June 30, 2005

"#Through the nose, #High voice, #Nose broken early in youth to account for difficulty."

Brando's notes on the "Godfather" script -- along with other personal effects up for auction -- pictured here.

And here's "the only item relating to his film career that he displayed in his Mulholland Drive home." (Some nudity.)

Here's his typed letter to Marilyn Monroe advising her to experience her depression as an opportunity for personal growth:
Be glad for it and don't be afraid of being afraid. It can only help. Relax and enjoy it.

Maybe if she'd just eaten a lot more ice cream. Marilyn and Brando were very similar at that time. Highly sexualized movie icons running into mental problems. What if Marilyn had just put on weight, like Marlon, and lived a long time? Picture incredibly obese, old Marilyn, turned into a figure of fun over the years. Kind of sweet!

REVISED UPDATE: Links are good now!

26 comments:

Ron said...

This is a few years old, but I always liked it:

"In 1960 who did you want to look like? Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor. In 2000 who don't you want to look like? Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor."

Ann Althouse said...

Maybe there's something about a great actor's personality -- passion, oral fixation, self-indulgence -- that makes them wonderful when they're young but leads them to get unusually fat as they age. Leave them alone. They've performed their services for us. Let them eat ice cream. Brando would sit down to a whole gallon. I wish Marilyn had done that.

amy said...

Ann, I think you're right about eating ice cream and getting old. I would have loved to have seen Marilyn grow old with wrinkles and cellulite with the rest of us.

dax said...

Brando was an icon.
It was painful but not surprising, to see the course his career took at the end.
Like Ali should have quit after the Frazier/Manila fight, Brando should have quit after The Godfather.
My $.02 worth

Pastor_Jeff said...

Ann, dax,

Interesting comments. It pains me to see older actors and actresses trying to keep the illusion of youth. I remember when Robert Redford used to talk about never wanting plastic surgery. I thought he looked better with all the natural wrinkles. Now he looks scary.

Is it harder for public figures to let themselves age gracefully, or is it just that their struggles are carried out in public? Has anyone watched "Fat Actress"?

Oscar Madison said...

Nice post!

I love the insight into method acting. The "broken nose" is backstory that has nothing to do with the plot of the movie other than Brando's own creation of the character.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Anne -

I wonder if Marilyn's depression was really similar to Brando's 'mental problems'.

Marilyn was always fighting for a few shreds of self-worth. She seems to have been chronically unable to feel any kind of good. She could not enjoy herself AT ALL.

Seems to me Brando suffered from grandiosity, megalomania, which sort of logically expressed itself by 'eating the world'. He suffered because he could not enjoy himself ENOUGH.

2 more cents for the pile....

Ron said...

Ann: I agree with you to the extent that such figures remove themselves from the bloodsport that is Hollywood. I think Marilyn would have done this; but Brando did not, getting ridiculous fees based on being 'Marlon Brando', when that guy who coulda been a contender was long, long dead and buried.

That Brando, I feel, is still fair game for our dirision, because he was still trying to play the game.

But other stars? Who've more or less left the biz? (occasional guest spots aside) We should tip our hat to them and say thanks for the fun!
Have some ice cream!

amy said...

I met Robert Redford a few short years ago and I was stunned by his wrinkles and leathery skin. However, he hasn't had them "fixed" and I applaud his decision to go seemingly au naturel. I only wish he'd stop smoking!

Dirty Harry said...

Brando's the greatest actor ever and was worth every absurd amount of money paid. Stanley Kowalski, Terry Malloy, and Don Corleone were masterful characterizations and as different as they are brilliant. That's how good he was.

As for Monroe, she was a gifted comedienne. A few pounds and one can see her as her era's Marie Dressler -- the portly aged #1 box office star for three years in the thirties.

lindsey said...

It's already bad enough that so many people have convinced themselves that Marilyn Monroe was fat because she wasn't a modern toothpick, but to wish fatness upon her along with getting old, wrinkling and her career obviously vanishing is horrible. Fat men and fat women aren't treated the same. Fat women are treated much worse. A fat Marilyn would have been the target of a million and two jokes. To wish that along with life's inevitable slings and arrows on someone with so little sense of self-worth or self-respect is horrible. It's like deciding that crippled orphans are cuter than non-crippled orphans.

Ann Althouse said...

Lindsey: Surely, it's better to be fat than dead.

lindsey said...

True.

Meade said...

And better to be Rita Moreno than fat or dead.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Amy: So you're saying The Natural is going au naturel?

"Leathery" skin encompasses everything from kid gloves to saddle bags. I'm presuming he looks like a saddlebag with eyes?

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Umm, actually, Mr Redford has just had some plastic surgery recently....

http://cityrag.blogs.com/main/2005/week25/index.html#a0005290126

Ron said...

Aren't the current remarks about Liz Taylor similar to the stuff we would hear about Marilyn had she gotten old and fat? Perhaps since the ir peak days, we think more of Marilyn, but back in the '50's weren't they considered peers?

perhaps the level of fatness may be more strick for women, but boy, didn't Brando get a lot of abuse for his weight?

Ron said...

sigh...excuse the spelling of 'strict'

brain fart!

SteveR said...

Marilyn would have to do more than just "old and fat" to keep up with Liz although its seems like the potential was there.

Barry said...

Not to detract from the "fat" topic, but I think the item referred to here:

"And here's "the only item relating to his film career that he displayed in his Mulholland Drive home." (Some nudity.)" (which I hope you can see by clicking here)

is great! What a beautiful shot. I've never seen the movie, but if the art direction is like this, it must be a beautiful film. I can see why, just for it's aestetic value, Brando would have displayed it, though I'm sure there's personal subjective value attached as well.

Looking for a poster-sized print of it now, as well as a copy of the film to watch.

Ann Althouse said...

Barry: How did you get the URL?

Oscar: Marlon Brando himself broke his nose in real life and some people think this distinctive imperfection made him more fascinating than the pretty boy he'd have been otherwise.

Ann Althouse said...

Barry: Never mind. I figured it out, using your URL on the Moreno photo as a starting point.

Barry said...

"Barry: How did you get the URL?"

Right click on the image and, depending on the browser you're using, select "Open Image in New Window" or "Image Properties" or a similar option. You should be able to get the URL from the address bar or the properties window. Tell me what browser on what platform you're using, and I can be more specific.

They may have blocked right-clicks on some browsers, but it works for me on Mac OS X Safari.

/web geek

Ann Althouse said...

Barry: You use Safari and you "right click"? What is this "right click" business -- is that the single or the double click? I've never tuned into to the dark side.

What I did was use "view source" and found the jpg and used your URL, replacing part of it.

Barry said...

Heh. Sorry... I have a two-button mouse for my Mac... I know, I know.. blasphemy.

On your single button Mac, hold down control (ctrl) and click on the image. A menu should pop up. This is called a "control-click", and is usually inter-changeable with "right-click".

Or, just click and hold down the mouse button / trackpad button (or "click-hold", in Mac-speak). After a second, the menu should pop up with various selections based on the context of the situation.

/Mac geek

John said...

Did anyone else think his letter to Marilyn was a little tone-deaf? I know that Brando had his own--significant--problems with depression, but I can't see sending a letter to someone in a hospital, telling them it's time for personal growth! Maybe it was a Method thing.