Goodbye Godfather

Marlon Brando
[Pic : Time]

Very coincidental that there are two goodbye blog notes this week. This one is very close to film lovers.

Morgan Freeman still remains my favorite Hollywood actor. But Brando is also one in my small list of personal favorites. I haven’t got a chance to see all those 50’s movies, which they say, is Brando’s best. I understood that he is a great guy when our own acting university, Sivaji Ganesan called Marlon Brando as an actor’s actor. That’s all I needed to get an opinion on Brando. With that same opinion in me I watched Godfather and that opinion became more and never less. Having enjoyed his acting, which I hate to call as method acting and restrict it to that school of acting. We have/had parallels of Marlon Brando in India too. Still he has inspired our Indian actors with his unparalleled performances in The Godfather trilogy.

If you were to ask Tamils who were teenagers during 80’s about their most favorite film, they would have uniformly replied Mouna Ragam. If you ask the same to the 70’s teenagers all over the world who knew Hollywood, The Godfather would eventually be their reply. My Brando favorite till day is his flamboyant performance in The Last Tango in Paris. This movie could be overlooked as a yet-another French erotica, if you watch it for the first time. But there is more to that. As I watched a couple of times more, I saw that clandestine and the versatile genius in Brando. This was exactly when the Brando bug bit me.

The closest that I have come to Brando is that I had been to the village in Illinois called Libertyville, where he grew up. Libertyville is en-route to Wisconsin. It is a small village/town, which is very English-like, and a scenic place. People there still mention and are proud to have the greatest actor of time, grow up there.

So even as the actor’s actor is dead, we hope, that his performances would continue to inspire the millions of actors who are still about to be born. Goodbye Godfather.

Update 5th July, 2004 :
I am the son of BrandoKamalhassan

In Brando’s films, he dared take up subjects which very few actors have done. He was a role model not only for American actors but international actors too. Read more here.

5 responses to “Goodbye Godfather”

  1. karthikvp Avatar

    Morgan Freeman while having a highly sonorous voice still lacks a depth in the role he etches. He is a good narrator more than an actor.

    This aside, Marlon Brando is what you call a ‘method’ actor. Apparently he used to drive his fellow actors and directors crazy by his constant insistence on having retake after retakes. No wonder he was in oblivion until Copplola rescued him with his Godfather role. A worthy successor of Brando might be Dustin Hoffman who is very methodical in his preparation for his characters; thought I personally prefer the spontaneity of a Shivaji or Gene Hackman.


  2. Nilu Avatar

    Last Tango was defly one of his better performances – but it was so unlike him in the fact that it was part autoboiograhical.

    My fav is his cameo in Apocalypse Now, and A Streetcar Named Desire. Stanley Kowalski still is etched into my memory…


  3. aNTi Avatar

    Godfather… that rasping voice.. haunted me for quite sometime.

    btw.. On a slightly related note, a note that signifies all thats wrong with Indian cinema, one person who commented on tha artice on Brando’s death on Rediff says “Big deal!As if he is versatil lik SRK.” It is sad that SRK is even mentioned in the same breath as Brando. That stutter was cute in Bazzigar, but i started hating it after the next movie. Now it seems stupid!


  4. Ashok R Avatar
    Ashok R

    I watched Brando for the first time in Godfather when I was in high school in Madras. Had no clue what he was talking. It was all – “aah uh huh uhh Sonny” and then bang baNG BANG! I remember seeing a very old Brando in “Island of Dr. Moreau” which ran for weeks in Sathyam-Santham.


  5. Anand C Avatar
    Anand C

    RIP, Don Corleone. By any standard one of my all time favourite trilogies. There’s a lot written about his dedication to getting into the don’s character – chewing mashed paper and all.


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