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Marlon Brando day?


Sepiatone
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Well, it wasn't his birthday, so I wondered WHY yesterday was slated for a slew of his movies.  I noticed when I woke up at 4:00am and the TV was still on that "The Formula" was just beginning....

 

Thing is, I always considered THAT to be a GEORGE C. SCOTT movie!  Brando's appearance in it was so slight.  THE FUGITIVE KIND might have been a better choice, but as I typed that I remembered they just showed it not too long ago.  Of course, THAT never stopped TCM with OTHER movies!

 

Sepiatone

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It is August, so TCM has a "day" dedicated to 31 chosen stars, each getting a day.  Marlon has been honored several times  over the years, certainly worthy of the honor although I am not a big fan. For me he's a hit or miss guy, some films I like a lot, others, well...

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I'm not a big fan of Marlon Brando.  However, I do recognize that he was talented; although at times, I think his method acting got in the way and he seemed to overact at times.  He has appeared in some excellent films and is compelling enough on screen in those films.  I liked A Streetcar Named Desire, even though I hated his character.  However, the audience was supposed to hate his character, I thought Brando did an excellent job portraying the creep Stanley.  However, I don't think it's a movie I need to re-watch.  It was depressing and I just felt uneasy watching it.

 

What I don't like about Marlon Brando is his voice.  His mumbling voice irritates the crap out of me.  I just want to yell at him to take the marbles out of his mouth and talk.  The only time his mumbling works is in The Godfather.  Brando's Don Vito Corleone is such a classic icon of film with so many great lines, I think that is Brando's definitive character. 

 

While I liked Guys and Dolls, I think Brando was out of his element in a musical.  He takes himself too seriously and frankly, he just doesn't fit.  I feel like someone like Dean Martin would have been better as Skye Masterson. 

 

I absolutely hated him in Desiree.  I just do not buy him as Napoleon Bonaparte. 

 

I also watched the longest movie in the world (okay, I know I'm exaggerating...) Apocalypse Now.  Possibly, the most boring, most tedious movie I have ever seen.  I watched the whole thing waiting for Marlon Brando, thinking that maybe he'd spice things up a bit and make the film more interesting.  Nope. 

 

Some of his latter films were interesting.  I didn't think he was that bad in Don Juan DeMarco and I enjoyed his very brief appearance in a Michael Jackson music video. 

 

I guess for me, Brando's kind of a mixed bag.  Sometimes he's okay; but most of the time, I don't see what the hype was all about.

 

Despite my personal feelings about his acting style, there are a few films of his that I am interested in seeing.  Unfortunately, I didn't DVR them yesterday if they aired.  Fortunately, Brando's films air fairly frequently and many of them are regarded as classics and are available on Netflix. 

 

I'd like to see:

 

The Wild One

On the Waterfront

The Young Lions

Sayonara

Bedtime Story

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From what I gather here is a list of Marlon Brando's theatrical films:

--------------------------

Men, The (1950)

Streetcar Named Desire, A (1951)

Viva Zapata! (1952)

Julius Caesar (1953)

Wild One, The (1953)

On The Waterfront (1954)

Desiree (1954)

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Teahouse of the August Moon, The (1956)

Sayonara (1957)

Young Lions, The (1958)

Fugitive Kind, The (1960)

One-Eyed Jacks (1961)

Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)

Ugly American, The (1963)

Bedtime Story (1964)

Morituri (1965)

Chase, The (1966)

Appaloosa, The (1966)

Countess From Hong Kong, A (1967)

Reflections In A Golden Eye (1967)

Candy (1968-cameo)

Night of the Following Day, The (1968)

Burn! (1969)

Nightcomers, The (1971)

Godfather, The (1972)

Last Tango In Paris (1973)

Missouri Breaks, The (1976)

Superman (1978-cameo)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Formula, The (1980)

Dry White Season, A (1989)

Freshman, The (1990)

Christopher Columbus:  The Discovery (1992)

Don Juan DeMarco (1994)

Island of Dr. Moreau, The (1996)

Brave, The (1997)

Free Money (1998)

Score, The (2001)

--------------------------------

     I counted 39 films for Marlon.  I've never seen APOCALYPSE NOW or THE GODFATHER.  Maybe sometime I'll give them a go, but they're just so long that if I want to watch a Brando movie I'll watch a shorter one. 

 

     Next time TCM has 'A Day Of Brando' maybe Those In Charge can get hold of a few other Brando titles like THE APPALOOSA, NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY, THE CHASE, THE NIGHTCOMERS and THE MISSOURI BREAKS (which is not a good movie, but it IS weird). 

     

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Superman (1978-cameo)

 

     

 

Brando's appearance as Jor-El in "Superman" wasn't really a cameo because he received top billing in the film along with Gene Hackman. Christopher Reeve was billed third because he was relatively unknown before the film's release. How interesting that Brando received $3.7 million (and a percentage of the profits) for the first 15 minutes or so. He later received $3.5 million for his appearance as Col. Kurtz in the last half hour of "Apocalypse Now."

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speedracer5,

 

I would +1 most all of your comments, thanks.  One good thing/bad thing about SUTS is that scheduling 10+ movies of the same actor is bound to include some of the lows along with the highs.  For Marlon Brando, I would easily put Teahouse of the August Moon in the low category.  I can't help but cringe when I see White actors stereotypically playing Asian characters (see also Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffany's, for example).

 

I have mixed feelings about MB's performance in On the Waterfront.  Based on the accounts, I'm sure at the time Brando's style must have been radically different from what people were used to and a real eye-opener.  Looking back after all these years and Brando performances in other films, I feel like there are times in OTW where Brando comes in and out of a character he is experimenting with.  Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but I prefer Eva Marie Saint's performance in OTW, which seems completely consistent and believable throughout.  (I do realize that Brando has the more difficult character to portray.)  Hope this doesn't spoil OTW for anyone, as I do enjoy the movie and would not hesitate to recommend it.

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IMO Brando made about three great movies (Streetcar; On The Waterfront; The Godfather), a few okay ones (Guys and Dolls; The Ugly American),  one of the all-time clown show films (Last Tango in Paris), and a ton of wholly forgettable ones.  OTOH he had such an immense talent I wish he'd been born 25 years earlier to see how he would have compared to the likes of Cagney and Gable, two actors with the same level of kavorka who began their careers in the much more interesting pre-code era.  I also think that for the most part he would've been much better off if he'd had less choice in selecting his roles, because with a few notable exceptions, his choice of screenplays was pretty lame.

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IMO Brando made about three great movies (Streetcar; On The Waterfront; The Godfather), a few okay ones (Guys and Dolls; The Ugly American),  one of the all-time clown show films (Last Tango in Paris), and a ton of wholly forgettable ones.  OTOH he had such an immense talent I wish he'd been born 25 years earlier to see how he would have compared to the likes of Cagney and Gable, two actors with the same level of kavorka who began their careers in the much more interesting pre-code era.  I also think that for the most part he would've been much better off if he'd had less choice in selecting his roles, because with a few notable exceptions, his choice of screenplays was pretty lame.

Like him or hate him, nobody can dispute that he was THE Hollywood acting story of the first half of the '50s.

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speedracer5,

 

I would +1 most all of your comments, thanks.  One good thing/bad thing about SUTS is that scheduling 10+ movies of the same actor is bound to include some of the lows along with the highs.  For Marlon Brando, I would easily put Teahouse of the August Moon in the low category.  I can't help but cringe when I see White actors stereotypically playing Asian characters (see also Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffany's, for example).

 

I have mixed feelings about MB's performance in On the Waterfront.  Based on the accounts, I'm sure at the time Brando's style must have been radically different from what people were used to and a real eye-opener.  Looking back after all these years and Brando performances in other films, I feel like there are times in OTW where Brando comes in and out of a character he is experimenting with.  Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but I prefer Eva Marie Saint's performance in OTW, which seems completely consistent and believable throughout.  (I do realize that Brando has the more difficult character to portray.)  Hope this doesn't spoil OTW for anyone, as I do enjoy the movie and would would not hesitate to recommend it.

I liked OTW so much, I even have the recording of Bernstein's SCORE.  EXCELLENT music!

 

Sepiatone

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What I don't like about Marlon Brando is his voice.  His mumbling voice irritates the crap out of me.  I just want to yell at him to take the marbles out of his mouth and talk. 

 

 

Marlon Brando is not my favorite actor, but his talent is undeniable.

In A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, he gives the impression of mumbling but he makes Tennessee Williams's dialogue very clear----which is a pretty brilliant feat.

 

His performance in ON THE WATERFRONT is deserving of all the hype surrounding it. I only saw the movie fairly recently and was not expecting to be so blown away. It is a crafted performance that seems to be happening "on the fly" ---which, again, is brilliant.

 

My favorite Brando movie is THE FUGITIVE KIND, which pairs him with the great Anna Magnani. It is, in my opinion, the best film adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play (although the play it's adapted from is not the best Williams play). The opening scene with Brando before the judge was added for the movie. That scene grabs you and you truly forget you are watching an actor. Magnani also has a "real" quality (perhaps more so than Brando)  so it is mesmerizing when they are together.

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Finally saw "The Teahouse of the August Moon" the other day, and have to say I really enjoyed it. Two additional thoughts:

 

Brando was very good and made his character of Sakini very believable.

 

(...and if anybody NOW wants to comment on the whole "yellowface" thing here, I believe THAT thread is now on page-6, and so please go revive THAT one if you feel like commenting on this subject)

 

And, it seems I've FINALLY found a movie in which I actually LIKED Glenn Ford and thought he was great in, and who's a guy who will USUALLY put me to sleep in about 15 minutes while watchin' any movie he starred in.

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Marlon Brando is not my favorite actor, but his talent is undeniable.

In A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, he gives the impression of mumbling but he makes Tennessee Williams's dialogue very clear----which is a pretty brilliant feat.

 

His performance in ON THE WATERFRONT is deserving of all the hype surrounding it. I only saw the movie fairly recently and was not expecting to be so blown away. It is a crafted performance that seems to be happening "on the fly" ---which, again, is brilliant.

 

My favorite Brando movie is THE FUGITIVE KIND, which pairs him with the great Anna Magnani. It is, in my opinion, the best film adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play (although the play it's adapted from is not the best Williams play). The opening scene with Brando before the judge was added for the movie. That scene grabs you and you truly forget you are watching an actor. Magnani also has a "real" quality (perhaps more so than Brando)  so it is mesmerizing when they are together.

 

And near the tragic ending, he is utterly convincing in his love for Lady. Brando was a very special actor, capable of greatness at any given moment.

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Finally saw "The Teahouse of the August Moon" the other day, and have to say I really enjoyed it. Two additional thoughts:

 

Brando was very good and made his character of Sakini very believable.

 

(...and if anybody NOW wants to comment on the whole "yellowface" thing here, I believe THAT thread is now on page-6, and so please go revive THAT one if you feel commenting of this subject)

 

And, it seems I've FINALLY found a movie in which I actually LIKED Glenn Ford and thought he was great in, and who's a guy who will USUALLY put me to sleep in about 15 minutes while watchin' any movie he starred in.

 

Definitely the best role Ford ever had. I mean, talk about a glum, joyless screen persona usually. He's actually delightful when forced to play a hapless hero dealing with constant misunderstanding in 'Teahouse'.

 

As for Brando - it was intended that he would play the soldier, but Brando insisted on challenging himself to convincingly play an Asian. What independence - only a genius like him would buck the star system the way he did so often.

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Definitely the best role Ford ever had. I mean, talk about a glum, joyless screen persona usually. He's actually delightful when forced to play a hapless hero dealing with constant misunderstanding in 'Teahouse'.

 

As for Brando - it was intended that he would play the soldier, but Brando insisted on challenging himself to convincingly play an Asian. What independence - only a genius like him would buck the star system the way he did so often.

 

Well, speaking of "stretching", and while it seems we agree that Brando did the Sakini character proud, I think it might have also been interesting to see Brando play the Ford part, as off the top of my head, I can't think of another movie where he plays a part like that. Can you, dark?

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I agree with you, Dargo, on the Teahouse movie. I was expecting Brando to be much worse than he actually was, and Glenn Ford (whom I also do not usually care for) played the meek character very well, and his interactions with the other Ford (Paul) were great. For some reason I especially remember Paul screaming "That's Communism!" and Glenn's reaction, "Is it?!"

 

Regarding Brando in general, I first saw him in Waterfront and thought he was very good and authentic in the character. It seemed to me at the time that they found someone very much like the character himself to portray him. (However, I didn't know it was Marlon Brando when I first saw it.) I also thought he was very good in Streetcar, again playing a low-brow type character very believably.

 

When he got to play more intelligent and high-brow characters I found him not nearly so believable. Having to enunciate seemed to trip him up some, too. Without being rude, I'd say he was born to portray uneducated or neanderthal-like characters, roles which he seemed to stop getting after Waterfront and Streetcar. (Though I'm far from having seen them all, I've seen parts of many...)

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Brando's appearance as Jor-El in "Superman" wasn't really a cameo because he received top billing in the film along with Gene Hackman. Christopher Reeve was billed third because he was relatively unknown before the film's release. How interesting that Brando received $3.7 million (and a percentage of the profits) for the first 15 minutes or so. He later received $3.5 million for his appearance as Col. Kurtz in the last half hour of "Apocalypse Now."

When GODFATHER  II was filmed James Caan made a brief appearance for a flashback scene. I guess Marlon would have done the same, for a gazillion dollars ;)

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And near the tragic ending, he is utterly convincing in his love for Lady. Brando was a very special actor, capable of greatness at any given moment.

 

Here is a great scene with Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani from THE FUGITIVE KIND, with Joanne Woodward at the beginning.

The three of them were so alive in that movie, turning Tennessee Williams's lyrical dialogue into vibrantly real speech.

 

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i would have loved to have seen One-Eyed Jacks. since the movie is in the public domain, it's got to be dirt cheap to show but still TCM seldom shows it. it's also notable as a movie directed by Brando, and he does nice things as a director. in addition, the movie is gorgeous to look at and the DVD PD copy i saw was in excellent shape.  also, the cast features Karl Malden, Katy Jurado, Slim Pickens, Ben Johnson and Timothy Carey.

 

one drawback is the 2 hr 21 min length. a few cuts could have been made and the romance subplot tightened up.

 

all in all though, it's shows Brando off as a true star and the movie should be earmarked as a film to be shown the next time Brando is featured.

 

"...'lo Dad..."

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speedracer5,

 

I would +1 most all of your comments, thanks.  One good thing/bad thing about SUTS is that scheduling 10+ movies of the same actor is bound to include some of the lows along with the highs.  For Marlon Brando, I would easily put Teahouse of the August Moon in the low category.  I can't help but cringe when I see White actors stereotypically playing Asian characters (see also Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffany's, for example).

 

I have mixed feelings about MB's performance in On the Waterfront.  Based on the accounts, I'm sure at the time Brando's style must have been radically different from what people were used to and a real eye-opener.  Looking back after all these years and Brando performances in other films, I feel like there are times in OTW where Brando comes in and out of a character he is experimenting with.  Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but I prefer Eva Marie Saint's performance in OTW, which seems completely consistent and believable throughout.  (I do realize that Brando has the more difficult character to portray.)  Hope this doesn't spoil OTW for anyone, as I do enjoy the movie and would not hesitate to recommend it.

Thank you very much for the kind words regarding my comments.  I try to contribute when I think I have something worthwhile to add to a conversation. 

 

I agree to an extent that one of the bad things about SUTS is an entire day of someone's films; but I only really find it a "bad" thing when the day is dedicated to someone I'm not a fan of.  In that case, I just do something else that day or watch a different film.  However, I've found that even if the "star" is not someone I'm a fan of, there's usually at least one or two films scheduled that I'd be willing to check out.

 

I agree with you about the stereotyping that occurs when actors portray characters of a differing race.  It's a bit unsettling when you see it now.  I haven't seen Brando in the film where he's playing an Asian character; but it seems so ridiculous to me, that I can't even imagine it being good.  I would probably have to see it out of morbid curiosity. 

 

I haven't seen On the Waterfront yet; but I'm sure it'll air again on TCM soon or I can probably get it on Netflix and I can check it out.  I want to see it more for Eva Marie Saint's performance.  I feel like this is a film I'll have to watch when I'm in the mood to watch it. 

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When GODFATHER  II was filmed James Caan made a brief appearance for a flashback scene. I guess Marlon would have done the same, for a gazillion dollars ;)

 

Actually, Brando was supposed to appear in the December 7, 1941 birthday celebration at the end of "The Godfather Part II." But he never showed, probably because he was POed at the people who ran Paramount Pictures at the time. I must say the scene worked very well without him.

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I agree with you(cmovieviewer) about the stereotyping that occurs when actors portray characters of a differing race.  It's a bit unsettling when you see it now.  I haven't seen Brando in the film where he's playing an Asian character; but it seems so ridiculous to me, that I can't even imagine it being good.  I would probably have to see it out of morbid curiosity. 

 

 

Trust me here Speedy. FIRST watch "Teahouse" and THEN decide for yourself how much Brando is "stereotyping" Asians, 'cause once again, I think he not only does NOT resort to "stereotyping" his Sakini character and very very VERY UNlike Mickey Rooney does in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", but his makeup is spot on and his accent is very believable as he played probably THE smartest and wisest character in the whole story.

 

(...and speaking of "stereotyping", remember, even though Paul Ford plays a blithering idiot of an American Army Colonel in this one, NOT ALL American Army Colonels are blithering idiots!!!) ;)

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