Baby Doll

  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Producers: Elia Kazan, Tennessee Williams
  • Writers: Tennessee Williams
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach

In the Mississippi Delta, failing, bigoted, middle-aged cotton gin-owner Archie Lee Meighan (Karl Malden) has been married to pretty, empty-headed 19-year old virgin Baby Doll Meighan (Carroll Baker) for two years. Archie impatiently waits for Baby Doll’s 20th birthday just a few days away when, by prior agreement with Baby Doll’s dying father, the marriage can finally be consummated. In the meantime, Baby Doll still sleeps in a crib, wearing childish shorty-nightgowns and sucking her thumb, while Archie spies on her through a hole in a wall of their decrepit antebellum mansion, “Fox Tail”.

Archie’s competitor, Sicilian Silva Vacarro (Eli Wallach), who owns a newer and more modern cotton gin, has taken away all of Archie’s business, and Archie retaliates by burning down Vacarro’s gin. Suspecting Archie as the arsonist, Vacarro plans his revenge: he will pursue and seduce Baby Doll and terrorize her into signing an affadavit admitting her husband’s guilt.[4][5][6][2]

Patton

  • Directors: Franklin J Schaffner
  • Producers: Frank Caffey, Frank McCarthy
  • Writers: Ladislas Farago, Omar N Bradley, Screenplay, Francis Ford Coppola, Edmund H North
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, War
  • Actors: George C Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates, Karl Michael Vogler

The film documents the story of General George S. Patton (George C. Scott) during World War II, beginning with his taking charge of demoralized American forces in North Africa after the Battle of the Kasserine Pass, leading them to victory at the Battle of El Guettar. He then participates in the invasion of Sicily and races against the equally egotistical British General Bernard Law Montgomery to capture the Sicilian port of Messina. Patton is shown as believing in reincarnation, while remaining a devout Christian. At one point in the movie, during the North Africa campaign, Patton takes his staff on an unexpected detour to the site of the ancient Battle of Zama. There he reminisces about the battle, insisting to Omar Bradley that he was there.

After he beats Montgomery into Messina, Patton is relieved of command for slapping a shell-shocked soldier (Tim Considine) in an Army hospital. This incident, along with his tendency to speak his mind to the press, gets the general in trouble and he is sidelined during the invasion of Europe, being placed in command of the fictional First United States Army Group in south-east England. Later, he begs his former subordinate, General Omar Bradley (Karl Malden), for a command before the war ends. He is given the U.S. Third Army and distinguishes himself by rapidly sweeping across France and later relieving the vital town of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Later, Patton smashes through the German “West Wall” and drives into Germany itself.

Just prior to victory in Europe, Patton remarks to a British crowd that America and Great Britain would dominate the post-war world, which the press finds insulting to the Russians. After the Germans capitulate, he insults a Russian officer at a celebration; fortunately, the Russian insults Patton right back, leading to mutual respect and defusing the situation. Later, Patton casually compares the defeated Nazis to American Republicans and Democrats, costing him his command.

A Streetcar Named Desire

  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Producers: Charles K Feldman
  • Writers: Tennessee Williams
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden

As in the play, the film presents Blanche DuBois, a fading but still-attractive Southern belle whose pretensions to virtue and culture only thinly mask delusions of grandeur and alcoholism. Her poise is an illusion she presents to shield others, but most of all herself, from her reality, and an attempt to make herself still attractive to new male suitors. Blanche arrives from their hometown of Auriol, Mississippi (Laurel, Mississippi in the play) at the apartment of her sister Stella Kowalski in the Faubourg Marigny of New Orleans, on Elysian Fields Avenue; the local transportation she takes to arrive there includes a streetcar route named “Desire”. The steamy, urban ambiance is a shock to Blanche’s nerves. Explaining that her ancestral southern plantation, Belle Reve in Auriol, Mississippi, has been “lost” due to the “epic fornications” of her ancestors, Blanche is welcomed with some trepidation by Stella, who fears the reaction of her husband Stanley. Blanche explains to them how her supervisor told her she could take time off from her job as an English teacher because of her upset nerves, when in fact, she has been fired for having an affair with a 17-year-old student. This turns out not to be the only seduction she has engaged in—and, along with other problems, has left Auriol to escape. A brief marriage scarred by the suicide of her spouse, Allen Grey, has led Blanche to live in a world in which her fantasies and illusions are seamlessly mixed with her reality.

Devastated with her sister’s fate, Stella weeps and rejects Stanley’s intention to comfort her and pushes him away. As he cries her name once more (“Stella! Hey Stella!”), Stella clings to her child and vows that she will never return to Stanley again. She goes upstairs to once again seek refuge with her neighbor.

On the Waterfront

  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Producers: Sam Spiegel
  • Writers: Budd Schulberg
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J Cobb, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Steiger

This classic story of Mob informers was based on a number of true stories and filmed on location in and around the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey. Mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) gloats about his iron fisted control of the waterfront. The police and the Waterfront Crime Commission know that Friendly is behind a number of murders, but witnesses play deaf and dumb (“D&D”), submitting to their oppressed position rather that risk the danger and shame of informing. Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) is a dockworker whose brother Charley (Rod Steiger) is Friendly‘s lawyer. Some years earlier, Terry had been a promising boxer until Friendly had Charley instruct Terry to deliberately lose a fight that he could have won, so that Friendly could win money betting on the weaker opponent. As the film begins, simpleminded Terry is used to coax a popular dockworker out to an ambush, preventing him from testifying against Friendly before the Crime Commission. Terry resents being so used in the murder but is still willing to remain D&D. Terry meets and is smitten by the murdered dockworker’s lovely sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint), who has shamed “waterfront priest” Father Barry (Karl Malden) into fomenting action against the union/mob. Soon both Edie and Father Barry are urging Terry to testify. Another dockworker who agrees to testify after Father Barry’s promise of unwavering support, but Friendly arranges for him to be crushed by a load of whiskey in staged accident.

As Terry, tormented by his awakening conscience increasingly leans toward testifying, Friendly decides that Terry must be killed unless Charley can coerce him to keep quiet. Charley tries bribing Terry with a plum job, and finally threatens him, but recognizes he has failed to sway Terry, who places the blame for his own downward spiral on his well-off brother. In one of the most famous scenes in movie history, Terry reminds Charley that if it had not been for the fixing of the fight, “I coulda been a contender.” Charley gives Terry a gun and advises him to run. Friendly has been spying on the situation, so has Charley murdered, his body hung in an alley as bait to get at Terry. Terry sets out to shoot Friendly, but Father Barry obstructs that course of action and finally convinces Terry to fight Friendly by testifying. In a final face-to-face confrontation with Friendly, Terry is finally getting the upper hand in a vicious brawl but is beaten nearly to death by Friendly’s goons. The dockworkers declare support of Terry, and only commence work when Terry forces himeself to enter the dock. Friendly is defeated as the controller of the longshoremen.