|Marlon Brando: An American
This series also screens at the Aero Theatre (May 27 - June 3, 2005).
Will there ever be another American actor with the volcanic force, the feral
grace and unforgettable intelligence of Marlon Brando? Its for good reason that his
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and ON THE WATERFRONT director Elia Kazan said, "Brando
was as close to genius as Ive ever met among actors" Its been less
than a year since he passed away and already we feel his absence.
Brando, unlike many of his contemporaries from the Method school of acting, had the
astounding emotional range to always seem modern, no matter how audience tastes changed.
Revolutionary in his acting and his behavior, Brando was influential not only on the film
scene, but also in helping numerous campaigns for social justice. Even in his later years,
when he became less accessible to the media and the general public, Brando always
encouraged and inspired young talent. From his initial, earth-shaking roles in A
STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and ON THE WATERFRONT to more obscure gems like ONE EYED
JACKS, BURN! and NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY, to such later masterworks as THE GODFATHER
and APOCALYPSE NOW, Brandos career arguably parallels and most
certainly influenced -- the history of American screen acting over the past five decades.
Rather than say more, let's instead take time to look again at the best known characters
that Brando brought to life on the big screen. The Cinematheque is proud to pay tribute to
this eminent performer and motion picture legend.
Friday, June 10 7:30 PM
Brando + Kazan Double Feature:
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, 1951, Warner Bros., 122 min.
Director Elia Kazans overpowering adaptation of Tennessee Williams
classic play made Marlon Brando a household name practically overnight for his
incendiary portrayal of working-class Stanley Kowalski, who collides headlong with fragile
Southern belle Blanche Dubois (Vivien Leigh) when she moves in with her sister,
Stanleys wife Stella (Kim Hunter). Brilliantly acted and mounted on every level,
with Academy Awards going to Leigh for Best Actress, Hunter for Best Supporting Actress
and Karl Malden for Best Supporting Actor. Brando ironically lost out to Humphrey
Bogart, who won Best Actor for THE AFRICAN QUEEN but after five decades,
theres no doubt who the film belongs to: Brando claims every square inch of it, body
and soul, in one of the most electrifying performances in American screen history. >>
Also playing at the Aero on June 3.
ON THE WATERFRONT, 1954, Columbia, 108 min. "I
coulda been somebody
I coulda been a contender
Elia Kazan adapts Budd Schulbergs grueling account of Hoboken dock-worker
life, starring Marlon Brando in his most iconic performance as a washed-up prize
fighter who falls in love with the sister (Eva Marie Saint) of the "stool
pigeon" he set up for corrupt union organizer Lee J. Cobb (in one of the
screens most convincing portraits of everyday human evil) Rod Steiger delivers
a wrenching performance as the older brother who helped betray Brandos chances as a
boxer, and Karl Malden is the tough working-class priest who serves as
Brandos conscience. Winner of 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Actor
(Brando) and Director. >> Also playing at the Aero on June 2.
Saturday, June 11 6:30 PM
APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX, 1979, Miramax, 202 min.
Reluctant assassin Martin Sheen leads a boat-load of military surfer-boys and
sauciers upriver to find renegade colonel Marlon Brando, in director Francis
Ford Coppolas magnificent, crazed, wildly surreal Vietnam epic. Brando was
famously paid $1 million to play Col. Kurtz, and apparently caused no little consternation
when he showed up on set seroiusly overweight but his brooding, seductive,
amazingly lucid performance as the psychopath Kurtz provides the perfect black hole at the
center of Coppolas nightmarish vision ("You must make a friend of horror.
Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be
feared."). Adapted by Coppola and co-writer John Milius from Joseph Conrads
Heart of Darkness, and co-starring Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms
and Dennis Hopper. Introduction by actor Frederic
>> Also playing at the Aero on May 27.
Sunday, June 12 5:00 PM
THE GODFATHER, 1972, Paramount, 175 min. Director Francis
Ford Coppola transformed author Mario Puzos sprawling Mafia saga into the Great
American Movie of the 1970s, a towering, cinematically-stunning portrait of darkness
and violence overwhelming every level of American society like a monstrous tidal wave. Al
Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire and Robert Duvall head one of the
best casts assembled since CITIZEN KANE but the lions share of attention went
to Marlon Brando for his unforgettable, career-reviving performance as Don Vito
>> Also playing at the Aero on May 28.