Friday, January 16, 2015

On the Waterfront.

This blog has been fairly silent so far this year, and I can't promise that posting will become much more frequent in the coming weeks. That said, I would like to call your attention to a new venture by a fellow Jesuit scholastic here in Toronto, John O'Brien, who is currently curating a winter film series at Regis College. John will be posting spiritual reflections and questions on each of the films in the series on his blog, Veritas Liberabit, so readers who cannot attend the screenings in Toronto can still participate in the series vicariously by watching the films on their own and considering John's interpretations of them.

The first film in the series at Regis is Elia Kazan's 1954 classic On the Waterfront, which was shown this past Wednesday. I encourage you to read what John O'Brien has to say about the film, but I would also like to add one additional note: Father Peter Barry, the waterfront priest portrayed in the film by Karl Malden, was based upon a New York Jesuit, Father John M. "Pete" Corridan. Father Corridan's life and the larger story behind the film were both chronicled by a former professor of mine, Dr. James T. Fisher, in a book entitled On the Irish Waterfront: The Crusader, the Movie, and the Soul of the Port of New York. I have some personal history with this book, which I read in draft form during a course I took with Jim Fisher at Fordham; I can also remember watching On the Waterfront in class with the benefit of Jim's expert commentary, and a couple of fieldtrips we took to the New York waterfront helped to bring the story to life. To learn a bit more, read this 2009 interview in which Jim Fisher discusses Pete Corridan and On the Waterfront. For more on the Regis Film Series, keep an eye on John O'Brien's blog Veritas Liberabit. AMDG.


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