On the Waterfront and Hopscotch may be very different films, but they have at least one thing in common: terrific acting.When it comes down to it, great acting leads the audience to simply believe a line when the actor says it. In his performance as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront, Marlon Brando makes you believe the line before it’s ever spoken.
Brando plays an ex-boxer now working on gang-ridden docks near New York City. He is guilt-stricken after luring a rebellious worker to his death. When he becomes involved with the dead man’s sister, Malloy realizes how far he has fallen. Ultimately, it’s a story about redemption.
Winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, On the Waterfront is simply exquisite filmmaking. Both the DVD and Blu-ray are packed with revealing and informative bonus features.
For something a little lighter, Hopscotch is the perfect choice. Walter Matthau stars as a smart CIA agent who goes rogue when his superior tries to take him out of the espionage game.
Matthau’s performance is ripe with humor and intelligence. The film also is ripe with some objectionable language, mainly from Matthau’s boss, played by Ned Beatty. But on DVDs by the Criterion Collection label, a special feature allows you to view the DVD with an optional audio track that eliminates the swear words. Even though the film is rated R, mainly for the language, viewers can enjoy it without the obscenity.
Listen to Phil Boatwright’s DVD review in its entirety on The World and Everything in It: