Wednesday, July 11, 2007


My first exposure to the magic of Brando

I was 9 years old in 1985, when i happened to see my first Brando movie - Desiree'. A box office hit, but the critics termed it as a typical candy floss, Hollywood spectacle.

But what I am trying to drive at is, the fact, I was completely stunned / bowled over / besotted by the charisma of Brando.

It was a typical Hollywood film, good to look at etc, but what stayed with me ever since was that the man who played Napoleon was Napoleon. I could not take my eyes of Brando, everything he did some how looked like something i had never seen before.

A 9 year old does not know Marlon Brando from Adam, nor does he know about the kind of impact this man created 35 years back when he burst on to the world stage, I as a kid was stunned coz being from India, i have a very strong local film industry which is called Bollywood and had seen various actors (Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar etc), who are regarded as the best ever and I thought to myself why does this man playing Napoleon look familiar and yet completely different. As i grew older I realized that both the Indian actors have been influenced (and they have both conceded that) by Brando and that his characteristics crept into their performances subconsciously.

All I can say I was a worshipper for life of the magic of Brando.

5 comments:

Christian Doig said...

Very interesting. Personally, my first Brando was a light one as well: Superman. Napoleon and Jor-El have that combination of seriousness and fun that Brando mastered actually very early on. I for one consider Desirée to be his first comedy.

KBR said...

his first comedy is a nice way of looking at it. Brando himself dint take the movie or his performance too seriously and just let his costume do the acting for him. thats whay he says...

but he even in his casualness, he totally rocked.

superman is another great example, he might have been bushwacked by some critics of that time for his paypacket and for appearing in a silly comic book film, but the fact is he bought gravitas to the entire thing and nearly 30 years later when superman was launched again, they could think of only brando as the caped ones father...

how is that for impact...

sonny said...

great post and comments. amazing that at 9, you knew something was special about him, kbr.

that's good calling desiree a comedy, christian ;)

Idle Thoughts said...

my first exposure to the magic of brando was with the 'mutiny on the bounty'.

you can imagine how havoc much the topless women played on my barely adolescent mind. however brando did manage to leave an indelible impression.

i saw the 'apocalypse now' for the umpteenth time yesterday. and the brando magic is as fresh as ever.

bibhuti said...

I feel that one of the most enduring and defining performance by Brando was of Terry Malloy in 'On the Waterfront'. Little wonder then that Martin Scorsese modeled the finale of his 'Raging Bull' as homage to 'On the Waterfront'. This Oscar-winning 1954 American film about mob violence and corruption among longshoremen has become a standard of its kind. While this film can be rated as one of the most 'iconic' portrayals by any actor ever, ironically upon the screening of the completed version of 'On The Waterfront', Brando walked out even before the film could end. He later confirmed in his book 'Songs My Mother Taught Me' that 'on the day Kazan (the director) showed me the completed picture, I was so depressed by my performance that I got up and left the screening room'.
What is also interesting to know is that while shooting the movie, Brando had it written in his contract that he would be allowed to leave the set early everyday to see his therapist. :)

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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.