Mostly Thoughtless

Tam Brahm, thank you ma'am

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Last Tango in Los Angeles!

This morning, I woke up at around 6:30 and like I always do, ambled across to the living room. I saw 'The Hindu' lying on the table and picked it up to glance through all the headlines. The first one I saw, however, left me dumbfounded. It read - 'Marlon Brando is Dead'.

The Legend passed away in Los Angeles last night of a lung failure. He was 80.

Considered by many to be the greatest actor of all time, the man was pure magentism. Who else could convey power and inspire awe so effectively without even raising a hand or word as he so successfully did in 'The Godfather', one of the greatest movies of all time? There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that only Marlon Brando could have done justice to the role of the enigmatic Don Vito Corleone, who still lives on in the hearts of millions of book and movie lovers.

Some of his other memorable films include 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 'On The Waterfront', 'Last Tango in Paris', 'The Wild One' and 'Apocalypse Now'.

Apart from a glittering on-screen career, Brando was also famous for his eccentricity and unpredictability. His refusal of the Oscar for 'The Godfather', when he sent Sacheen Littlefeather to express his displeasure at the wrongs committed against the Native Americans by the American Film Industry, is a case in point. At that point of time, he had already won an Oscar for his performance in 'On The Waterfront'. Even today, the Native American people haven't forgotten his gesture, as seen here.

Even in one of his most famous films 'Apocalypse Now', Brando caused a lot of problems during shooting. After being paid $1 million in advance, Brando reportedly threatened to quit and keep the money. Francis Ford Coppola, the director, told his agent that he didn't care, and if they couldn't get Brando, they would try Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, and then Al Pacino. Brando eventually turned up late, drunk, 40kg overweight, and admitted he hadn't read the script or even 'Heart of Darkness', the book it was based on. He then read Coppola's script, and refused to do it. After days of arguments over single lines of dialogue, an ad-lib style script was agreed upon, and this was shot according to Brando's stipulations that he appears in shadows. That's why, whenever he appears in the film, there is a surrealistic look to the entire scene. He was last seen on screen in 'The Score' along with Edward Norton and Robert De Niro.

In spite of all these incidents, Marlon Brando is still an icon in the truest sense of the word. All up and coming actors will have to endure the invariable comparison with the legend at some point or the other in their careers. Thank God for small mercies, we still have his movies to remember hm by.

Finally, to end this post, a fitting line from 'The Hollow Men' by T.S Eliot which was also inspired from the 'Heart of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad.

"This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
Not with a bang but with a whimper."


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9:36 PM  

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