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Brando, Clift Or Dean?


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I got the idea for this after Spence's old thread about Sinatra, Elvis & Bing resurfaced.

These three actors have been credited with changing the course of film acting. Who is your favorite?

MARLON BRANDO

He exploded onto the movie scene with The Men and A Streetcar Named Desire. He could be brutal and animalistic, but could also be kind and vulnerable. His performances were very realistic. I always preferred his 1950s performances best. His performance in On The Waterfront maybe my favorite male acting ever on film. He grew disillusioned with acting and the movie business and simply phoned in performances in later films. By that time he was doing it for the money.

MONTGOMERY CLIFT

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be him.  His first film The Search got him an Oscar nomination, his performance as the soldier was so realistic many people thought he was a real soldier not an actor. He would soon create a screen persona that was very new in the 1950s, that of the sensitive, lonely outsider in films like A Place In The Sun and From Here To Eternity.  A car crash in 1956 marred his looks and his acting sometimes suffered, but he still had a few good performances left in him with The Young Lions and Judgment At Nuremberg,

JAMES DEAN

His career was very brief, cut short by his death in car crash in 1955, but he made a big impression, still being felt today. He only appeared in 3 movies-East Of Eden, Rebel Without A Cause and Giant, but they are all excellent. No one could portray angst better than him.

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2 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I got the idea for this after Spence's old thread about Sinatra, Elvis & Bing resurfaced.

These three actors have been credited with changing the course of film acting. Who is your favorite?

MARLON BRANDO

He exploded onto the movie scene with The Men and A Streetcar Named Desire. He could be brutal and animalistic, but could also be kind and vulnerable. His performances were very realistic. I always preferred his 1950s performances best. His performance in On The Waterfront maybe my favorite male acting ever on film. He grew disillusioned with acting and the movie business and simply phoned in performances in later films. By that time he was doing it for the money.

MONTGOMERY CLIFT

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be him.  His first film The Search got him an Oscar nomination, his performance as the soldier was so realistic many people thought he was a real soldier not an actor. He would soon create a screen persona that was very new in the 1950s, that of the sensitive, lonely outsider in films like A Place In The Sun and From Here To Eternity.  A car crash in 1956 marred his looks and his acting sometimes suffered, but he still had a few good performances left in him with The Young Lions and Judgment At Nuremberg,

JAMES DEAN

His career was very brief, cut short by his death in car crash in 1955, but he made a big impression, still being felt today. He only appeared in 3 movies-East Of Eden, Rebel Without A Cause and Giant, but they are all excellent. No one could portray angst better than him.

I Prefer the Clifts.. of those three fellows.

 

     Montgomerey for me,. Then Marlon. Then Dean.. ...in that order.

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For body of work, I'd have to go with 

BRANDO, MONTY and then DEAN.  

Now I don't know if it was some kind of ACTING style he was trying out, but in his later years, Clift always looked like he was struggling to MAINTAIN in front of the camera(old stoners would know what I mean ;) )   And the rebellious youth of mine( at the time) naturally drew me to Brando.  THE WILD ONE and THE FUGITIVE KIND being the earliest Brando flicks I saw, and too, before any by Monty or Dean.

Sepiatone

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6 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I got the idea for this after Spence's old thread about Sinatra, Elvis & Bing resurfaced.

These three actors have been credited with changing the course of film acting. Who is your favorite?

MARLON BRANDO

He exploded onto the movie scene with The Men and A Streetcar Named Desire. He could be brutal and animalistic, but could also be kind and vulnerable. His performances were very realistic. I always preferred his 1950s performances best. His performance in On The Waterfront maybe my favorite male acting ever on film. He grew disillusioned with acting and the movie business and simply phoned in performances in later films. By that time he was doing it for the money.

MONTGOMERY CLIFT

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be him.  His first film The Search got him an Oscar nomination, his performance as the soldier was so realistic many people thought he was a real soldier not an actor. He would soon create a screen persona that was very new in the 1950s, that of the sensitive, lonely outsider in films like A Place In The Sun and From Here To Eternity.  A car crash in 1956 marred his looks and his acting sometimes suffered, but he still had a few good performances left in him with The Young Lions and Judgment At Nuremberg,

JAMES DEAN

His career was very brief, cut short by his death in car crash in 1955, but he made a big impression, still being felt today. He only appeared in 3 movies-East Of Eden, Rebel Without A Cause and Giant, but they are all excellent. No one could portray angst better than him.

I love all three of these guys.  But then, the 1950s is my favorite decade for Golden Age movies.  So, if you're twisting my arm, I would put them in this order:

James Dean knocked my socks off when I saw him as Cal Trask in his first film, 1955's East of Eden.  He deserved his posthumous Oscar nod (he was killed on Sept 30, 1955), losing to Ernest Borgnine as Marty.  His second film as Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause, was released shortly after his death on Oct 27, 1955.  Probably his most popular movie with teens and young adults.  His final film, Giant was released on Nov 24, 1956 and earned him a second posthumous Oscar nomination, losing to Yul Brynner in The King and I.  I recently re- watched Giant.  His screen time as Jeff Rink was much longer than I had remembered and once again he blew me away.  He had been cast to play Rocky Barbella in 1956's Somebody Up There Likes Me and we can only wonder what he could have done with the role.

The same can be said about Montgomery Clift's screen debut as Ralph Stevenson in 1948's The Search, followed by Red River that same year and as the cad Morris in 1949's The Heiress.  My personal favorites are his performances as George Eastman in 1951's A Place in the Sun and as Robert E. Lee Prewitt in 1953's From Here to Eternity, and the Academy voters agreed.  He scored in two more movies with Elizabeth Taylor:  As John Wickliff Shawnessy in 1957's Raintree County  and as surgeon John Cukrowicz in 1959's Suddenly Last Summer.   Besides the last two pictures you mentioned, I would add his performances as TVA admininistrator Chuck Glover in the 1960 drama Wild River, and as Perce Howland in 1961's The Misfits.

I'm really not putting Brando in third place here.  Ask me tomorrow, and I'll probably change the order around.  The Godfather notwithstanding, I also prefer his 1950's performances.  Especially as Stanley Kowalski in 1951's A Streetcar Named Desire and as Terry Malloy in 1954's On the Waterfront that earned him two Oscar nods and one win.  He also received Oscar nominations as Mexican rancher Emiliano Zapata in 1952's Viva Zapata! as Mark Antony in 1953's Julius Caesar and as Air Force Major Ace Gruver in 1957's Sayonara.   Ask teenagers back in the day, and I bet they would add his Johnny Strabler in 1953's The Wild One.

 

 

 

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Rebel and Eden are in my personal top 100 and love Dean's performances in them.  I'm more of a fan of Dean but because his output was so low, think it's a tough sell for him.

I like Clift but don't think he can stand up to Brando, whose films I don't really care all that much for but I can't deny his impact.

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

Clift always looked like he was struggling to MAINTAIN in front of the camera

He sometimes did look dazed and "out of it" at times in his later films, probably due to alcohol and pain killer abuse. It did work when his character was supposed to be sad and pained. 

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As far as  which of the 3 actors has the film legacy I would want to watch if I could only watch the films from one of these three,   it would be Clift.

Brando would have my favorite film in On the Waterfront but that being said,  I still prefer Clift's overall film legacy over that of Brando.

I have never been a fan of James Dean.  

 

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Brando would be my favourite of the three, if only by default, with Clift as number two. James Dean appeared to be outstanding in East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and the first half of Giant (not the second half when he played it older) but an early death makes it impossible to know how his career would have prospered.

I appreciate Brando's early work of the first half of the '50s (with Viva Zapata and On the Waterfront my two favourites). After that it is hit and miss, with the successes including The Young Lions, One Eyed Jacks and, of course, The Godfather. I also rather enjoyed him in his Godfather parody, The Freshman. But then there was the bizarre self indulgence of some of his later work, particularly The Island of Dr. Moreau. Nuff said.

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Considering this question all I can think of is how difficult they all seemed to be to work with. Brando in particular all but shot himself in the foot in the 60s. He thought his career was over when he took Last Tango, which he considered a porn flick, and The Godfather, which he thought would be a gangster picture. 

Then Clift was apparently prone to changing lines, not only his own but those of other actors. I read he turned down a lot of things I can see him doing quite well in, like Sunset Boulevard.

Dean was just ... odd, but he was excellent as Jett Rink.

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I don't think I can pick a favorite between these three. All three were very good at their craft.

I'll just say here that I know ONE of 'em is mentioned in a heck of lot more in Rock songs than the other two are, anyway.

(...and I think you guys know which one THAT is, don't ya)  ;) 

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Three amazing actors - it's very hard to choose a favorite but I would choose Brando for his standout performances in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "On the Waterfront".  In "On the Waterfront", Brando's character shows many emotions;  love, anger, fear and very authentically conveys shame.  Not easy.  In "A Streetcar Named Desire" Brando's character is a chilling animal-like brute. 

On another note, one of my favorite performances by an actress is Vivien Leigh in "A Streetcar Named Desire".

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13 hours ago, Dargo said:

I don't think I can pick a favorite between these three. All three were very good at their craft.

I'll just say here that I know ONE of 'em is mentioned in a heck of lot more in Rock songs than the other two are, anyway.

(...and I think you guys know which one THAT is, don't ya)  ;) 

I can think of TWO songs, one I like, and the other I can't stand. 

 

If I missed any, please let me know.  And Brando does get a quick mention in this one....

Sepiatone

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Love this question.

It's Montgomery Clift. Overlooked and should have an Oscar for most of his performances.

The Heiress, Red River, From Here to Eternity, Judgement and Nuremberg,  A Place in the Sun. Yes, Brando is great but Monty gave us something more, vulnerability and with good looks. Someone who appears to have it all, then you see his vulnerabilities. I'm drawn to that quality in an actor. 

My favorite all time has been and remains Mr. James Cagney, followed by Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert DeNiro.

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Brando, then Clift, then Dean. 

Brando takes this easily. His 50's run is maybe the best by anybody. Outside of some of his later supporting roles I've always found Clift just alright. Dean is in third kind of by default just because he only made three movies but he was good in Rebel Without a Cause and might have gone on to better things had he lived. 

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4 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

I can think of TWO songs, one I like, and the other I can't stand. 

 

If I missed any, please let me know.  And Brando does get a quick mention in this one....

Sepiatone

Three more than these two come readily to my mind in this case, Sepia.

John Mellencamp's Jack & Diane, and the line in it: "Jackie sits back, collects his thoughts for the moment, scratches his head and does his best James Dean."

Don McClean's American Pie, and the line in it: "When the jester sang for the King and Queen, in a coat he borrorwed from James Dean."

And, Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side, and the line in it: "Jackie is just speeding away. Thought she was James Dean for a day."

(...point once again being, I don't recall all that many songs ever mentioning either Brando or Clift)

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Well, other than the chorus I thought was kinda cool, never paid much attention to what was sung elsewhere in the first one, 

Forgot about McClean's  line in the 2nd. 

And sadly overlooked #3.

But Brando does get mention in that Joni tune.  ("thrilling to the Brando-like things he said".  )  ;) 

Sepiatone

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3 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

 

...But Brando does get mention in that Joni tune.  ("thrilling to the Brando-like things he said".  )  ;) 

Sepiatone

And speaking of which...

Last night I noticed while watching the old MGM theatrical trailer for the 1955 musical It's Always Fair Weather which TCM is going to show next week during Cyd Charisse's SOTM tribute, there was a scene in which Dolores Gray sings the following line:

"But I've gotta  guy who's Clifton Webb and Marlon Brando combined."

(...interesting combination, wouldn't ya say?!) ;)

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40 minutes ago, Dargo said:

"But I've gotta  guy who's Clifton Webb and Marlon Brando combined."

(...interesting combination, wouldn't ya say?!)

LOL, yes I mentioned that on another thread a few weeks ago. Part Waldo Lydecker and part Stanley Kowalski?

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10 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

LOL, yes I mentioned that on another thread a few weeks ago. Part Waldo Lydecker and part Stanley Kowalski?

Uh-huh! I can see it all now...

"STELLA!!! Would you mind bringing me my bottle of Cognac, dear?"

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