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Marlon Brando and THE WILD ONE


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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 Shawn C

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Posted July 16 2003 - 09:26 AM

..or...what's the big deal about "The Wild One"

I watched "The Wild One" a couple of days ago on TCM and I can't get what the big deal is all about? This is Marlon Brando's finest acting appearance?

He looked positively bored through the entire movie. There was hardly any emotion or charisma. They just put him in a leather outfit, stuck him on a motorcycle and gave him a few lines to read......

Also, when he was running away from the local townsfolk, he totally ran like a girl.

#2 of 19 Bob Banka

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Posted July 16 2003 - 10:00 AM

Shawn,

What else have you seen Brando in? Just curious...

There's no question that Brando underplayed the character here, but that was, I believe, the point. He was not giving a more typical frothing-at-the-mouth, easy to hate biker youth turn. Instead, his character is more introverted, and less of a thug. He's more the thinker than viewers at the time were used to seeing from a younger character (...he was playing a youngster, though he wasn't himself a teen anymore). Even in THE WILD ONE, Brando was already trying to do much more with his body language, use of voice, and facial expressions than viewers were used to seeng up on the screen. He was doing less yelling, screaming, and waving about than many other actors of the day - except during brief moments where the brevity, but intensity, only added to the tension and/or excitement of the moment.

As for Brando's "running like a girl" If Brando runs like a girl (...whatever that means?), his character will run like a girl, I suppose. The question is - does it take away from the believability of the performance - for you, that is. I don't really see what you're talking about here. Perhaps you're just joking?

BB

#3 of 19 Michael Reuben

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Posted July 16 2003 - 10:05 AM

Quote:
This is Marlon Brando's finest acting appearance?

I don't think anyone would claim that. It's a movie that hasn't aged well.

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#4 of 19 John Watson

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Posted July 16 2003 - 11:27 AM

Funny, but I've heard John Wayne's walk described as weird too.

BTW, is this the movie where someone asks Brando - What are you rebelling against?, and he answers - What ya got?

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#5 of 19 Kirk Tsai

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Posted July 16 2003 - 12:42 PM

Yeah, this is the one, John

Speaking of which, it seems to me that the line John brought up is why film is still cited by some critics (especially Richard Schickel). Brando in this movie is the first rebel without a cause. And that is only part of the story, they are rebels because they are essentially lost. Isn't this also the first biker film?

I do agree with Michael though, the film doesn't look that fresh today. But it's probably because the rebel image has been duplicated so many times by now, and that a lot of films Stanley Kramer directed/produced seem too heavy handed in its moralizing, despite well intentions.

#6 of 19 Holadem

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Posted July 16 2003 - 01:04 PM

Steven Seagal. Now that's someone who runs (and sounds) like a gal.

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#7 of 19 Shawn C

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Posted July 16 2003 - 01:17 PM

Sorry, I was trying to be somewhat funny with my "runs like a girl" line. It's still the truth, though....


I just couldn't understand how people could say that it was a great "performance" by Brando. To me, it's more like a "non-performance".

#8 of 19 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 16 2003 - 08:31 PM

I just couldn't understand how people could say that it was a great "performance" by Brando. To me, it's more like a "non-performance".

Everybody is welcome to their opinion and who are we to try to change your mind on that opinion?





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#9 of 19 Anthony Neilson

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Posted July 17 2003 - 12:26 AM

I agree with Michael and raise it - it's a film that's aged terribly !
But therein lies the point, both in the film and the acting. You have to see them in historical context. THE WILD ONE (I believe) was considered pretty radical at the time. So was Elvis Presley. It may seem ludicrous now, but these moments were staging points in the continuing story of the liberalisation of the arts, for better or for worse.
The fact that you say Brando's performance is a non-performance is exactly right. Brando and Dean heralded a major sea change in the realism of acting in movies overall.
It doesn't seem much now but it was revolutionary at the time and their influence has been immense.
Brando's greatest performances, imo, are in ON THE WATERFRONT, THE GODFATHER and LAST TANGO IN PARIS. That he's a good actor should be obvious to everyone ; good actors know he's a great one.
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#10 of 19 Doug_H

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Posted July 17 2003 - 12:50 AM

Quote:
Funny, but I've heard John Wayne's walk described as weird too.

I had the pleasure of meeting John Wayne when I was a youngster. My father is a pilot and flew John into town for the big Cody Wyoming 4th of July parade. There is a reason he walks funny. He had the smallest feet I have ever seen on a man. He was a big man but had little tiny feet. I can't remember what size boot he wore but in his movies they would put him in big boots stuffed with paper so he looked normal.
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#11 of 19 John Watson

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Posted July 17 2003 - 01:49 AM

Doug, that's a fascinating piece of trivia, my wife is a big fan of The Duke, and I think it was she who drew my attention to it.

Regarding dated movies, I've only seen Wild One once or twice times, but Rebel Without a Cause a fair number of times. And when I started a DVD library a few years ago, RWAC was not on my list of desired films, because I found the acting and characters not convincing.

As for limited ‘acting', a few days ago I was reading something about Connery in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, only raising an eyebrow and speaking gruffly, which made me think about Brando in Apocalypse Now.

And Jonathan Livingstone Seagal, he flies like a bird.

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#12 of 19 Michael Reuben

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Posted July 17 2003 - 02:11 AM

The ability to do less is often the hallmark of a great film actor. Anthony Hopkins has said that some of the best advice he ever got was from Katherine Hepburn on the set of The Lion in Winter: "Don't act. Just say the lines." Hopkins hasn't always followed that advice, but if you look at some of his best performances (Silence of the Lambs, Remains of the Day), you can see its impact.

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#13 of 19 Jeff Gatie

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Posted July 17 2003 - 02:30 AM

Quote:
This is Marlon Brando's finest acting appearance?

No, it's one of his first, but I've never heard it said it was one of his finest. It was better than most actors at the time, for the above stated (or understated, heh, heh) reasons.

Brando's best - On the Waterfront. It's one of the greatest movies ever made and he is absolutely, irrefutably brilliant in it. Anyone can make a case for "The Wild One" being a poor acting job. I disagree, but the case can be made. No one can make the case for Brando's protrayal of Terry Malloy being anything but brilliant.

#14 of 19 Julian Reville

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Posted July 17 2003 - 06:31 AM

Quote:
He had the smallest feet I have ever seen on a man. He was a big man but had little tiny feet. I can't remember what size boot he wore but in his movies they would put him in big boots stuffed with paper so he looked normal.


Damn, I guess they really CAN do magic in the movies. At 38:22 in the DVD of They Were Expendable the Duke's bare feet are clearly visible, and they look proportional to me.

#15 of 19 John Watson

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Posted July 18 2003 - 02:33 AM

On a lighter note, on what makes a good actor, I was just reading a chestnut : "The secret of acting" said George Burns "is sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

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#16 of 19 Eric Peterson

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Posted July 18 2003 - 04:19 AM

This is Marlon Brando's finest acting appearance?


I don't ever remember anyone saying that.
  • The Godfather
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • On The Waterfront
I've never heard the Wild One mixed into these conversations.

#17 of 19 MichaelW

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Posted July 18 2003 - 04:38 AM

Small feet...

WAIT! STOP! WHOA! I'm talking about the Duke! Sorry. Posted Image
I didn't do anything. I'm a nice man, I mind my own business. So you tell me that's that before I beat the hell from you. I have so much strength in me, you have no idea. I have a love in my life, it makes me stronger than anything you can imagine. I'd say that's that, matress man!

#18 of 19 Agee Bassett

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Posted July 18 2003 - 12:28 PM

Quote:
Brando's greatest performances, imo, are in ON THE WATERFRONT, THE GODFATHER and LAST TANGO IN PARIS. That he's a good actor should be obvious to everyone


Nah, too easy. :wink:

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#19 of 19 Anthony Neilson

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Posted July 18 2003 - 11:26 PM

Agee - what's that supposed to mean ?
I've been going to bed early . . .


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