Happy Birthday, Marlon Brando, Stage and Motion Picture Star
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#1 Apr 3, 2009
Brandoesque - that's what all of us aspire to be, following the spell he, and the personae in his roles, cast over future generations, whether in acting , music, or in other genres.
He was amazing, yes, and yet, in the mention above of the dearth of proper vehicles from Hollywood for his great talents, and I agree that the vehicle, the showcase for talent is a great factor in who becomes a great star and who doesn't - I want to remind and to applaud the pivotal work of both Tennessee Williams and of Elia Kazan.
Frankly, any actor who had been fortunate enough to have landed the roles in their productions would have been catapulted into the public arena, since anyone else they would have cast would have been extremely good. Brando was, due to his looks and his natural grace as well as due to his talent, bound to gain attention, as was Elvis in the next decade.
Some are blessed with the looks of Greek Gods, with the rawness of emotinoality seen on the surface, with a natural rhythm, and with the genius and street smarts to pull it all together.
Looks alone would have nailed us for Brando and for Elvis.
Talent drove their stars into the galaxies.
Vehicles provided the means.
#2 Apr 3, 2009
When I watch "Apocalypse Now," I get the sense that Brando is not acting - that it's himself on the screen. And when one thinks of the arc of his career and his later "discontent" noted in the end of this piece, the crazed, honest Kurtz is certainly not unlike Brando. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
#3 Apr 3, 2009
Thank you for the lyrical analysis "Ocean". I hope I was able to characterize that in the piece to the best of my ability.
#4 Apr 3, 2009
A fascinating life and fascinating career.
#5 Apr 3, 2010
100% true alll the way
#6 Apr 4, 2010
"Frankly, any actor who had been fortunate enough to have landed the roles in their productions would have been catapulted into the public arena.... Some are blessed with the looks of Greek Gods, with the rawness of emotinoality seen on the surface."
Totally disagree, borders on BS. Good looking actors blessed with emotion fall off the trees like apples. You argue Brando's looks and fortune in casting made his career? Extremely shallow analysis. Think back to <u>On The Waterfront</u>. Remember the scene where he rides in the back of the car with his brother and delivers the famous line "I could have been a contender." The director suggested he play that scene with rage. Brando took it a completely other direction and cried. Yes, he possessed raw animal emotion and sexual magnetism but he also displayed emotional fagility, vulnerability. How many actors could summon the raw power Brando gave us as Stanley Kowalski? I love Newman and McQueen but I doubt it. He won an oscar for a role taken after his looks were gone ("Godfather"). There was mold for how he played Vito Corleone. Brando created he persona. Compare Brando with someone like John Travolta. Very good looking man in his prime and fine actor. But Travolta pales in comparison to Brando. Call it talent or whatever you wish but Brando possessed "it" like no other before or since. Whatever demons chased him off the screen are footnotes to history. I don't really care.
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