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Noon Edition

Bernstein: Suite from “On the Waterfront”

Although his career embraced podium, concert hall, popular music and teaching, Leonard Bernstein only wrote one original film score. The film, Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront,” was a biting examination of union corruption and personal conscience—intended by Kazan as an artistic self-defense for naming names for the McCarthy commission. Bernstein’s score has both lyrical sweep and rough film-noir edges, displaying his interest in both classical and popular traditions. While Bernstein’s score was nominated for an Academy Award, the real star of the show was a young Marlon Brando. Brando’s performance, with the famous line “I coulda been someone. I coulda been a contender,” marked a memorable point in his rising career, earning him his first Oscar win.

Music Heard On This Episode

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