Karl Malden was one of those actors who was always in the background. Commonly, known for portraying the good influence his career was one that is renowned. In On The Waterfront his portrayal as a priest is no different.
In the opening scene we are introduced to a mob boss who has control over who works and who doesn’t. He plays his game in a ruthless way that causes death and mistrust among the men. One of those men is Terry Malloy who was once a promising boxer. Unfortunately, he threw a fight one time that ruined his career. One day he is introduced to a young woman Edie, who’s brother has been murdered. Along with her is Father Barry who fights against the mob boss on a daily basis. When no one would talk he demands they take action. Terry and Edie start dating, unbeknownst to Edie, Terry was involved in the death of her brother. When Terry tells Edie that he was a tool in his death she breaks up with him. Father Barry gives an impassioned speech about Christ walking among them on a daily basis. He tells them that Christ frowns upon them for not speaking up on what is right. Terry struggles with the decision of whether or not to speak up until one of his friends his murdered. This leads Terry to have a fight with the mob boss who tells him that he is no one without him. Yet, Terry inspired by the Father Barry and Edie takes a stand that results in him inspiring his fellow workers. Terry walks away bloody, bruised, and triumphant with Father Barry and Edie by his side.
On the Waterfront is one of most well respected movies of all time. This film is a timeless classic involving faith and morality. Karl Malden portrayed a priest who dedicated his life to ruining the mob in the name of Christ. Born on March 22, 1912, Karl Malden was one who never received the spotlight yet he was inspiring in the background.