Recently I had the chance to see this old timer at the big screen here in Amsterdam, at the new white spaceship design of the Eye film institute. It was a good watch and I was happily surprised to see so many great garments from the 50′s. On The Waterfront stars the young Marlon Brando, who was in the midst of his rise to fame after appearances in A Streetcar Named Desire and The Wild One. The film is nowadays considered a real masterpiece because it was one of the first to use the so-called “method acting”. A style that requires the actors to search for their own inner emotions and mimic the emotional state of their character. Contrary to the classical acting that was still in favor at the time, where actors use vocal intonation and facial expressions to simulate emotions.
The film portrays the docks of Hoboken in New Jersey and their struggle with the corrupted labour union around. Brando stars as a ex-boxer Terry Malloy now having a good position at the docks thanks to his brother, who’s involved in the union corruption business. When a popular docker get’s killed by the mob, Terry is being suspected and eventually his conscience starts to trouble him. Terry was a former member of the “Golden Warriors”, some rebel youngsters dressed extremely cool in collared varsity jackets, selvage denim and rock ‘n roll haircuts. Brando himself is either dressed in a short red and black lumberjack jacket or the US Army Type B-15 jacket with sheepskin collar. But best clothing pieces are found with the dockworkers still. Old style leather jackets, double-breasted duffle coats, shawl collar duffle coats with leather welt pockets, utility vests, guernsey knit sweaters, other fine woolen knits and a whole lot of headwear including many engineer/railroad cap styles. Love the convention of every man wearing something on his head, good days must they have been.