Rod (Rodney) Steiger was an American actor and an important figure in the American cinema. He was one of the few actors who practiced the method acting, which meant that he embodied the characters he portrayed. Rod received his first Oscar for the ‘In the Heat of the Night’. However, after this win, he was majorly criticized, and his performances were not critically acclaimed.
One of his most famous roles is considered to be of Marlon Brando’s brother in ‘On the Waterfront.’ Brando received the Oscar for the performance but Steiger, Malden, and Cobb, who played the supporting roles, were not lucky enough to get the award. It is extremely hard to say whose character was harder to portray, but Steiger masterly expressed the Charlie’s devotedness and loyalty to Terry.

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Steiger’s ambitions, competence, and skill add to his talent and produce the incredible pleasure of watching him on screen. He uses not traditional methods to play with audience’s emotions and does it so well, that we are all taken aback by the plot twists. One of the most famous scenes of the ‘On the Waterfront’ is the one in the taxi. Marlon Brando gives a speech that he ‘could have been a contender, could have been somebody’ (which is a little bit ironic as he has been one of the most influential actors). (On the Waterfront, 1954) Rod Steiger allows us a glimpse into a world of a flawed man and the tragic music that accompanies the scene, only adds up to the importance of this moment.

Perhaps because of the director’s talent for picturing the realism of the life in the docs or the great cast of actors, but it is not surprising that the movie has collected 8 Oscars. It is a pity that the award for the Best Supporting Actor has not gone to Rod Steiger. He had a lot of clashes with the director because of the acting method he was using, but at the same time, this allowed him to feel and show his characters as deep, profound people.

References

  • On the Waterfront. (1954). The United States.