With Oscar nominations announced this week, no conversation about Academy Awards history is complete without mentioning On the Waterfront (1954)—filmed here in Hoboken.
The Oscar-winning role of Terry Malloy, the film’s reluctant protagonist, was first given to Hoboken’s own Frank Sinatra—until an equally reluctant Marlon Brando begrudgingly decided to take the role, as a favor to director Elia Kazan, who had cast Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire.
By that point, the production crew had gone as far to design costumes for Frank. When the announcement came down that he had in fact been replaced in the starring role of a film that was being shot in his own hometown, he was obviously unhappy.
The resulting Brando/Sinatra feud became legendary, as Frank would refer to Marlon as “Mumbles” from that point on.
“I Cover the Waterfront” was originally written by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman in 1933. This Sinatra version was recorded in 1957.