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Entries in Marlon Brando (19)

Monday
Jun062016

The Furniture: Decorating Madness in A Streetcar Named Desire

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber...

The 70th Tony Awards are in just a few days. I certainly can't be trusted with predictions, but I’ll make one guess. The award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play probably won’t be split three ways. That sort of near-impossible result has only occurred once, all the way back in 1948. The 2nd Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play was shared by Judith Anderson, Katharine Cornell, and Jessica Tandy. Tandy won for the original broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Of course, she didn’t get to be in the movie and so we will leave her behind. Elia Kazan’s film of Tennessee Williams’s masterpiece premiered less than two years after its Broadway run ended. Its success was that instant. It won four Oscars, though all but one was for acting. That fourth prize, of course, was for production design. [More...]

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Tuesday
Apr122016

Happy 100th: Why Doesn't Movita Have a Biopic? 

Today is the Centennial of the Mexican American actress Movita, who was born as Maria Luisa Castaneda but renamed Movita by MGM because the name sounded Polynesian to them. Well maybe it's her centennial. She claims the studio fudged with her age to make her older for legal reasons. She's surely best remembered today as "Tehani" one of two young island beauties (the other being "Maimiti" played by Mamo Clark) that got entangled in all that Mutinous Best Picture business on the Bounty back in 1935 (if you know what I mean).

Movita went on to international fame and married two famous masculine hunks, first the boxer Jack Doyle and then superstar Marlon Brando (quite atypically she was an "older woman" marrying a young superstar) so we're guessing she had a type...

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Friday
Nov272015

Amy, Marlon, Janis and Kurt's Documentaries Raise Ethical Questions

Glenn here. As the world of documentary filmmaking grows and grows, biography docs are among the most popular and easiest to sell. This pre-sold name-brand familiarity makes them more desirable to financiers, producers, directors, distributors, exhibitors, festivals, and ultimately audiences. It’s hardly surprising that of the Academy’s 124-strong long-list (to be narrowed to 15 any day now) at least 20 cover the life of a famous person in the public eye. And if you want to stretch the parameters to include institutions such as National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, Tower Records, The Black Panthers, The Bolshoi Theatre etc, the number balloons. They are also among the highest profile submissions, too, with names like Nina Simone, Evel Kenievel and Chris Farley simply standing out more than geo-politics, homophobia in the Middle East, or Cambodian rock and roll.

This sub-category of documentary were once considered more frivolous and less serious, but have recently begun to win Oscar attention with titles such as Exit through the Gift Shop, Man on Wire, and even Wim Wenders’ Pina and Salt of the Earth. As a result, ethical questions about this kind of documentary filmmaking are rising up. I know it doesn't sound sexy, but bear with me for Amy Winehouse, Marlon Brando, and other luminaries after the jump....

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Monday
Aug312015

Pt 2 Smackdown Xtra: On the Waterfront with a Broken Lance

Nathaniel (your host), BrianMarkAnne MarieManuel and Todd VanDerWerff continue their Smackdown conversation. Here's part two of our 80 minute conversation

THE SMACKDOWN IF YOU MISSED IT
Pt 1 PODCAST - The High & Mighty & Executive Suite

Pt 2 (40 minutes)
00:01 Recap of Part 1 and we continue our On the Waterfront conversation seguewaying to the movie's rawness and experimentation, Elia Kazan personal voice, the influence of New York theater, and the slow death of the studio system
10:00 Broken Lance, Latino actors in Hollywood, Social Message Movies, and a shout out to Natalie Wood (?)
27:30 Thelma Ritter and other Supporting Actresses of 1954
35:45 Sign Off and Thank Yous. Last words from Eva Marie Saint and Marlon Brando 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes Continue the conversation in the comments.

SUGGESTED READING: We reference two books in this conversation: Mark Harris's instant classic Pictures at a Revolution (which you've probably already read) and a brand new one: Brian Herrera's Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance. Pick those up. 

1954 Pt 2: On the Broken Lanced Waterfront

Monday
Aug312015

Pt 1 Smackdown Xtra: High & Mighty Executive Suite

Nathaniel (your host) welcomes Brian Herrera (aka Stinky Lulu), Mark Harris (Grantland and EW) Anne Marie Kelly (The Film Experience), Manuel Muñoz (award winning writer) and Todd VanDerWerff (Vox) to the podcast for a Smackdown conversation. To flesh out our thoughts on the 1954 Oscar Battle (we trust you've read it now?) and expand the topic to include the four films themselves, and where Hollywood's head was, here is our 80 minute conversation in two parts.

Pt 1 (40 minutes)
00:01 The High and the Mighty and the birth of both DeGlam and the Disaster Epics. With shout outs to The Love Boat (?), Airplane, and Grand Hotel
21:45 Executive Suite, experimental filmmaking, and trusting the patriarchy.
36:40 Marlon Brando and New Acting Styles. Post World War II / Pre Something Else.

PART 2 WHEN YOU'RE READY

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes Continue the conversation in the comments. For fun I thought I'd include this video of Nina Foch (An American in Paris), our Smackdown runner up, discussing her Oscar nominated role in Executive Suite. The pencil necklace was her idea! Thank you to reader David Q. for pointing it out to Nick who sent it along to me.


 

Pt 1 Smackdown: The High and The Mighty

Friday
Apr242015

"Listen to Me Marlon"

The Hot Docs 2015 Film Festival started in Toronto yesterday. Our Canadian correspondent Amir is on hand to cover the proceedings.

The best film of last year’s Hot Docs festival was Robert Greene’s Actress, a rich and moving film about the life of The Wire’s Brandy Burre. It went on to become one of the most praised films of the year; and it’s easy to imagine the same level of acclaim for this year’s buzziest title at the festival, the similarly actor- centric Listen to Me Marlon. As the title suggests, British director Stevan Riley’s film is about Marlon Brando, and it defies any expectation one might have going into a documentary about a deceased actor.

That this film has been made is something of a miracle to begin with. Brando apparently recorded more than 200 hours of audiotapes about himself, of which none has been available to the public heretofore. Riley has been granted access to these by Brando’s estate and has assembled and edited them for the voice-over narration of his film. There is no new footage and no interviews shot for this film, only archival material from Brando’s performances, his television interviews and some behind the scenes footage and rare videos of his personal life. The result, a raw and immensely personal look at the actor’s life, is absolutely mesmerizing...

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Sunday
Jun292014

Our Link Summer

Must Reads
The Atlantic 'How Brando Broke the Movies' -excellent piece from Tom Shone on perceptions of movie stardom, acting and chameleon tricks
L'etoile on summer's anniversary nostalgia and childhood idles
Pajiba shares fun excerpts from Neil Patrick Harris' upcoming autobiography. Sounds like a must-read. The Scott Caan story is delicious 

More Links & News
The Guardian "The Glorious Folly of Dance on Film" Singin' in the Rain, Pina and more
The Dissolve Bond 24 gets a rewrite. But why? Daniel Craig returns of course with Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris in tow
Geeks Out Boo. Disney is taking pains to make sure we know that 'Wandering Oaken' from Frozen (the guy with the store and sauna) isn't gay like the internet said
Kenneth in the (212) Shia Labeuf and the Jordan Almond defense
Towleroad Gay Iconography: Bette Midler
Vérité recommends Rob the Mob (2014) with Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda. This is one of those rare 'under the radar' recommendations that actually is. I hadn't been aware of this Bonnie & Clyde like tale but I'm up for more Arianda for sure.

Off Cinema
Salon has a list of the 19 greatests 'double entendre' songs from "Brand New Key" to "Milkshake" and so on. I object to the exclusion of Cyndi Lauper's "She-Bop"
Gizmodo how long until we get this weird 'Smart Morphable Surface' technology in sci-fi movie designs? 

Oscar Notes / Production Design
In case you missed it as the weekend began, AMPAS made some minor adjustments to the rules (as they are prone to do) which In Contention analyzes. Mostly it's technicalities like how nominations are credited for Song & Best Picture but the super interesting one is that movies nominated for Production Design which feature heavily digital environments will now have an added nominee, the digital designer. I personally suspected /was hoping that the change which was bound to happen would be closer to the Black and White vs. Color designations that Oscar went through from the mid30s through the mid60s in cinematography and I was hoping it would happen in both cinematography and production design since visual fx achievements keep winning in one or both of those categories (think Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Gravity, Hugo, etcetera). But I guess that was wishful thinking.