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5— Made in Hoboken
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Test Question

"Contributing to the credibility of 'On the Waterfront,'" wrote critic John McCarten (see page 102)—who wrote the following week in The New Yorker (August 7, 1954) that Hitchcock's studio-shot Rear Window was "claptrap," and "another example of his footless ambition to make a movie that stands absolutely still"—"is the fact that it was actually made in Hoboken." On a scale of 0 to 10, leading from absolute truth (0) to total falsity (10) and encountering most of life (and death) en route, rate each of the following variants of this statement:


1. "Contributing to the credibility of the Montgomery March is the fact that it actually took place in Montgomery."

2. "Contributing to the credibility of The Phenix City Story is the fact that it was actually made in Phenix City."

3. "Contributing to the credibility of the two park scenes in On The Waterfront (a film that Sandy and I see again, in 35mm, on November 5, 1979, at the Museum of Modern Art's Film Study Center)—both of which feature Marlon Brando in a checkered lumber jacket and burning leaves in trashcans—is the fact that, as far as we can make out, they were actually shot in three (or four) different parks and intercut in such a way that they appear to be one. Two of the parks are a couple of blocks away, in opposite directions, from where we live now: Hudson Square Park (or Stevens Park, as some call it), where you see Karl Malden's church in the background, and Elysian Park in the reverse angles, where you see an iron fence and the Manhattan skyline in the background. The playground swings where Brando and Eva Marie Saint talk and he plays with her glove are in the part of the film that Patricia Patterson recently told us she watched being shot in Jersey City Heights, on Palisades Avenue and Bower Street, where you can see the Hoboken skyline. And Alice Genese, a neighbor, recalls part of the movie being shot in Church Square Park in Hoboken, four blocks west of Hudson Square."

4. "Contributing to the credibility of The Birth of a Nation is the fact that it was actually made in California."

5. "Contributing to the credibility of Intolerance is the fact that it was actually made in 1916."

6. "Contributing to the credibility of Moving Places is the fact that it was actually made in Alabama, California, the District of Columbia, England, France, Italy, New Jersey, and New York."

7. "Contributing to the credibility of Made in Hoboken is the fact that it was actually made in a hurry (the entire manuscript of the book being due, in final draft, by January 1, 1980)."

8. "Contributing to the credibility of Rear Window and Playtime is the fact that they were both actually made in studios."

9. "Contributing to the credibility of Avalanche Express is the fact that it was actually seen by me at the Hoboken Cinema 1 on a Saturday afternoon, November 10, when I was sharing the space with about a dozen male kids, most of them noisy and restless. There's a fake scream and then a cry, 'I'm scared to be in the dark! ' as the lights dim in deference to the start of the last movie directed by Mark Robson, who started out with The Seventh Victim in 1943, the year I was born. Later on, a kid with a Hispanic accent reads aloud the English subtitles when Russian is spoken; the usher, who looks no older than twelve himself, periodically comes around with a flashlight and tells other kids either to stop smoking or to put their feet down; at least two kids make loud smooching sounds when Lee Marvin and Linda Evans kiss.


Still later, when Robert Shaw, in his last performance, begins to whistle, there are brief whistles, too. Contributing to the credibility of these public nuisances, who don't bother to stick around for the final credits (with the house lights on), is the fact that they're only trying to do the same as the rest of us, to imitate what they see and hear on the screen. But is it the movie that they're testing out, or themselves? As I get up to leave, the manager steps up to me—rather like the way that Bo approaches Hubert at the Douglas Princess—and, gesturing at my notebook, asks me if I'm a film critic. Oddly, I feel that some aspect of my privacy has been invaded, my anonymity as a spectator violated—which, to tell the truth, contributes to one's credibility."

10. "Contributing to the credibility of Elia Kazan's Wild River is the fact that it was actually shot in the Tennessee Valley, and seen there, too, at the Colbert in Sheffield, the last show on Wednesday night, June 15—right after coming home from my first year at Putney, and only a week or two after consuming peyote in Vermont."

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5— Made in Hoboken
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