, Saint was far from a novice, having extensive experience in television and theater. In fact, Saint started her career as an NBC page, a highly competitive intern-like position working on the sets of various NBC shows. Additionally, Saint was nominated for an Emmy several times before On the Waterfront, winning in 1955.

Elia Kazan first discovered the actress when she was starring in the play The Trip to Bountiful. Though he was immediately drawn to her acting ability, he was still considering Elizabeth Montgomery for the part. In the end, Kazan felt Montgomery gave a “high-class” demeanor and chose Saint (who was from New Jersey) instead. During filming, Saint would leave her New York house in the morning, travel to the Hoboken set and film OTW scenes and then act in the play during the evening.

Though she was a member of the Actor’s Studio (which Kazan started), Saint initially was nervous about working with such big stars, crying before she left for set on her first day. However in later interviews, Saint admits Kazan was her favorite director. During her first scene, when she first talks to Terry on the rooftop, Kazan simply whispered to her “This is the first time you are up there with a strange man on a roof top… I want you to pretend there’s a wild animal that could come out at any time.” Saint appreciated Kazan’s subtle direction, though she also had close ties with director Alfred Hitchcock, who directed her in the film North by Northwest.

In her following career, Saint has made sporadic movie appearances (20 films from 1955-2005), preferring to work on television or the stage, which she believes challenges her to give emotionally complex performances. This striving for emotional depth is what got Saint noticed in the first place, with critics appreciating Saint’s emphasis on her acting ability and not her pretty face.

If one were to look for a modern day equivalent of Eva Marie Saint, actress Lupita Nyong’o would be an excellent comparison. Classically trained like Saint, Nyong’o also made her silver screen debut when she was thirty, appearing in the 2013 film 12 Years a Slave, which she also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (just like Saint). Additionally, Nyong’o screen appearances have remained limited after 12 Years a Slave, appearing in just two films after 2013. However, Lupita has remained active on the stage, acting in the play Eclipsed both On and Off Broadway, since 2015. Also, both Saint and Nyong’o emphasize their acting abilities over their appearances, giving emotionally powerful performances that are lauded by critics and audiences alike. Both women are trailblazers for the female actor, displaying how attention to character and emotionally-driven performances can bring a distinct type of acting to films.

Italian Neorealism

Italian Neorealism was a big influence on On the Waterfront, so it would be worth our time to look into this interesting movement.

It came out of post-WWII Italy. Italy throughout the ’30s was under Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime, and it suffered great economic instability as it made its first transitions into an industrial economy. The high cost of the war only made matters worse. Italy had terrible social and economic issues throughout WWII, and no one could speak up about it under the censorship of their government. So when Mussolini’s regime fell in 1943, filmmakers immediately began to broach the issues they felt were important. Italian Neorealism was born out of this situation.

This movement sought to depict the reality of Italy’s working class in the wake of the war. It had an anti-Hollywood aesthetic; no “happy endings” were allowed. These films focused on social problems and difficult moral decisions. Ordinary people were the subject, and the dialogue was simple, not literary. In general, Italian Neorelaism lacked big stylistic flare, opting instead to portray itself with simplicity.

The filmmakers who wanted to expose Italy did not have very much money to fund big projects, so their movies were filmed largely on location with nonprofessional actors. These characteristics were functional too because filming where the social problems actually took place with the people actually effected would present the situations authentically.

The only Italian Neorealist film I have personally seen is Bicycle Thieves (1948). It is one of the movement’s typical examples. It matches the characteristics point by point. The plot involves a father who has a very difficult time finding work and once he finds a job, he needs to own a bicycle to do it, so he gets one with all of the money he has left, but it is soon stolen. What follows are some devastating moral quandaries. The movie really has a helpless feel, and it puts you right into the mindset of the working class. This film goes highly recommended from me.

On the Waterfront very much takes from its Italian Neorealist predecessors. Obviously the subject matter deals with the working class and with difficult moral issues involved therein. But also On the Waterfront was filmed on location in Hoboken, NJ. Of course the main characters were played by professional actors, but many extras and minor roles were played by Hoboken residents. Clearly Kazan and Kaufman took some inspiration from Italy to give the film its gritty feel.