Thursday, March 01, 2007

Marlon Brando never trusted himself with comedy, and yet was very good at it. Besides the great heavy dramatic parts he is most famous for, there is only 1 comic performance for which he won rave reviews _ the freshman. a work of pure genius.

Brando and his comic movies:
The teahouse of the august moon - a delightful romp in post war Japan, where Brando plays a Japanese interpreter who hoodwinks the US army captain, played by Glen Ford. Brando is very good at it and excels in the physical comedy. His body language is very good and the most important thing called timing, he has in plenty. The opening and closing monologues played directly to the camera are hilarious. A must watch and a huge hit when it was released.

Bedtime story - Brando is again in good form, in a movie which has unfairly been criticized.
Candy - a disaster of a movie has Brando and the rest of the cast hamming away.
The countess of Hong Kong - a movie 30 years too late, this would have been very successful had it released in the 30s. Brando has his moments, but the film as a whole just does not take off. Of course there are scenes where Brando is genuinely funny when he is figuring out where to hide Sophia Loren in his cabin and there is incessant knocking on the door.
The freshman - a brilliant movie and a great performance. already have a post on it.
Don Juan Demarco - good solid film and Brando is in good form and has amazing sexual chemistry with Faye Dunaway, the high point Brando and Depp enjoying playing of against each other..
Free Money - a bad film, with Brando having fun and that’s about it.

Besides these Brando has given performances where he has indulged in comedy even though the genre of the movie may be different: Guys and Dolls - great film and the anti western Missouri Breaks, where he gave a twist to his character and played him as a sadistic hit man who has his quirks which resulted in the comic elements. Suffice to say that Brando was mesmerizing in this film.

SO the man had it all, and he did it all.


sonny said...

excellent stuff, as always, kbr. i look forward to your every post. thanks and keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Great posts, kbr! I agree with you totally that Bedtime Story is a much underrated movie. Brando was hilarious in it (just look at his facial expressions!) and the story remains very interesting and funny even after all these years. The only thing that I personally prefer in BS's remake, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, is the ending. [SPOILERS] I just didn't think Brando's character was ready to settle down and it would have been much funnier IMO if things turned out the way they did in the remake. That’s my only criticism, otherwise it's a really good film. I hate it when some critics call it a waste of Brando's talent, because I think on the contrary it showed what a versatile actor he was. He really could do anything :)

KBR said...

anonymous, (i assume ur joan from imdb), bed time is something which everyone feels that an actor of Brando's talent should not have done. they dont realise that brando wanted to do everything possible and his nature was such that he would get bored with the everyday routine of only doing dramatic films. he had never done a slapstick comedy before and he did it with bed time. he was fun and i agree with you on the ending. any other actor in brando's role and this movie would have been a hit, but the critics and public felt that how can the king of dramatic acting be doing all this trivial funny stuff. they had put him on a pedestal and he dint want to be on that pedestal. period

Anonymous said...

Hi Kbr.. That was not me commenting on Bedtime..I did so on wishing he had made Lawrence of Arabia..I did sign my name at the bottom.I did not get around to seeing Bedtime Story...I have seen many with more to go...
I'm a total Brando person who see's the good he does in some of his not so good scripts.Again good luck

Christian Doig said...

Sorry KBR, but I must tell you, I enjoyed Free Money very much. Of course, Brando was the reason; I find him very, very funny in that. Also, before I forget, Sayonara was a great movie with a GREAT performance by Brando, so nuanced that it contains some of his most sublime stuff. His sense of humor is that contagious and irresistible, I regard it in such high steem I almost always kinda take for granted how fine a comedian Brando was in Sayonara!

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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.