New York waterfront campaigner the Rev. John Corridan S.J. is the subject of a documentary to be broadcast on the Irish-language television station TG4 on Easter Sunday.
Corridan, who was born 100 years ago in Manhattan to parents from County Kerry, was the inspiration for the priest played by Karl Malden in the multiple Oscar winning "On the Waterfront."
"Misinéir na nDuganna: The Priest, the Mob, the Movie" can be viewed live at 3:50 p.m. New York time via the channel's website www.tg4.ie.
"Corridan's one-man crusade would strike at the heart of organized crime in New York and expose a brutal system of extortion, corruption and murder in the world's greatest port," said filmmaker and journalist Sean Mac an Sithigh.
He interviewed in New York in recent months Fordham University's Prof. James T. Fisher, whose book "On the Irish Waterfront" deals with the subject, NYU Professor Joseph Lee, Maurice Brick of the New York Kerrymen's Association and former longshoreman Thomas Handley, who as a child actor was in scenes in the classic movie with screen legend Marlon Brando.
In a new effort to break the community code of silence that underpinned the gangsterism and corruption in neighborhoods like Chelsea, the Jesuit Corridan developed alliances with media figiures such as Budd Schulberg and Malcolm Johnson.
Schulberg soon fell under Corridan's spell and wrote the "On the Waterfront" screenplay from the Jesuit's perspective.
"The project was turned down by every major studio in Hollywood before finally being rescued by independent producer Sam Spiegel," said Kerry native Mac an Sithigh.
The screenwriter and priest would remain close until the end of the latter's life in 1984.
Corridan was removed from his ministry after a failed battle to wrest union control from corrupt bosses. He was later on a lecturer at Le Moyne College and a hospital chaplain in Brooklyn.
"Misinéir na nDuganna: The Priest, the Mob, the Movie" can be viewed on Sunday live 3:50 p.m. New York time via www.tg4.ie, and will be repeated at 2:30 New York time on Monday, May 2, and thereafter will be archived on the website.