Movies

Marlon Brando, RIP

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Marlon Brando died yesterday at the age of 80. At his best, he was one of the greatest there ever was, and there's not much I can say about him that everyone else isn't already saying. Better just to watch his work: one of his terrific collaborations with Elia Kazan, A Steetcar Named Desire or Viva Zapata! or On the Waterfront; or his other iconic role, as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather; or perhaps one of the lesser-known cult movies that benefited from his talents, from the quirky western One-Eyed Jacks (which he directed as well as starred in) to the '90s comedy The Freshman (which proved that no one did a funnier Marlon Brando impression than Brando). The acting speaks for itself.

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  1. I guess that’s three.

    Can we stop dying now, please?

  2. Makes me want to write “fuck” on my airplane.

  3. Interesting to me that for the role of Don Corleone he spent time with Boss of Bosses Frank Costello. He also stuffed toilet paper into his cheeks to get the inflections just right.

    And he was damn good at it.

  4. I read that Kazan initially wanted Brando to shrink with fear when his char.’s brother pulls the gun in the car in “Waterfront”…Brando intuitively knew, and suggested, that the scene would work much better if he reacted the way anyone would if your own flesh and blood betrayed you. Kazan went w/ Brando’s gut and filmed one of the 5 greatest scenes in the history of cinema.

  5. His role in Last Tango in Paris was the greatest screen performance in film history.

  6. “I guess that’s three.

    Can we stop dying now, please?”

    Um, forty thousand men and women every day…

  7. Roland Barthes wrote an excellent essay on Brando as Mark Anthony in Julius Caesar – he noted, correctly IMHO, that Brando was more convincing in the role than the shakespeareans who played Julius and Brutus (rex harrison, alec guiness ? ) were in theirs. Great perfomance.

  8. He was at the top of his game as Antony, though he never got as much credit for that role as he should have gotten. No doubt because there’s a certain snobbery about Americans playing Shakespearean roles (esp. in the U.S., go figure). In any case, I’ll never forget him pounding out the famous eulogy for Caesar. Makes me want to hunt down Brutus and Cassius just thinking about it–those danged “honourable men”.

  9. Um, forty thousand men and women every day…

    Another forty thousand coming every day . . .

  10. Um, forty thousand men and women every day…

    Sorry. I meant people that matter.

    Reagan, Ray Charles, Brando. Game over.

  11. Let’s not forget his greatest line:

    “What are you rebelling against?”

    “Whaddya got?”

    THE WILD ONE

  12. Um, “iconic” role, right?

  13. Oops! Yes, that’s what I meant to type. Thanks; I just fixed it.

  14. He was Jor El. He was Dr. Moreau. He was Colonel Kurtz. He was Marc Antony.

  15. The horror!

  16. Mistah Kurtz, he dead.

  17. The Freshman was one of my all time faves. Bert Parks doing “Maffie’s Farm” was a treat as well.

  18. I thought his greatest line was “hey John Friendly…”

  19. Brando’s greatest line was “Is that the one where I was bald?” when an interviewer asked him about Apocalypse Now.

    I liked his work a lot, but it’s gotta be said: Lee Marvin walked all over him in The Wild One.

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