Marlon Brando - One of the greatest actors of the 20th century. But at the time . . .

Marlon Brando – About Acting And The Cult Of Personality – 1963 – Past Daily “Talking About . . .”

Marlon Brando – One of the greatest actors of the 20th century. But at the time . . .

Marlon Brando – in conversation with David Susskind – April 21, 1963 –

Considered the greatest actor of the 20th Century, Marlon Brando was probably its most complicated. During this interview with David Susskind, Marlon Brando discusses the craft of acting, the misinterpretations of Marlon Brand the actor and Marlon Brando the man. And most likely, when this interview was conducted, the world was still at odds over his latest film, Mutiny On The Bounty – a film which would have detrimental affects to his career; one which portrayed him as “difficult” to most studios and producers at the time. Now it was The Ugly American, which was released on the 3rd of April in 1963.

Around this time Marlon Brando began to view acting as a means to a financial end. Critics protested when he started accepting roles in films many perceived as being beneath his talent, or criticized him for failing to live up to the better roles. Previously only signing short-term deals with film studios, in 1961 Brando uncharacteristically signed a five-picture deal with Universal Studios that would haunt him for the rest of the decade. The Ugly American (1963) was the first of these films. Based on the 1958 novel of the same title that Pennebaker had optioned, the film, which featured Brando’s sister Jocelyn, was rated fairly positively but died at the box office. Brando was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance. All of Brando’s other Universal films during this period, including Bedtime Story (1964), The Appaloosa (1966), A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) and The Night of the Following Day (1969), were also critical and commercial flops. Countess in particular was a disappointment for Brando, who had looked forward to working with one of his heroes, director Charlie Chaplin. The experience turned out to be an unhappy one; Brando was horrified at Chaplin’s didactic style of direction and his authoritarian approach. Brando had also appeared in the spy thriller Morituri in 1965; that, too, failed to attract an audience.

So this interview with David Susskind captures the man and the artist at a specific point in his career, and listening to it some 60 years later, you realize how complex Marlon Brando was and that his career was far from over.

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