Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Brando in the Wild West.

The Wild West is a genre which has been explored in minute detail by Hollywood from the time Cinema came into inception. A lot of stars, directors have put their spin on things. Some stars have made legendary careers out of the west (John Wayne, Clint Eastwood etc.)

Now when the greatest actor decided to tackle the Wild West, what does he do. He does things his own way and puts his own brilliant spin on the WEST.
Marlon Brando has acted in 3 movies which can be called outright westerns.
One Eyed Jacks (which he directed)
The Appaloosa
The Missouri Breaks

One Eyed Jacks – Brando directs and acts wonderfully to conjure up a story of revenge and love which has a lot of subtext for the characters to convey. Have a post on it already. This is without a doubt one of the finest westerns ever, have some of the juiciest dialogues ever. A sample below -

You might be a One eyed Jack around here, Dad. But I have seen the other side of your face.
Get up, you big lard of guts
Sure kid, you will get a fair trial and then I will hang you myself

Brando directs wonderfully and is a picture postcard movie to see.

The Appaloosa – A decent movie, no great shakes, Brando does his brooding bit, has some genuinely wonderful moments, again lovingly shot. John Saxon as the villain has a great role and Brando’s brooding goes well with Saxon’s bravado. Has an arm wresting match between the 2 with a scorpion for company. A wonderful moment, which stays with you long after you have seen the movie. A movie which was released when Brando’s career was on the downswing, it failed at the box office but definitely not as bad as the critics would have it.

The Missouri Breaks – The most eccentric western ever. Again have a post on it. This has no redeemable characters and has Brando with Nicholson. 2 of the biggest icons of pop culture together as adversaries in different western. An eccentric western which debunks every traditional western tradition. Great ride with Brando holding sway over the proceedings. The ends result being one of Brando’s most mesmerizing star performances. He is odd, funny, sadistic, quirky and more while Nicholson is the lovable composed rogue.

What all these movies do is provide us with the fact that Brando was never predictable 9 times out of 10. The routine was something which he hated and thus came the unexpected, the strange, the wonderful magic of Brando unleashed on a genre, which has always been good guys v/s bad guys, leaving no room for the grey in between.


Christian Doig said...

Wonder what would have been like to have had Brando as Hud, or even Jett Rink in Giant. I remember him being pretty dismissive of what Hollywood has always stood for, especially in the Western genre, and those films had been nice vehicles for his iconoclastic approach to anything. Yet, hey, Newman and Dean were born to do those parts. What it has always struck me as a curious thing, is that, even though Newman isn't nearly as brooding as Brando, he seems to be channeling Brando's method, more than any Method, in one of his true signature roles along with Cool Hand Luke. And for Dean -- I happened to discovered him in Giant, and it was Brando all over the place in my opinion at the time. That kind of dissapointed me for a while, but later I grew to admire Dean precisely because of his own admirative recreation of the Great one style.

KBR said...

well put...
brando had a huge influence on nearly every actor working at that time, it could be his juniors (dean, newman) or it could be his seniors (cary grant, quinn)

i would have loved to see brando in the hud, but alas and that role according to me is Newman at his best...
they took what they could from brando and they put their own spin on things

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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.