August 6, 2009

BEING SOMEBODY:

On The Waterfront earned Budd Schulberg a one-way ticket from Palookaville: Budd Schulberg passed away aged 95 this week, and he will be missed enormously (Kevin Mitchell, 6 August 2009, The Guardian)

Schulberg knew exactly what would be in his final book. He'd touched on the anecdotes many times before, in interviews and collections of his writing. This time, though, he would tell all. The book would be packed with great tales of growing up in Hollywood, of getting gloriously drunk – and sacked – with F Scott Fitzgerald, of swapping literal and nearly physical blows with Ernest Hemingway, of sparring with the big, kind heavyweight he managed, Archie McBride, of ratting on his communist former friends to the House Un-American Activities Committee in the odious McCarthy era, and how he came to write On The Waterfront.

It was in that movie that Schulberg put into the mouth of Marlon Brando a speech that will never be forgotten.

This is what Brando's Terry Malloy said to his gangster brother Charley, played by Rod Steiger, in the back of a taxi in that movie, and which was responsible for Schulberg winning an Oscar for best screenplay in 1954.

"It wasn't him, Charley!" he tells him, pleading that the blame for his failed boxing career lay closer to home. "It was you. You remember that night in the Garden, you came down to my dressing room and 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 Palookaville … I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am …"

It's up there with Hamlet's soliloquy, whatever any smart literary types say. It's poetic, passionate, intuitive, and, most importantly, has a ring of authenticity about it that makes you understand all the anger and frustrations that consume fighters, men who are powerful and powerless at the same time. The truth always was Schulberg's driving force.


And, of course, how does Terry demonstrate that he is somebody, and not a bum? It's revealing how film critics and others have to avoid the meaning of the greatest movie of the '50s lest they acknowledge that they prefer Rod Steiger and the mobsters. In an odd way, it's a form of respect, for they recognize their own ilk to be the rats and Mr. Schulberg, Elia Kazan and the rest who testified against the Communist Party to be heroes.

VIDEO: Last Word: Budd Schulberg (NY Times)

MORE:
-OBIT: Budd Schulberg, Screenwriter, Dies at 95 (TIM WEINER, August 5, 2009, NY Times)
-OBIT: Budd Schulberg, ‘On the Waterfront’ Screenwriter, Dies at 95 (Anahad O'Connor, 8/05/09, NY Times: Arts Beat)
-OBIT: Academy Award-Winning Screenwriter of 'On the Waterfront' (Adam Bernstein, 8/05/09, Washington Post)
-OBIT: Budd Schulberg dies at 95; author of 'What Makes Sammy Run?': The scathing look at the film industry drew the Hollywood establishment's anger. The writer, who named names before the House Un-American Activities Committee, won an Oscar for 'On the Waterfront.' (Dennis McLellan, August 6, 2009, LA Times)
-OBIT: 'On the Waterfront' screenwriter dies in NY at 95 (HILLEL ITALIE, 8/05/09, The Associated Press )
-ESSAY: Sweet and Sour: The world’s best junior middleweights put on a remarkable exhibition of boxing, but not without controversy. Oscar De La Hoya cried foul, but for Sugar Shane Mosley there was vindication (Budd Schulberg, 9/21/03, Sunday Herald)
-ESSAY: The Dartmouth Winter Carnival: DISENCHANTED? NO! Not Budd Schulberg (Dartmouth '36), whose visit to his old alma mater 16 years ago with the celebrated writer of the '20s, F. Scott Fitzgerald (right), prompted Schulberg's fine novel built around Fitzgerald's tragic life, The Disenchanted. That visit with his old friend was a sad adventure, a final chapter in Fitzgerald's hectic years; but drawn back to the scene today, Schulberg finds hope and vigor in the new generation of celebrants at that famous frolic (Budd Schulberg, February 21, 1955, Sports Illustrated)
-ESSAY: The Bengal Bouts: On the campus, boxing is still a sport (Budd Schulberg, April 04, 1955, Sports Illustrated)
-REVIEW: of Sound and Fury by Dave Kindred (Budd Schulberg, NY Times Review of Books)
-REVIEW: of DESPITE THE SYSTEM: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios By Clinton Heylin (Budd Schulberg, NY Times Review of Books)
-GOOGLE BOOKS: Budd Schulberg
-WIKIPEDIA: Budd Schulberg
-Budd Schulberg (kirjasto)
-Budd Schulberg (Spartacus School)
-What Makes Sammy Run?
-FIILMOGRAPHY: Budd Schulberg (IMDB)
-Budd Schulberg (NJ Boxing Hall of Fame)
-PROFILE: What Makes Budd Schulberg Run? (MICHAEL ESKENAZI, March 25, 2001, NY Times)
-PROFILE: CHRONICLE (NADINE BROZAN, March 16, 1995, NY Times)
-PROFILE: Lost Weekend: F. Scott and Budd Go to Dartmouth (JASON TANZ, February 7, 2003, NY Times)
-PROFILE: Fitz and Schul Defeat Sobriety and Bad Cinema: The Story of F. Scott Fitzgerald at Winter Carnival (Nicholas Desai, February 8, 2008, Dartmouth Review)
-PROFILE: On the Boxing Front: Writer Budd Schulberg on Contenders and Pretenders (William Gildea, June 9, 2002, washingtonpost.com)
-PROFILE: Unrepentant: Between writing the classic Hollywood novel What Makes Sunny Run? in 1941 and the classic Hollywood move On the Waterfront in 1954, Budd Schulberg did one thing for which he’s still notorious, and resolutely unapologetic: in 1951, he named names bef (Gare Joyce, June 2004, Walrus)
-PROFILE: A Face in the In Crowd (Paul Cullum, July 06, 2006, LA Weekly)
-ESSAY: Art of Justice: The Filmmakers At Nuremberg (Philip Kennicott, November 29, 2005 , Washington Post)
-INTERVIEW: Beliefs; Budd Schulberg, at 89, reflects on a most unforgettable New York priest. (Peter Steinfels, May 3, 2003, NY Times)
-INTERVIEW: New York Conversations: Budd Schulberg (Mikael Colville-Andersen, 28 September 1998, EuroScreenwriters)
-INTERVIEW: Marlon and me: Budd Schulberg tells his amazing life story: Born of Hollywood royalty, he drank with F Scott Fitzgerald, sparred with Hemingway, tamed Brando, and consoled Muhammad Ali. He also wrote some of the greatest lines ever committed to celluloid. So why does Budd Schulberg remain a virtual unknown? (The Robert Chalmers interview, 2/15/09, Independent)
-INTERVIEW: Budd Schulberg: The Making of On the Waterfront (American Legends)
-ARCHIVES: Times Topics: Budd Schhulberg (NY Times)
-ARCHIVES: Budd Schulberg (Find Articles)

-REVIEW: of RINGSIDE: A Treasury of Boxing Reportage By Budd Schulberg (Gordon Marino, NY Times Book Review)
-REVIEW: of Ringside (Andrew Baker, Daily Telegraph)
-REVIEW: Back to '59: Sammy Is Running Again (JOSEPH BERGER, April 6, 2005, NY Times)
-REVIEW: ON THE WATERFRONT; A Classic Film Is Transposed To 3 Dimensions (VINCENT CANBY, May 2, 1995, NY Times)
-REVIEW: of WRITERS IN AMERICA: THE FOUR SEASONS OF SUCCESS. By Budd Schulberg (RICHARD F. SHEPARD, NY Times Book Review)
-REVIEW: of MOVING PICTURES Memories of a Hollywood Prince. By Budd Schulberg (Janet Maslin, NY Times)

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 6, 2009 9:27 AM
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