Movies I've Seen A Million Times
12:14 pm
Sat July 14, 2012

The Movie Mira Sorvino Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 8:08 am

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen a Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

Actress Mira Sorvino's credits include Mighty Aphrodite (for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress), Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Mimic and Union Square, which opened in theaters this weekend. The movie Sorvino could watch a million times is Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront. "That was my first introduction to Brando," Sorvino says, "so that was kind of a revelation for me."


Interview Highlights

On why she loves Marlon Brando's performance in On the Waterfront

"He's toying with the audience a little bit, he's toying with the camera. He's very much aware that he is all that and he's kind of giving you this rakish charm which, it's a delight to watch because he's so good and because he's so charismatic."

On what she's learned from watching the film

"You know I think all of us in life are constantly — at different points in our lives — confronted with situations where we have to make choices which define us. And you know that you have to remain a morally upstanding person. Otherwise, what do you have?"



Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

All summer long, we've been asking actors, writers and directors about the films that they could watch over and over again a million times, including this one from an Academy Award winner.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MIRA SORVINO: Hi, I'm Mira Sorvino. I'm an actress. And the movie I've seen a million times is "On the Waterfront" directed by Elia Kazan, starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint and Rod Steiger. That was my first introduction to Brando, so that was kind of a revelation for me.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

MARLON BRANDO: (as Terry Malloy) Listen. Down here, it's every man for himself. It's keeping alive.

SORVINO: He's toying with the audience a little bit. He's toying with the camera. He's very much aware that he is all that. And he's kind of giving you this rakish charm, which is a delight to watch because he's just so good and because he's so charismatic.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

BRANDO: (as Terry Malloy) You don't, you don't remember me, do you?

EVA MARIE SAINT: (as Edie Doyle) I remembered you the first moment I saw you.

BRANDO: (as Terry Malloy) By the nose, huh?

SORVINO: I think I wanted to be like Eva Marie Saint. I think I wanted to look like her. I think I wanted to be kissed like he kissed her.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

BRANDO: (as Terry Malloy) Edie, you love me. I want you to...

SAINT: (as Edie Doyle) I didn't say I didn't love you. I said stay away from me.

BRANDO: (as Terry Malloy) I want you to say it to me.

SAINT: (as Edie Doyle) Stay away from me.

SORVINO: In the beginning of the film, we're introduced to Terry Malloy, who's Brando's character, who's this former boxer. And he's calling up to a windowsill...

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

BRANDO: (as Terry) Joey.

SORVINO: ...and he's got a pigeon in his hand, and he's telling this boy Joey that he found one of his pigeons.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

BRANDO: Yeah, he flew into my coop. You want him?

SORVINO: And what we find out is that this local mobster, Johnny Friendly, has his henchman up on the roof. And Terry Malloy - Brando - thinks that they're just going to rough the kid up because he was going to talk to the Waterfront Crime Commission and maybe rat out Johnny Friendly's illegal tactics with the longshoremen, but actually, they throw him off the roof.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

(SOUNDBITE OF SCREAMING)

SORVINO: And this sets up the entire film, which is about the conflict between the abuses to the longshoremen who work the docks, which are being visited upon them by the mob run by Johnny Friendly and Brando's brother played by Rod Steiger.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

BRANDO: (as Terry Malloy) Before we get the...

ROD STEIGER: (as Charley Malloy) Listen to me, Terry.

BRANDO: (as Terry Malloy) Take the job. Just take it. No questions. Take it.

SORVINO: That scene in the car, you know, the I could've been somebody.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

BRANDO: (as Terry Malloy) You don't understand. I could've had class. I could've been a competitor. I could've been somebody...

SORVINO: I'm getting chills just thinking about it right now because it's such a powerful scene.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

BRANDO: (as Terry) ...instead of a bum, which is what I am. Let's face it.

SORVINO: When Rod Steiger's character lets him out of the car, he's basically signing his own death warrant. But it's just an amazing moment. You know, I think all of us in life are constantly, you know, at different points in our lives confronted with situations where we have to make choices which define us, and, you know, that you have to remain a morally upstanding person, otherwise what do you have?

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

BRANDO: (as Terry Malloy) You hear that? I'm glad what I done.

SORVINO: My favorite scene, I don't know. I think the ending is so incredibly powerful. Like, he gets beaten terribly and sort of left for dead on the docks, but then he has to take this walk because basically, the, you know, all the dock workers say they'll only go to work if Terry goes.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (as Character) How about Terry?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (as Character) He don't work, we don't work.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: (as Character) Work? He can't even walk.

SORVINO: And so he's half-dead, but he has to take this stumbling walk up from where the mob's office is back onto the dock and into the warehouse. And it's just this incredible walk of, you know, man's struggle to resist and to fight back, you know, against the powers that be.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

BRANDO: (as Terry Malloy) Get me on my feet.

SORVINO: It's just so heroic that I think it's hard to beat that.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RAZ: That's actress Mira Sorvino talking about the movie that she could watch a million times, "On the Waterfront." Her new film, "Union Square," opened in theaters this weekend. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

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