“The only thing an actor owes his public is not to bore them.” — Marlon Brando

“Sending Marlon Brando to acting class was like sending a tiger to jungle school.” – Stella Adler


It’s his birthday today.

Let’s start off with this, a piece I had long wanted to write: Revelations about Marlon Brando in about 5 or 6 pages in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.

Next up, another piece I’ve been saying “I really should write that” for literally over a decade. Old-timers will remember its genesis here: About those movie scenes when men look at themselves in the mirror, for the Musings blog at Oscilloscope. Brando has a DOOZY in Reflections in a Golden Eye. (Great performance.)

“You can’t always be a failure. Not and survive. Van Gogh! There’s an example of what can happen when a person never receives any recognition. You stop relating: it puts you outside. But I guess success does that, too. You know, it took me a long time before I was aware that that’s what I was – a big success. I was so absorbed in myself, my own problems, I never looked around, took account. I used to walk in New York, miles and miles, walk in the streets late at night, and never see anything. I was never sure about acting, whether that was what I really wanted to do; I’m still not. Then, when I was in ‘Streetcar’, and it had been running a couple of months, one night — dimly, dimly — I began to hear this roar.”
Marlon Brando


“We all know that movie actors often merge with their roles in a way that stage actors don’t, quite, but Brando did it even on the stage. I was in New York when he played his famous small role in Truckline Cafe in 1946; arriving late at a performance, and seated in the center of the second row, I looked up and saw what I thought was an actor having a seizure onstage. Embarrassed for him, I lowered my eyes, and it wasn’t until the young man who’d brought me grabbed my arm and said, ‘Watch this guy!’ that I realized he was acting.”
Pauline Kael


4 things about the famous taxicab scene in On the Waterfront:

1. In the closeups of Rod Steiger, he wasn’t even talking to Brando. Brando had left to go see his shrink. Steiger did his closeups looking at Kazan. You would never know. Steiger never forgave Brando for that.

2. When Rod Steiger pulls the gun on him: the way it was written was to have Brando be shocked and frightened, and say his lines from a panicked emotional “don’t shoot me” state. Brando knew it was wrong. He couldn’t say why. His understanding of acting was not a verbal one (although he could be extremely articulate about character development and script analysis. Listen to some of the things he said about Stanley Kowalski. He had thought about this shit.) Brando tried to express his issues with the gun-moment in Waterfront to Kazan before shooting. “If my brother pulled a gun on me … I wouldn’t be like this … ” He couldn’t express his feelings about it, he just knew it wasn’t real. Kazan said, “Okay – so show me how you would do it.” They played the scene. Steiger pulled the gun. And Brando’s response, now an indelible moment in American cinema, flowed out naturally. His sorrowful look, the gentle “shame on you” glance he gives his brother, the regret, shaking his head, putting his hand on the gun, gentle, gentle, like, “No, no, you’re my brother … no … this isn’t you …” Brando always chose relationship over abstraction and that stunning moment is the best example I can think of of his sense of emotional truth. Directors who didn’t trust him in that way, who didn’t trust that he knew more about emotional truth than they did, were in for a tough time with him. Kazan said later, about that most celebrated scene in Waterfront:

“What other actor, when his brother draws a pistol to force him to do something shameful, would put his hand on the gun and push it away with the gentleness of a caress? Who else could read, ‘Oh, Charley,’ in a tone of reproach that is so loving and so melancholy, and suggests that terrific depth of pain? I didn’t direct that; Marlon showed me, as he often did, how the scene should be performed. I never could have told him how to do that scene as well as he did it.”

And lastly:

3. Brando taped his lines to the top of the cab roof, so he could glance up at them for reference if he ever got lost during the scene. You can even catch him doing it at times, if you’re looking for it. Those who do not understand acting often use the “cue card” Brando thing as evidence that he was a slacker, or somehow pulling one over on us. (Peter Manso took that stance in his poison-pen biography. Honestly, I wish that people who spent so much time writing about movies and movie-making would devote just a little bit of time to researching and understanding acting. Or take an acting 101 class. Play a scene. Rehearse it. Try to “get there.” Just see what it’s like. Just to understand a little bit about this most important element of the artform they supposedly revere so much.) All I can say is: Actors who have learned their lines perfectly can only WISH they were as connected to action/objective/emotion as Brando was in those scenes where he was “just reading off cue cards.”

So after all that:


A post I wrote about the development of Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway.

A post I wrote on Peter Manso’s biography of Brando. Some good stuff there on why I think Manso is an idiot.

An excerpt from Truman Capote’s famous New Yorker profile of Brando.


Thank you so much for stopping by. If you like what I do, and if you feel inclined to support my work, here’s a link to my Venmo account. And I’ve launched a Substack, Sheila Variations 2.0, if you’d like to subscribe.

This entry was posted in Actors, Movies, On This Day and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to “The only thing an actor owes his public is not to bore them.” — Marlon Brando

  1. Fantastic analysis, Sheila. I was just talking about this scene with my parents on Easter. I didn’t know about Steiger having to do his close-ups to Kazan – which is fascinating. My Dad and I were talking about how good Steiger is in the scene, how you watch Brando/Terry turn him around and how he projects that shame and self-loathing very subtly. All of that flows from Brando’s choices.

    Brando is just so good in that movie, and especially that scene, that I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it. Is there a better two-handed scene anywhere in the movies? I doubt it. Thanks, as always.

    • sheila says:

      Love that you were just talking about it!

      Yeah, Brando took the ferry back to New York in the afternoon to see his shrink. He would not miss the appointment. Steiger could go fuck himself. No one said geniuses were necessarily nice people! Ha! But again, in the end, you would never ever know – that’s how good STEIGER is. He’s amazing in this scene as well. Brando can’t do it alone.

      • The look in Steiger’s eyes by the end of the scene is just devastating. He’s been totally gutted. He gets into the car one person, and he’s another one altogether after Terry’s words. It’s haunting.

        Sheila, I also startled my mother and amused my dad with my impression of Lee J. Cobb saying “They’re dustin’ off the HOT SEAT for me!” Of course, my father never misses a chance to remind me he saw the original production of DEATH OF A SALESMAN with Cobb, Arthur Kennedy & Mildred Dunnock.

        • sheila says:

          Right – Steiger goes through this huge change. They both do. It’s really upsetting.

          And no money/time for rear projection? No problem. The Venetian blinds are awesome, this slightly surreal touch.

  2. Laura says:

    Beautiful. I love reading your posts. They’re a testimony to your profound, intellectual thoughts. Thank you.

  3. goodfellow says:

    I read this incident somewhere else too.

    I think it should be made clear that before Brando signed the contract with Elia Kazan for the On the Waterfront. He specified on the contract that everyday before 4:00 pm he must leave to see his shrink.

    So, to blame Brando for his absence in that scene is not fair. I think it is the director, Kazan, who should have arranged the shooting schedule differently. So, it could be shot before 4:00 pm, thus this incident would have not happened.

    • sheila says:

      // So, to blame Brando for his absence in that scene is not fair. //

      Tell that to Rod Steiger.

      • Goodfellow says:

        Since it was demanded by Brando and specified on the contract in advance that he would leave every day before 4:00 pm during the shooting to see his shrink, shouldn’t Brando as a result be entitled to do so?

        Since director Kazan knew this in advance, should he schedule the shoot accordingly to avoid it?

        We don’t know the common practice of that era. Could it be possible that this didn’t only happen in this film production but other as well? In short, it was not an isolated situation. At least we know today movie stars can have a lot of demands or special treatments during the shooting.

        I also read this incident must hurt Rod Steiger’s ego, he had since never forgiven Brando and Kazan and had used every opportunity to badmouthed them. Ironically, On the Waterfront actually elevated his status and boosted his career as an actor. Did Rod Steiger take this too personally and overreact?

        I am not here to defend Brando or anybody, but I really don’t see Brando should be blamed and this particular incident should be over-emphasized to reflect on Brando.

        • sheila says:

          Where do I “blame” Brando? I’m describing what happened, taken from multiple sources, all of whom were there. That’s what makes these backstage stories so much fun, so interesting. Rod Steiger never forgave Brando for that. That’s a fact. Doesn’t take away from how incredible Steiger is in the scene (which I’ve said before). We don’t all behave with perfect objectivity in our lives at all times, and that’s why this is a great story. Especially because the result is so extraordinary.

          I like the story for its details like that, its accidents and improvisational problem-solving – on all sides (acting, directing, set direction). The lesson here (and one of my favorites) is that an inspired scene such as that taxicab one – really came out the way it did through a mix of accident/discussion/problem-solving. And yet the result is awe-inspiring. I love that!!

          I’m not in the blame game. Doesn’t interest me at all. You’re mis-reading me if that’s what you got.

          You are new here, from what I can gather. This is how I write, and what I am interested in. I like three-dimensional stories.

          • Chris says:

            This is great stuff, Sheila, and a perfect example of your value to the cinematic blogosphere. No one breaks down the nuances of film acting in specific scenes with the great insight and detail that you do. I don’t want to reward your great work by issuing you a homework assignment, but….

            There’s something I’ve been afraid to admit for some time now, and I’m only willing to divulge my deep dark secret on your blog because I respect your thespian erudition, which would validate any thoughts you might have. In other words, if you think I’m a movie moron I’d accept that coming from you. The truth is, I find it hard to judge acting when it’s performed in a foreign language. There, I’ve said it. I pride myself on being an elitist cinephile snob (in the uh, err, positive sense) and I’ve been watching foreign films since 1985 (starting with “The Seventh Seal”, Vogue Theater – R.I.P., Louisville, KY). I appreciate charisma, screen presence, sex appeal, expressive faces, and I can recognize effectively rendered extreme emotion, but the importance you place on something like Brando’s emphasis on the right word in his scene with Steiger is lost when the actors speak a language I don’t understand. When watching foreign films, a large part of my brain is devoted to simply keeping up with the relay of basic information provided by the subtitles – and often subtitles translate only BASIC information. I agree with your terrific insight about the brilliance of Brando’s decision to emphasize SOMEbody instead of BEEN. Had he been speaking a foreign language, even Spanish (a language I studied in high school), the power of his choice of emphasis would have been lost on me. Good actors make a seemingly limitless number of these kinds of decisions in a single performance. More good decisions than bad result in a performance that is “well acted.”

            So, what do you think? Is this a subject worthy of a future blog post?

          • sheila says:

            Chris – this is an extremely interesting comment. I’ve thought a lot about it.

            One of the things I do to combat that is watch foreign films with the subtitles turned off. (Once I’ve already watched the film with the subtitles turned on, that is.) So once I know the plot and don’t have to worry about it, I turn off the subtitles so that I can focus purely on behavior, nuance, and inflection.

            It actually works wonders.

            There will always be some problems with things being “lost in translation.”

            But in terms of being a viewer: Film is so visual, and often body language tells you more than words ever will. Removing the words helps sharpen my eyesight.

            And about inflection: that’s a very interesting observation and I’m not sure what we can do about it. I know that I seek out writers who speak whatever language it is who can speak to these things – and sometimes you find really good stuff. Sometimes, though, you’re stuck.

            Body language changes from culture to culture – what “works” in one won’t work in another – Part of the fun is trying to immerse myself in another culture where, say, people AREN’T as open or transparent – where conformity of language is highly prized. The first one that comes to mind is Tokyo Story – a total heart-breaker – but not in the style of, say, East of Eden or whatever. But it’s equally as tragic. Just because the people don’t fall to their knees weeping doesn’t mean the emotions aren’t as tormented.

            Sometimes this “lost in translation” thing comes up, too, when watching silent films. The style of acting is different and contemporary people – raised on Brando – have the unfortunate habit of pooh-poohing the more presentational style of acting.

            HUGE mistake and betrays, yet again, a total misunderstanding of what acting is, its history, and how it developed. There are performances equally as wrenching as Brando’s – it was just Lon Chaney’s birthday yesterday – and his great “sad clown” performances in He Who Gets Slapped and Laugh, Clown, Laugh – are towering achievements of film acting.

            So … long answer to your beautiful comment …

            I’m not sure how much we can do about these issues. But I do know that turning subtitles off can be a revelation!

  4. Fiddlin Bill says:

    I thought I’d add this here, although I was just reading you on Karen Black’s work, particularly on her ability to actively create a character. This week Dish was running Missouri Breaks on some channel, and I watched most of it, and this time around I was just blown away by Brando’s creation, Robert E. Lee Clayton I think his name is. I think at the time too many viewers were mystified by this bizarre character, but there are such depths to Brando’s role. I have to wonder if he wrote much of his dialog, including deeply brilliant moments such as the attempted firing of Clayton by the weak, evil man who hired him to hunt rustlers. “You can fire me if you like,” says Clayton, but the work is mine, and I’ll finish it as I wish. I don’t care about the money.” This role, and some others of Brando in the ’70s, are also great examples of the ’70s as a golden era of American films. And while Clayton is a wonderfully florid experience, Reflections in a Golden Eye still blows me away with it’s tension and restraint.

    • sheila says:

      You make me want to see Missouri Breaks again – I can’t remember the last time I saw it.

      and yeah, Brando is really something. He just was a genius, what can you do. But it still blows me away, his subtlety and intelligence. My recent viewing of Viva Zapata was so much fun. Of course I’ve seen them all before, but he is still thrilling onscreen, no matter the repetition.

    • sheila says:

      // And while Clayton is a wonderfully florid experience, Reflections in a Golden Eye still blows me away with it’s tension and restraint. //

      I love your description of it as “florid”.

      Golden Eye is so great.

      I’m wondering if you’ve seen the Maysles’ brothers extraordinary documentary about Brando. It’s been restored recently, and it includes a lot of Brando dealing with the press/publicity – and he was a master there too. There are some clips floating around, I’ll track down some links.

  5. Fiddlin Bill says:

    I so much appreciated your bringing Capote’s profile with Brando into the conversation recently! I probably read it once long ago, but I’d forgotten it, and there’s so much of interest in Brando’s comments and responses. I rented Children of Paradise because he mentions it to Capote. That’s a doozy! I think I can see why Brando liked it–because it’s about actors. Re Missouri Breaks, Brando uses just about everything he’s got in that role. He is capable of breathtaking charm, of lurking danger, of humor, accents, bizarre twists. With Nicholson, who is a great actor too, there are some terrific scenes (up there with Hopper and Walken in True Romance). The scene in the bathtub is just hilarious, and Nicholson’s report to the others also hilarious: “if you try to kill him, just don’t talk to him first.” I think Missouri Breaks resonated with me this time around because times are so hard, and I hear people all the time talking about shooting thieves, and complaining about how the police and courts don’t “do anything.” We’re possibly not far from a world where “regulators” like Clayton actually roam the back country. Brando’s portrait of such a man is also a reminder that vigilantes are monsters. Clayton is just George Zimmerman, but with more character and more macabe humor, that is, Brando would always be much “bigger” than Zimmerman. Maybe an Elisa Cook could manage to do Zimmerman justice, i.e., portray him with accuracy–not that he should be glorified still further.

    • sheila says:

      Fiddlin’ Bill – that Truman Capote piece is still so shocking, even today!! You can’t believe how “tricked” Brando was by Capote – but I am glad he was, because some of the quotes Capote got (and I take everything Capote writes with a huge pound of salt) are so memorable. The quote that opens this birthday post – my favorite Brando statement EVER – comes from that Capote piece.

  6. Helena says:

    Just watched ‘Streetcar Named Desire’ and read your writing on Brando and Tennessee Williams. Wow to both.

  7. Rich says:

    A friend of mine was a script writer working on Mutiny on the Bounty in the early 1960’s. He told me this story in the mid 2970’s.

    Brando is having an affair with his co-star, Tarita who plays Maimite. Brando wife comes on the set to have a showdown with him. They are shooting scenes on the boat deck of the Bounty. Brando crouches down and hides behind the long boat or cutter that HMS Bounty had on its deck while the movie crew tells the wife that Brando is not there. She storms off. Brando, still hiding, asks if the coast is clear. The wife is Movita who starred in the first talkie version of Mutiny on the Bounty with Gable in 1935.

  8. sheila says:

    The On the Waterfront clip was bad – damn Sony for taking it down – I found a replacement clip!

  9. sheila says:

    Seeing Brando and Anna Magnani onscreen together in The Fugitive Kind is like a dream come true. http://www.sheilaomalley.com/?p=70152

    Now I can’t remember where I read it … I think it was in the Capote profile of him – I’d have to check – but Brando said once that the only actor he was afraid of was Anna Magnani. He knew he could dominate/scene-steal anyone onstage. But her? I think his quote was: “She’d eat me alive.”

    Then along came Fugitive Kind – and there they are together – and she doesn’t “eat him alive” but she is so spontaneous, so huge, so passionate and raw – you never know WHAT she’s going to do – that you can feel he really has to rise to the occasion. He’s got to FIGHT to hold the screen with her. It does him a world of good. Having no competition made him lazy.

    • sheila says:

      There’s a famous story about Marlon Brando visiting Montgomery Clift after Clift’s car accident which destroyed Clift’s face. Clift was in so much pain, and his whole face had to be reconstructed – and he had retreated into a cocoon of self-pity, loss, pain pills, the whole nine yards. He didn’t leave his house for months.

      Brando and Clift were not friends. They weren’t enemies, but they weren’t friends. So one day a car pulls up in front of Clift’s house. Someone – a friend of Clift who was there – tells the story. He looked out the window and saw Brando (he may have even been in costume, coming from the studio) get out of the car and walk up to the front door. He knocked.

      There was a quick pow-wow – “Monty – Brando’s outside.” “What? Why is he here?” “I have no idea but he’s knocking on the door.” “Let him in.”

      Brando came in and he and Clift went off into a room, had a conversation that lasted no longer than 10 minutes (Clift’s friend did not go in the room with them), and then Brando walked out of the room, out of the house, into the car, and drive away. Clift’s friend went into the room and Clift was standing there, in tears. The friend asked: “What did Marlon say to you??”

      Clift said that Marlon launched right into a lecture, basically slapping Clift around, telling him to get over himself, stop feeling sorry for himself, and get back to work. Brando said, “Don’t you know that you’re the only one out there who I compete with? You’re better than me. I NEED you out there to keep me on my toes. When you were nominated for Place in the Sun, I thought, ‘Oh shit, he has to win it’ even though I was nominated that year too.” Clift said, “I felt the same way about you that year!” Brando kept on raving: “And if you quit acting, there will be no one left. So get the fuck over yourself, and get back to work.”

      And then he marched out of the house. Clift was in tears saying, “I had no idea Marlon cared about me that way.”

      And Marlon’s pep-talk worked. Clift got himself together and went back to work.

  10. J Greely says:

    Sheila, have you seen Friday’s article on Superman in The Hollywood Reporter? In it, Richard Donner says about Brando, “…we had to put his dialogue on other actor’s chests. He would say, ‘I don’t want to read it like I’ve read it before a bunch of times. The first time I read it, it will be honest.'”


    • sheila says:

      :) Great timing! I hadn’t read that article – and I will – but I do know the anecdote. I love it.

      Yes. He understood acting for the camera better than most. (He also understood acting for the stage with its totally different requirements.)

    • sheila says:

      I love the taxi cab scene because you can SEE him searching for the words … and it may be Brando looking for his lines taped on the ceiling … but what the CAMERA sees is a man having a difficult moment that is somewhat beyond words. He was so brilliant that way.

      The same thing in the incredible scene in Last Tango in Paris, over his wife’s coffin. His lines taped all over the damn place. You can SEE him look for the lines. It just doesn’t matter because who he is – and the depth of his emotion – is so riveting you can barely breathe.

      Of course you have to be an acting genius to work like this. Or, at least, it helps.

      • sheila says:

        And there are all these stories of the insane shit he would do during the long run of Streetcar on Broadway. Imagine that man – who wanted to say things for the first time as the camera was rolling – doing 8 shows a week!! It drove him nuts!

        I have no idea the truth behind a lot of those stories, but they are amusing and they have the ring of truth to them, at least. Like putting an onion at the bottom of the stair-railing onstage, so he could touch it, put his finger in his eye, and get tears to come out for the Stella scene.

        He slept in the theatre. He had a boxing bag hung backstage and would punch away at it. I think he accidentally punched Jessica Tandy once when she got too close. He was, of course, mortified. But he turned himself inside OUT to keep that role fresh for every single show.

        I’m sure it was a total drag for him but it speaks to his discipline that he knew he had to do it.

  11. Nick says:

    I love that scene and I have ever since I first saw this movie way back when I was as 15 years (I’m on the verge of 59). Brando is amazing and he’s always been my favorite film actor, if only because he constantly surprised me, but Steiger was equally brilliant in this film and this scene. Fact is I feel he should’ve won the Supporting Actor Oscar that year. Every time I see this film Steiger’s Charley resonates more than Lee Cobb or Malden, both also nominated ( everyone lost to Edmund O’Brien’s press agent in Barefoot Contessa ). Thx for a great write up, Sheila .

  12. Just read that Manso post (“… knowing about his flawed personality does not take away from his work as an actor, or his giant reputation…”), and YES.

    This is going on now all over the place–trashing the work because the worker is a creep. There’s the art and there’s the artist–the page and the writer–the film and the director. When I was a kid I thought Thurber must be the most wonderful guy. Turns out that by most accounts he was not, and that was a fine lesson for me. His stuff was still funny, his style still instructive. Mencken was an antisemite, not to mention Eliot, Hemingway, Fitzgerald; Picasso ate his wives; Shakespeare was a notorious grabass. Not. But if we found out he was, would we burn the plays? Drives me nuts.

    (Fortunately for this argument Hitler was a crap painter.)

    For some reason, thinking about Brando brings up The Score, which I saw only once, but I remember taking great pleasure in watching him. I’ll have to see it again!

    • sheila says:

      // But if we found out he was, would we burn the plays? Drives me nuts. //

      You and me both.

      It’s rampant in film criticism right now. I stay out of it. I completely disagree with all of this “he’s a bad person, therefore the art must be bad and I won’t see it on principle”. Talk about a slippery slope. As you say, art history is filled with assholes. At the end of the day, though, what matters to me is the art.

      I don’t know if I’ve even seen The Score – I’ll have to track it down.

  13. Sheila Welch says:

    Thanks Sheila – for all the reasons everyone said and for your love. Wonderful read.

  14. Mike Molloy says:

    Quick check of a couple online booksellers suggests that Truckline Cafe is lost? Is that right, you can’t get a copy of it? That seems like a shame. Also surprising, a mid 20th Century play by a prominent writer like Maxwell Anderson. Any story to about how it went missing, or just one of those things, happens more than you’d think?

    (Like, I know how much lossage there has been of movies, and I don’t mean to minimize it, but film degrades easily and those early nitrate films combusted. Preserving paper seems not so hard.)

    I felt obliged to read through the whole thread to see whether you or anyone addressed it, which prompts a few more comments, your pardon for the length.

    Chris from May 22 2013 spoke for me with his comments about the difficulty of appreciating acting done in a language you’re not familiar with. I like your technique of re-watching a foreign-language film with the subtitles off, I’m going to try to find the time to try that.

    I also want to second Laura (April 18, 2013), so grateful for all your insightful posts. For me, most especially the “actor analyzes acting” posts, which are a gold mine. (And what a contrast to some of the drive-by comments people occasionally leave! You deleted a couple on a different post recently, that I happened to see before you nuked them, and I just can’t see what moves someone to take the effort to make a comment with no content other than a nasty “didn’t like”. Jeez, man, go look at photos of foxes or cats on Bluesky or something.)

    fiddlin bill, aug 11 2013: ‘I think Missouri Breaks resonated with me this time around because times are so hard, and I hear people all the time talking about shooting thieves, and complaining about how the police and courts don’t “do anything.” We’re possibly not far from a world where “regulators” like Clayton actually roam the back country’

    Maybe I’m overdramatizing here, but this feels prophetic. Kyle Rittenhouse in particular. So annoying that I’m carrying that, ah, unadmirable young man’s name around in my head. Anyway Fiddlin Bill called it.

    Yourself, April 3 2016, “can’t remember where I read it … I think it was in the Capote profile of him – I’d have to check – but Brando said once that the only actor he was afraid of was Anna Magnani”.

    Yes, that is from the Capote profile, I only know b/c I read it when you posted it (probly this very post, some years earlier). Now there’s a pair I’d love to have seen, Brando & Magnani.

    Yourself again, same date later comment, Brando visits the injured & recuperating Clift to tough-love him into getting it together & get back to acting: ‘Clift said that Marlon launched right into a lecture, basically slapping Clift around, telling him to get over himself, stop feeling sorry for himself, and get back to work’.

    Remarkable how much this sounds like Brando’s Don Corleone giving the same kind of pep-talk/boot-in-ass to Johnny Fontaine in the Godfather. (Happened to watch the scene last night, as it’s on Apple TV this month.)

    Also, what a beautiful gesture from Brando, and a response to match it from Clift.

    Alright, this has been a long comment, testing the limits of good guest etiquette, so I’ll wrap it up with a Franz Liebkind quote, in reply to Jincy Willett, April 3 2019 (lotta April 3s), who says: ‘Fortunately for this argument Hitler was a crap painter.’

    No that’s Churchill. Liebkind: ’Churchill, with his cigars. With his brandy. And his rotten painting, rotten! Hitler, there was a painter. He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon! Two coats!’

    • sheila says:

      Great stuff, Mike!! Thank you!

      // You deleted a couple on a different post recently, that I happened to see before you nuked them, //

      Oh my God, you saw those? lol I normally keep negative comments, I don’t care – people can feel about whatever subject the way they want to feel – but this person used a phony email made up of insulting language – clearly a “message” for me and their TONE was just so combative and gross. Like, chill out. It’s a piece about Ann Dvorak. Calm down. lol

    • sheila says:

      That’s a good question about the Truckline script. The only thing I can think of is the play was a flop, it ran something like 10 performances – nobody knew it would be historic at the time. Brando was an unknown. so maybe there was no impetus to publish and/or re-publish it. I’ve done a cursory Google search – and am coming up with nothing. The NYPL has a digital collection of images from the play (and all New York plays – an invaluable resource) so we can at least see what Brando looked like in it.

      Brando and Magnani did work together! and brilliantly! in Sidney Lumet’s The Fugitive Kind – which I’ve written about because there is a very strong Elvis connection to Fugitive Kind – it’s deep cut Elvis trivia – which Baz Luhrmann obviously knew since he incorporated it into the Elvis movie. Only a true Elvis nerd – and someone familiar with the scripts Fugitive Kind/Orpheus Descending/Battle of Angels (the many titles of Tennessee Williams’ script) – would have clocked it. (I have a piece on this whole thing coming out next month!) So yes, you can see the electric pairing in Fugitive Kind – and it’s just as good as you would imagine. She’s as spontaneous as he is. It’s incredible to watch him be challenged. someone as gifted as Brando needed to be challenged. He got bored so easily. It’s thrilling!

      • Mike Molloy says:

        I actually have seen Fugitive Kind, I meant what a thing it would have been to see Magnani & Brando on stage!

        Thing is, I kind of bounced off Fugitive Kind. (Sort of hate to admit this, on your blog of all places.) I don’t remember any specific thing that I didn’t like, it just left me cold.

        I really should watch it again next time it comes around on TCM, it does sometimes happen that a switch flips the second time I watch something. Maybe read the play before watching.

        And thanks for commenting on the Truckline thing, your guess about it getting lost b/c it wasn’t a hit makes sense. I’ve been on a bit of a play-reading kick lately, so that would have fit in, if it were out there.

    • sheila says:

      Eddie Izzard’s imitation of Hitler: (pretending to paint, frustrated): “I can’t get the trees right I MUST KILL EVERYONE IN THE WORLD.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.