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Lights, Camera, Brando

Coolidge Corner Theatre Big Screen Classics shows On the Waterfront tonight


Catch a special screening of the movie that marked Marlon Brando’s transition from “contender” to Hollywood legend tonight at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. On the Waterfront, which won the Academy Award for best picture, is part of the theater’s Big Screen Classics series, which showcases films from Old Hollywood megahits to unexpected cult favorites most Monday nights this summer.

Columbia Pictures’ On the Waterfront (1954), starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Eva Marie Saint, is the story of an ex-prizefighter turned longshoreman (Brando) who must decide whether to testify against his crooked union bosses or play deaf and dumb after witnessing the murder of a fellow dock worker. A classic tale of corruption, depravity, and redemption, the film is based on a series Malcolm Johnson wrote for the now-defunct New York Sun, which won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.

The movie was a critical and commercial smash when it debuted in 1954, receiving 12 Academy Award nominations and winning 8, including Best Actor (Brando), Best Supporting Actress (Saint), Best Director (Elia Kazan), and Best Picture. The film is credited with cementing Brando’s status as a great American actor, and along with Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972), the role is one of his most iconic.

Brando’s Smile: His Life, Thought, and Work, Susan L. Mizruchi author, Boston University College of Arts and Sciences, CAS

Susan L. Mizruchi, a CAS professor of English, will introduce On the Waterfront at the Coolidge Corner Theatre at 7 p.m. She will read from, and sign, her new book, Brando’s Smile: His Life, Thought, and Work, at 5:30 p.m. at Brookline Booksmith. Photo courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company

On the Waterfront will be introduced by Susan L. Mizruchi, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of English, the author of Brando’s Smile: His Life, Thought, and Work (W. W. Norton & Co., 2014), which explores some of the lesser-known aspects of Brando’s complex public and private personas. From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Brookline Booksmith (directly across the street from the theater) is hosting a discussion, question-and-answer session, and book signing with Mizruchi, free and open to the public.

This is a chance for those who can never get enough of two-time Oscar winner Brando, named the fourth greatest actor of all time by the American Film Institute, to see one of his greatest roles on the big screen.

On the Waterfront will be shown tonight, Monday, June 23, at 7 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. Susan Mizruchi will discuss her book at Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St., Brookline, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. By foot, walk down Babcock Street to Harvard Street and turn left. The theater is on the right, the bookstore on the left. By public transportation, take an MBTA Green Line C trolley to Coolidge Corner. Tickets are $10.25 for adults and $8.25 for seniors and children. Purchase them here.

Samantha Pickette can be reached at pickette@bu.edu.

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