Apr 24, 2007
Eye Candy, 50's Style
Ok, so Marlon Brando turned into a poster boy for obesity and reclusiveness in his later years. He also squandered his vast talent on piddly but well paying projects. (Anyone remember his role opposite Faye Dunaway in Don Juan de Marco? Thought not.)
But in his prime the man was hot, hot, hot. Before his star turn as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, t-shirts were mere undergarments. After Brando, they made fashion statements. In the Wild Ones, he (and James Dean in real life) helped to make motorcycles and black leather jackets hot.
And as Terry Malloy, the failed boxer in On the Waterfront he made it OK for tough he-men to show their vulnerable sides. Who can forget his anguished speech in this scene: "You don't understand! I coulda had class! I coulda been a contender! I coulda been somebody! Instead of a bum, which is what I am. Let's face it."
Turner Classic Movies will honor Brando with a two part documentary on May 1 & May 2, and show his movies without interruption after each segment. If you haven't been introduced to the young Brando, may I suggest that you watch a few of his early movies?
My two Brando faves are A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront. Acting simply doesn't get better than his turns as angry, rebellious, or anguished young men.
In a review about the special, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly says, "This two-part documentary veers away from mere biography to offer moving and hilarious anecdotes about Marlon Brando by everyone from Johnny Depp to Martin Scorsese...The clips and awed testimony explain why he was brilliant and maddening. And that he taped his dialogue to Maria Schneider's body in Last Tango in Paris so he wouldn't have to learn his lines." Ken rated the special an A-.