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A sprawling two-hour forty-five minute documentary about screen legend Marlon Brando, features never-before-seen footage and a series of original, in-depth interviews from a wide variety of Hollywood figures and family members. Included are classic film clips from many of his films including "A Streetcar Named Desire (1951);" "Viva Zapata!" (1952); "Julius Caesar" (1953); "The Wild One" (1953); "On the Waterfront" (1954); "Guys and Dolls" (1955); "The Teahouse of the August Moon" (1956); "Sayonara" (1957); "The Young Lions" (1958); "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1962); "The Chase" (1966); "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967); "The Godfather" (1972); "Last Tango in Paris" (1973); "The Missouri Breaks" (1976); "Superman" (1978); "Apocalypse Now" (1979); "A Dry White Season" (1989); "The Freshman" (1990) and "Don Juan Demarco" (1995). Among the many peers, family members and friends making appearances include Ellen Adler, Ed Begley, Andrew Bergman, Bernardo Bertolucci, James Caan, Johnny Depp, ... Written by
Excellent two-part documentary on Brando covers a lot of ground...
BRANDO is a stunning documentary that will certainly have its largest appeal for true Brando fans who will undoubtedly be fascinated by all the clips from his films--and even more so, by the home movies made when Brando was just coming into prominence and surrounded by other up and coming stars like MONTGOMERY CLIFT, KEVIN McCARTHY and JAMES DEAN.
He certainly had a striking film presence and this comes across in all the stills from some of his most famous earlier roles up until his gradual decline from super-stardom with MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY.
Like many other male stars who loved pranks and rebelled against authority (Errol Flynn, Robert Walker, Montgomery Clift), he was sent off to military school at an early age in order to instill some sort of discipline in his behavior. It didn't work.
Nor could his energies be channeled in any one direction until he found out that acting was his forte. But even then, directors found him to be quite a challenge for he was always a strong free spirit. Scenes from THE MEN,A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, ON THE WATERFRONT, THE WILD ONE and JULIUS CAESAR show the dynamic range that he had and gave full expression to up until the 1960s when his career began to falter with several misfires in a row instead of hits.
What's most incisive about the documentary is how it shows that even in his early theater days on Broadway, it was evident that his talent had a strong effect on audiences. Some very revealing talks about TRUCKLINE CAFE, in which he dominated the play with his strong presence and stunned theatergoers with the power of his performance, are among the most interesting segments of the documentary as we trace his early start in theater work and see how inevitable it would be that Hollywood would call.
Perhaps Part II of the documentary should have been called "The Rise and Fall of Marlon Brando" because it deals in depth with his decline and occasional bursts of success followed by even more plummeting to the depths in his personal life, which, quite frankly, was a mess. But rather than concentrate on all that went wrong in his personal life, I'll simply say that he remains a sympathetic figure despite some bad choices (such as refusing his second Oscar over the plight of Indians in America). Instead, the documentary reveals Brando with all his faults and virtues and leaves it up to the spectator to make what he will of a man who was an undisputed talent.
His influence on fellow artists is confirmed by AL PACINO and JOHN TURTURRO, both of whom remain loyal to the man they feel most influenced the work of "method" actors throughout the years.
Much evidence that he was strikingly handsome in his youth makes it even sadder to see that he ended up as a corpulent version of Orson Welles--a result of a personal life that exploded with stress and a pattern of overeating extended by his stubborn lack of discipline.
Summing up: But throughout it all, he remains a legendary star if only for the brilliant parts he played at the height of his powers.
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