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Martin Ritt's directorial debut, reminiscent of ON THE WATERFRONT for its depiction of a dangerous and corrupt dock working world on New York City's Hudson River, features Sidney Poitier in his first film where he received top co-star billing. John Cassavetes plays Axel Nordmann, a drifter with a mysterious past who, newly arrived in New York, starts work as a stevedore on the docks. Toiling in the crew of the contemptible Charlie Malick (Jack Warden), who shakes him down for kickbacks, Axel befriends Tommy Tyler (Poitier) and then leaves Malick's crew to work with Tommy, which earns both men the murderous ire of Malick. Ruby Dee shines in an early role as Lucy Tyler, Tommy's wife. DIR Martin Ritt; SCR Robert Alan Aurthur; PROD David Susskind. U.S., 1957, b&w, 85 min. NOT RATED

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