August 6, 2008
It's been so long since I put a fresh post on this blog I'd almost forgotten how. Time to go for a safe subject that everybody in Hoboken can relate to.
On the Waterfront was one of those unforgettable movies that put Marlon Brando up in the top tier of movies stars of its day. But that's history -- the part of On the Waterfront that my readers relate to is that it is set in Hoboken. Not one of my emails from Hobokenites and/or former ones fails to mention what they were doing when the movie was filmed here.
This from Jim B: I don't have any real personal memories about On the Waterfront, but I always enjoyed watching it, It was based on a story of a priest from Xavier in NYC. There were so many real things in it, the pidgeon coops on the roofs, a lot was filmed at St Peter and Paul. Some scenes were pretty funny, from one view the picture was at the 10th Street Park, and another view from Church Square Park. The Holland American lines landed in Hoboken, and we sometimes saw the arrival, where photographers would take pictures of the movie stars on the ships.
Slezak adds: THE PIDGEONS was our city bird...pidgeon coops on our roofs...a hobby for them downtown, JUST LIKE YOU SEEN IN THE MOVIE On the Waterfront. Eva Marie Saint and Marlon (Bud ) Brando (BUD was the name his friends called him). That photo was taken on what is now called Sinatra Park...right on the waterfront, maybe 100 feet from the Hudson River’s edge. YES I skipped school that day along with my friends who did the same to watch them film parts of that movie. On the Waterfront was named best American movie ever made. The film crew was very nice to us. They just said to us be quiet and just stand back that was 1954. I was age 15 that part of the movie took about 15 takes and all day to do it. She did a lot of running. Brando had the easy part. He just stood there.
This came from Connie whose family has owned a bakery in Hoboken for generations:
When On the Waterfront was being filmed in 4th St. Park, I would stop by on my lunch hour to watch what was going on. My father was one of the extras in the movie (he worked on the docks and then was in the courtroom scene).
And writes Vincent, born and raised in Hoboken and a lifelong film buff: I watched a lot of On the Waterfront being filmed. The best time I had was when they were doing late night filming in the Court St. alley behind the Fabian Theatre. It was the scene where Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint were chased by the truck. I was right behind the camera while they were filming and it was great. At my last class reunion one of my friends recalled that during the filming most of the cast went to her house for her mother's cooking.
This will no doubt trigger even more memories of that event in Hoboken history. I wonder if everybody skipped school or Mr. Stover went ahead and declared it a holiday.