Monday, 4 May 2009

Marlon Brando

Brando was also an activist, lending his presence to many issues, including the American Civil Rights and American Indian Movements. He was named the fourth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.
Brando's first screen role was as the bitter paraplegic veteran in The Men in 1950. True to his method, Brando spent a month in bed at a veterans' hospital to prepare for the role.

Marlon Brando was purported to be a hero for James Dean, who was said to have idolized him and copied his acting and persona.
Brando claimed in his autobiography Songs My Mother Taught Me that when Elia Kazan introduced him to James Dean on the set of East of Eden,
he remarked that 'He was nervous when we met and made it clear that he was not only mimicking my acting but also what he believed was my lifestyle.
He said he was learning to play the conga drums and had taken up motorcycling, and he obviously wanted my approval of his work.'
He later remarked in his book that 'In retrospect, I realize it's not unusual for people to borrow someone else's form until they find their own, and in time Jimmy did.'
William Bast, a famous screen writer at that time, compared Marlon's acting style to be "heavy as lead" while James was more "mercurial and light".

His performance as Vito Corleone in 1972's The Godfather was a mid-career turning point. Director Francis Ford Coppola convinced Brando to submit to a "make-up" test, in which Brando did his own makeup (he used cotton balls to simulate the puffed-cheek look).
Coppola was electrified by Brando's characterization as the head of a crime family, but had to fight the studio in order to cast the temperamental Brando whose reputation for difficult behavior and demands was the stuff of backlot legend.
However, Paramount studio heads wanted to give the role to Danny Thomas in the hope that Thomas would have his own production company throw in its lot with Paramount.
Thomas declined the role and actually urged the studio to cast Brando at the behest of Coppola and others who had witnessed the screen test.
Brando's "sit down" scene between rival mobsters is generally described as one of the greatest moments in film history. Brando won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.


Sara said...

Just brilliant,no other words.I love Marlon Brando especially in the God Father.Great post Allison.

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Allison said...

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Sara said...

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