Pat Archbold at National Catholic Register has raised the question of who is your favorite and least favorite movie priests. I’ll pass on least favorite; too many nauseating candidates. My favorite is easy. Karl Malden gave the performance of a lifetime as Father Barry in On the Waterfront (1954) preaching an impromptu sermon over the dead body of a murdered longshoreman whose union is controlled by mobsters. Malden’s portrayal of a fearless tough priest telling the Gospel message to men cowed by their fear of the gangsters who control them is completely magnificent and unforgettable. Continue Reading
Hattip to the ever reticent lads and lasses at Lair of the Catholic Cavemen. Probably the most powerful sermon ever placed on film, Father Barry speaks of Christ and his crucifixion on the docks. The best performance Karl Malden ever gave. Elia Kazan’s masterpiece, On the Waterfront (1954) was also his response to the criticism he received for naming names before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952.