The next evening the introductory events continued. We had experienced the sherry in the living room with the college president. Now we were huddled in the basement, sitting on the floor in front of a portable movie screen watching “On The Waterfront,” a 1954 Brando portrayal of longshoremen on the docks of New Jersey. Involving crime, love, and a Catholic priest, it was the first time I had been introduced to the idea of “film.”
I came from Oregon where we went to the movies. We enjoyed them for the scenery, the music, the plots and the actors(especially the handsome ones.) I had no concept of “film,” much less of an intellectual discussion after viewing a “film,” such as I was expected to take part in. I had no point of connection with the story, being unfamiliar with Catholic priests(I knew none,) longshoremen(my father a marine attorney represented the shipping lines), or organized crime(I had heard of it, but that was all.) I understood that the love story wasn’t the main point, though it was the only aspect I was familiar with having seen it in “movies” for years. I was almost literally struck dumb and said nothing. Girls around me dove into the cinematography, the direction, the point of view, etc. etc. etc. Me? I went back to my room, tucked myself into that upper bunk and went to sleep.
Something told me I wasn’t in Oregon any more!