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The Don is dead

I could not possibly let the day pass by without reference to the death of Marlon Brando.


As far as I am concerned, there are actors, good actors and then there are stars. Brando was a star. But of all the roles he played, I will remember him best for his potrayal of mafia boss, Vito Corleone, in the Godfather. Not only did his enormous screen presence seer itself into every frame, but he took this character and turned it into a genuine cultural icon.

R.I.P Marlon Brando.

11 comments to The Don is dead

  • toolkien

    Apparently Brando could be labeled a left libertarian. While he seems to not have had much use for Pols and government in general, he obviously did not have much use for capitalists. He seems to have had a very Hollywood Fictionalized view of businessmen in general. He may have been a fine actor, but he certainly belongs on the list of Hollywood lefties and their strange way of looking at the world.

  • Susan

    Brando, along with Marilyn Monroe and several others, was one of the stars who broke away from the old Hollywood studio system in the late 50s-early 60s and insisted on being treated as a “free agent” with a per-picture fee and percentage of receipts.

    Capitalism was perfectly okay with Brando as long as it lined his own pockets.

  • Fabian Smith

    Susan, toolkein – you’re too late with your stilletoes, stabbing a man who is dead doesn’t have much effect.

    Shame on you. Your spiteful vitriol, based on your political prejudice is best kept to yourself.

    I watched Apocolypse Now Redux again today and he gives a very commanding performance in that. He had a tremendous presence and was a very striking looking. Of course he played many other iconic roles as well. He achieved a lot for a man who had a troubled family life. Let the man rest in peace.

  • Susan

    I’m not being spiteful at all, I genuinely admired many of Mr. Brando’s performances.

    I was just pointing out that he was one of the actors responsible for the demise of the old Hollywood studio system and one of the ones who blazed the trail for the $20 million+ paychecks for today’s megastars.

    Why are Leftists so incredibly tunnel-visioned? A simple remark on Mr. Brando’s financial acumen is transformed into “spitefulness” and “vitriol.” Christ, dude, get an enema or something.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    What a fine actor he was. His performances in Godfather and On the Waterfront seal his reputation as a great actor and big star.

    Susan, I agree with your points. However, compared to a lot of the current overpaid twits of Hollywood, Brando had buckets of integrity.

  • Zevilyn

    Brando wasted his talent. You watch him in On The Waterfront and Streetcar Named Desire and you think “what a waste”.
    He went from being a huge talent to just plain huge, a monument of greed and sloth (a bit like Michael Moore heh).

    I think his earliest roles were his best. He spent the last 30 or so years of his life doing nothing.

    Judging by what happened to his kids, a crap father too.

    He snatched failure from the claws of success, I’m afraid.

  • Chris Goodman

    My tribute at the altar of celebrity.

    “Marlon Brando: A dim and selfish ham actor

  • toolkien

    I merely point out, in his own words, that Brando lumped the average business man and capitalists in with mafia dons as casually and as blasely as if he was ordering fish off a menu and I’m spewing vitriol? The man was cracked. Perhaps one needs to be cracked to be able to be convincing as an entirely different person as dramatic roles, such as he played, called for. But just because he gave a few moving performances doesn’t mean he gets a free ride with his opinions. Having integrity and opinions is all well and fine, in fact I’d say most people firmly believe in something of some sort, but I don’t have to give them credence. To belittle and marginalize capitalism as he did does not deserve praise, it deserves a rebuke. If I had chosen to be vitriolic, my initial comment would have been much longer, as anyone who has become practiced at ignoring my average post, can attest.

  • Fabian Smith

    The point is the man is barely cold in the ground, someone posts a tribute and saddos start using it to take a pop at the man. That is bad form, extremely rude.

    How can no-bodies whose claim to fame is posting their opinions on a weblog, criticise an artist who has acted in at least five of the most critically acclaimed films of cinema history? I think you obviously have delusions of the importance of the posts you make on here.

    And as for Brandos comparison of ‘capitalists’ with mafia bosses – he was very specific about which corporations. It was those corporations that were ripping off the consumer and endangering the safety of the consumer in an unethical attempt to maintain high dividends. He’s bloody right to criticise that sort of practice. Those corporations give capitalism a bad name and by speaking up against it Brando is actually defending ethical capitalism – something which as you say, he personally benefitted from. Don’t tell me you be-grudge a man earning the maximum he possibly can for doing a damn good job (except in The Island of Dr Moreau, of course)?

  • harryj

    I have not seen “Viva Zapata” mentioned anywhere as one of Brando’s memorable films, though it leaps to my thoughts when Brando is mentioned. There is a moment when Brando unnoticed in a corner among fellow peasants, asks a pointed question of the governor. Asked his name in a menacing way, he replies Emiliano Zapata, ensuring the name will be remembered. Very powerful stuff.

  • toolkien

    How can no-bodies whose claim to fame is posting their opinions on a weblog, criticise an artist who has acted in at least five of the most critically acclaimed films of cinema history? I think you obviously have delusions of the importance of the posts you make on here.

    And by some miracle YOU are not a nobody to be uplifting the cannon of who shall be respected and when? Have I missed something, Mr. Smith? We’re eating from the same plate, mate, so take your offense and place it in a solar-radiation-challenged locale of your choice.

    Mr. Brando’s words speak for themselves. Your whole argument seems to stem from a logic that since he was a great actor his opinion matters, “that he was a SOMEBODY” and the great unwashed such as myself should just clam up. Well, just because he was an actor, and has apparently got curb appeal for some, doesn’t mean the tripe he allowed to drip out of his mouth means any more than my opinion. Perhaps if he had some recoginition as a thinker versus an actor, fine, other wise he simply was another in a long line of Hollywood types who delude themselves (and apparently others) into thinking their opinion matters a great deal.

    As for how he lived his life, more power to him. I don’t begrudge his earning power or how he spent it. I do find it hypocritical that he, who benifitted nicely from capitalism, and those who practice it, should revile it so much. You point out that he was specific, but if you read it again, the comments were general with a few examples, not a specific statement as a whole. So he, like so many of the Hollywood left, benifit greatly from a system they deride. That makes them hypocrits of the first order, and simply dying doesn’t make it any less so.