Wednesday, May 17, 2006

BRANDOFAN's 10 best BRANDO films -

On the Waterfront (1954) - Jack Nicholson describes it as the height of any age. Winner of 8 Oscars. Brando's greatest performance, according to the director of the movie ELIA KAZAN, the greatest performance by an American actor ever. Most famous for the TAXI CAB scene and the "I coulda been a contender speech". Inspired countless movies, closer home - Deewar (the dock sequences), Parinda and the frame to frame copy GHULAM. A dock worker develops a conscience and fights the waterfront mafia. An all time classic.

The Godfather (1972) - Arguable the greatest movie ever made. U have to be living on Pluto if u have not seen it. Brando was in it for 45 minutes but his presence dominates the narrative throughout the 3 hour film....I' ll make him an offer he cant refuse, you can act like a man, Tell your don what everyone seems to know, this war stops now, I am a superstitious man, nothing personal just business, don’t ever go against the family... the list of the immortal lines is endless.

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) - Swept the Oscars, everyone of the main performers won the golden boy, but Brando lost out to BOGART. The most impactful performance in the history of film went unrewarded at the Oscars. A southern drama based on Tenessee Williams Pulitzer prize winning play first introduced Brando to the world on Broadway in 1947, ran for 2 years and then the movie happened. 1951 is the year when a common phrase entered the world of cinema - Before Brando and After Brando. As a loutish Stanley Kowalski, Brando kept everyone riveted and infact took some of the sympathy away that the viewer must have felt for Blanche Duboise (Vivien Leigh).
Stellaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, scorched itself into our everyday lives.

Last Tango in Paris (1973) - One half of the greatest comeback's 1-2 punch. A performance that was autobiographical. So real that it made audiences cringe. A middle aged ex pat in Paris, begins a sexual affair with a 19 year old French actress. Nameless sex, raw primal, with the famous/infamous butter sequence. The film was a harrowing portrayal of a man breaking down in front of our very eyes. One of the most beautiful movies to look at, all the scenes look like a painting. Bernado Bertolucci outdid himself as a director

Apocalypse Now (1979) / Redux (2001)
Based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkeness, this is ride which haunts you for ever. As Francis Ford Coppola put it, this movie is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam. Brando is there only in the last 15 minutes of the film, but his presence dominates right from the beginning when his voice is played on the recorder. Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is sent on a mission to terminate a renegade Col. Kurtz’s command with extreme prejudice. Kurtz has gone solo, rockers, is running his own private war. Brando’s trance like performance is brilliant and each word, look, move is epochal. Blows you away completely.

The Freshman (1990) - Already have a post on it, one of the all time great comedies. Period.

Julius Caesar (1953) - Brando as Marc Antony, this is Shakespeare at its most exciting. Brilliant cast with James Mason as Brutus, Sir John Gielgud as Cassisus. Brando shines and how. The friends Romans countrymen scene is CLASS.

One-Eyed Jacks (1961) - The only movie Brando directed after he sacked Stanley Kubrick. A classic western revenge tail, which portrays characters as not all pristine white and jet black, but in shades of grey. Beautifully filmed, brilliantly acted, did respectable business at the box office but because it was so expensive (courtesy an inexperienced Director Brando), could not be termed an outright hit. A mature western where the spoken word counts for more than the bullet. Has one of the most brutal beatings on screen ever, where Brando gets tied up and is whipped by Karl Malden. On the Waterfront and THE CHASE are the other movies where Brando is beaten to pulp. A cult film today and a great one at that. Brando's original cut was 5 hours long and those who have seen it, say it was sheer art. The studio took over the film and the editing and Brando dismissed the film completely.

Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) - Brando at the height of his stardom, took this movie after refusing David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia. The movie where he was unfairly blamed for everything. Brando had his share of mood swings but the studios were to blame for the long production schedule which went on and on. Talking about he movie, a remake of the GABLE, Laughton - Mutiny on the Bounty. Brando is exquisite, excellent as a foppish Fletcher Christian and is very funny and brilliant. The movie has been criticized unjustly, as according to me it is the best of the bounty movies. Trevor Howard as the tyrannical Captain Bligh and an upcoming Richard Harris, make up the cast. Was nominated for Best Picture Oscar, dint win it. Flopped badly and Brando's bad luck at the box office began.

The Young Lions (1958) - A WWII movie told from both sides of the war. Brando plays a NAZI who realizes that his ideal GERMANY has messed up. Montgomery Clifyt as American Jew in the army and Dean Martin a draftee who wants to get out - form the American side of the story. The 2 sides never meet, till the climax but the movie is brilliant for the acting, the message. The Americans are fighting the NAZIS because they are anti Semite, but even then they cannot get rid of their own anti Semitic feelings towards Monty Clift's character. Brilliantly acted, and a huge box office hit.


Sushobhan said...

I thought Julius Caesar was a gr8 role. Not too sure about Mutiny, thought it was a weak role. The inner conflict which Christian suffers is actually very similar to that of Brutus in JC, in both we have proteges who rebel against their mentors.. wonder how Brando would have played Brutus..

Apocalypse Now is a very difficult to understand film. I benefited greatly from reading this review after watching the redux..

Robert Duvall's role in Apocalypse is short and AWESOME.. in Godfather long and AWESOME..

KBR said...

Nice insight into the similarity between Brutus and Christian.

On the Brando performance in Bounty, he purposely made him a foppish character, and yes agreed the film version took a lot of liberties with facts but I personally felt it was a great hollywood extravaganza and a great performance.

Duvall was brillaint in Apocalypse, the smell of napalm speech he delivers is one of the all time great moments in cinematic history

Idle Thoughts said...

I thought that the best actor in the apocalypse was eddie hopper!

If you ever get to read the 'Heart of Darkness' (the book which inspired the movie) you will realise that Hopper was the only guy who really understood the character he was playing.

(I know, KB you must be bristling here, but in the book Kurtz hardly got any dialogues. If I remember correctly, the only words he said was, "the horror, the horror.")

Idle Thoughts said...

btw does any one remember harrison ford in the apocalypse?

KBR said...

i do remember ford, he was there in the briefing for matin sheen in the beginning of the film...

Nice bit abt kurtz and the book.
By eddie hopper u mean dennis hopper, well brando hated hopper and refused to shoot any scene with him. their scenes were shot seperatly and then edited together.

Idle Thoughts said...

Oops! Yes, Dennis Hopper. By the way, why don't you start a poll on characters that Brando did not play - but should have. Which roles would you have loved to seem him in?

KBR said...

that is coming up as a blog soon, working on that

Appleaday said...

kbr, are these ur 10 best or is it part of some popularity contest conducted by someone?

KBR said...

these are my top10, what i feel as a Brando watcher for life.
his best.

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About Me

anything which i can do by not getting up from my back side, is to my liking. hard work never killed anybody, but there is always a first time for everything. SO CHILL is my motto.