Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Classic Brando

"There's no one before or since like Marlon Brando. The gift was enormous and flawless, like Picasso."–Jack Nicholson

Marlon Brando internalized and embodied a role like no one else, as the prime exemplar of an acting technique known as the Method, advanced by Lee Strasberg in the Actors Studio, New York, in the 1940s and 1950s. Playing the role of a rebel in many of his movies, Brando bucked the glamorous star image of the time in real life and went around Hollywood in T-shirts and jeans. The following four scenes demonstrate the passion and integrity he brought to his most enduring roles.

In "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951), directed by Elia Kazan and based on the Tennessee Williams play, Stella Kowalski (Kim Hunter) is compelled to respond to her husband Stanley in  a scene featuring the most famous series of screams in cinematic history:



"The Wild One" (1953) finds Johnny Strabler, leader of the outlaw Black Rebels Motorcycle Club, falling for the sheriff's daughter, Kathie Bleeker (Mary Murphy), while causing a ruckus in the small town of Wrightsville:



In "On The Waterfront" (1954), an anguished Terry Malloy accuses his brother Charley (Lee J. Cobb) of allowing him to take a dive in a prize fight instead of standing up for his boxing career:



Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on the novel by Mario Puzo, "The Godfather" (1972) opens with Amerigo Bonasera (Salvatore Corsitto) seeking "justice" from Don Vito Corleone following the beating of his daughter by two male companions. The Godfather agrees to this "gift" after chastising his supplicant for his disrespect:


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