Friday, August 12, 2016

MORE REACHING OUT-- A MEMBER OF THE LAITY "REACHES OUT" TO A PRIEST ON THE WATERFRONT

Posted by Bob, aka Robert Klitzkie

"Charlie: Look, kid, I - how much you weigh, son? When you weighed one hundred and sixty-eight pounds you were beautiful. You coulda been another Billy Conn, and that skunk we got you for a manager, he brought you along too fast.
Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy in On The Waterfront
Terry: It wasn't him, Charley, it was you. Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, "Kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson." You remember that? "This ain't your night"! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors in the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palooka-ville! You was my brother, Charley, you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money.

Charlie: Oh I had some bets down for you. You saw some money.

Terry: You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley. It was you."
In some of the most famous dialogue Hollywood ever produced, Terry was riding his one-way ticket to Palooka-ville in the back seat of a taxi that was taking Charlie to his rendezvous with death.  Obviously, Charlie didn't reach out to Terry, looking out for his own self-interest instead.

As Terry tells us, Charley should have looked out for him a little bit.  Terry, instead of being a contender, is just another compromised stevedore on the Mafia-infested docks of New York in the middle of the last century. Johnny Friendly runs The Mob on the docks. Any stevedore who doesn't pay tribute to The Mob couldn't get a job at the show-up. Terry, though, doesn't always pay and sometimes gets to sleep on the job because Charlie is one of Johnny Friendly's henchmen.

When a stevedore gets out of line, i.e. shows signs that he might start to "sing," Johnny's henchmen take care of him.  When Joey Doyle looks like he might rat out Johnny  Friendly and The Mob, Terry becomes an unwitting accomplice in Joey's murder. Terry's grief unbearably intensifies when he falls in love with Joey's sister, Edie, just home from Sisters of St. Anne College.                                                                                           
Enter Father Barry. After Edie accuses Father of "hiding in his church," he reaches out.  Father takes his ministry to the docks. Fr. Barry tries to rally the men to stand up to Johnny Friendly and The Mob. It's hard because on the docks a man who isn't "D and D," i.e. deaf and dumb, is not respected. The first response to Fr. Barry's ministry is the murder of Kayo Dugan when a hoist "accidentally" malfunctions crushing Kayo on the deck inside the ship's hold under a pallet full of cases of whiskey.

In addition to Terry's, Fr. Barry's got some pretty good lines too: 

"Father Barry: Boys, this is my church! And if you don't think Christ is down here on the waterfront you've got another guess coming!"

In the hold of the ship where Kayo was killed:

"Father Barry: Some people think the Crucifixion only took place on Calvary. They better wise up! Taking Joey Doyle's life to stop him from testifying is a crucifixion. And dropping a sling on Kayo Dugan because he was ready to spill his guts tomorrow, that's a crucifixion. And every time the Mob puts the pressure on a good man, tries to stop him from doing his duty as a citizen, it's a crucifixion. And anybody who sits around and lets it happen, keeps silent about something he knows that happened, shares the guilt of it just as much as the Roman soldier who pierced the flesh of our Lord to see if he was dead."

And at the beginning of Terry's epiphany:

Terry: If I spill, my life ain't worth a nickel.
Father Barry: And how much is your soul worth if you don't?

Edie prodded  Fr. Barry into action causing Terry to fess up to Edie, testify before the Crime Commission, take on Johnny Friendly in an epic battle, at least temporarily lead the stevedores out of bondage to the Mafia and with his actions begin to regain his soul. It's about as happy an ending as could be, given the times, the setting and the characters. It's reaching out. The priest reached out. It's just a movie but...

13 comments:

  1. “AnonymousJuly 14, 2016 at 12:03 PM said:
    Someone needs to define "reach out." Did anyone offer the services of the church to them? Did anyone offer to put them in touch with professional help? And it appears from the interview that not even Fr. Mike even thought of asking Archbishop Hon to apologize to the victims for Apuron's attack on them. Apparently our priests think that showing up to stuff is reaching out.”
    This comment became the basis for my post on July 14 titled, "I'M REACHING OUT. At the end of the post I promised, "Later I’m going to take another crack at “reaching out.” Spoiler alert: If you don’t like Marlon Brando don’t read that post." A lot has happened since July 14 that caused me to post on other topics, but finally here's the promised Marlon Brando post. To make up for taking so long I've put together a sequel to this post that I'll post tomorrow.

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    Replies
    1. Robert your on fire! Great movie! And so fitting for the predicament in the Church today!

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    2. We did have a courageous deacon.

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  2. Replies
    1. Johnny Friendly was indeed an idiot, wasn't he?

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  3. Hi Bob, good post but it was the docks of New Jersey, Hoboken.

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    Replies
    1. Set in New York, filmed in Hoboken, based on a New York Sun exposé:
      “On the Waterfront (1954) is a classic, award-winning, controversial film directed by Elia Kazan - a part drama and part gangster film. The authentic-looking, powerful film is concerned with the problems of trade unionism, corruption and racketeering. And it is set on New York's oppressive waterfront docks, where dock workers struggled for work, dignity, and to make ends meet under the control of hard-knuckled, mob-run labor unions that would force them to submit to daily 'shape-ups' by cruel hiring bosses.
      “To add realism, it was filmed over 36 days on-location in Hoboken, New Jersey (in the cargo holds of ships, workers' slum dwellings, the bars, the littered alleys, and on the rooftops). And some of the labor boss' chief bodyguards/goons in the film (Abe Simon as Barney, Tony Galento as Truck, and Tami Mauriello as Tullio) were real-life, professional ex-heavyweight boxers. The low-budget film brought a depressing and critical, but much-needed message about society's ills to the forefront, and was hailed by most critics.
      ***
      “The film's story was based on New York Sun (now defunct) newspaper reporter Malcolm Johnson's expose, found in a series of 24 articles called Crime on the Waterfront. The series chronicled actual dockside events, labor racketeering in New York's dockyards, and corrupt practices, and won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. It revealed rampant bribery, extortions, kickbacks to union officials, payoffs, theft, union-sponsored loan sharks, murder, and the mob's tyrannical influence on New York's waterfront.” filmsource.org

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    2. I yield. I should have known better you are not often wrong.

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    3. Thank you for the kind words, 11:47 PM. I had a couple reasons for putting up this post. First, I really like the movie! Second, although it's not a true story, the characters and events are fact based. Most important, though, was the message that a courageous priest can have real impact. As explained in the first comment, this post arose from the controversy surrounding question, "What does 'reaching out'" mean, especially in the context of a priest?

      Our only example of clerical courageousness was Deacon Steve coming forward in the last days of the Apuron rigime when Roy and Doris were being beaten up.

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  4. Wrong analogy! Archbishop Hon is not a mob. Quit sniffing paint thinner.

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    Replies
    1. Quit drinking KAKA! The story is about the mob, the priest reachin' out is the analogy!

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    2. The movie On The Waterfront’s key characters are a crusading priest, some really bad gangsters and a loser who, because of the priest, begins to regain his soul. It’s an inspiring story.

      You, however, were somehow able to find an analogy that casts Archbishop Hon as a mob. Maybe you can tell us how you did that. We’ll leave the paint thinner for another day.

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  5. Better download a Sarcasm Filter from the app store for the next “Reaching Out” post which will pop up soon.

    The “Reaching out” theme stared a couple months ago as indicated in this comment:

    “Bob August 12, 2016 at 10:18 PM
    ‘Anonymous July 14, 2016 at 12:03 PM said:
    Someone needs to define "reach out." Did anyone offer the services of the church to them? Did anyone offer to put them in touch with professional help? And it appears from the interview that not even Fr. Mike even thought of asking Archbishop Hon to apologize to the victims for Apuron's attack on them. Apparently our priests think that showing up to stuff is reaching out.’

    “This comment became the basis for my post on July 14 titled, "I'M REACHING OUT. At the end of the post I promised, "Later I’m going to take another crack at “reaching out.” Spoiler alert: If you don’t like Marlon Brando don’t read that post." A lot has happened since July 14 that caused me to post on other topics, but finally here's the promised Marlon Brando post. To make up for taking so long I've put together a sequel to this post that I'll post tomorrow.”

    The next and probably final chapter in the Reahcing Out Saga
    “MORE REACHING OUT ON THE WATERFRONT--THE SATIRICAL SEQUEL”
    will be posted shortly. Turn on your Sarcasm Filter.

    ReplyDelete

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