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Is Marlon Brando one of the greatest actors to ever have taken the screen?

"A Street Car Named Desire", "Apocalypse Now" and "The Godfather" are some of Marlon Brando’s best known work, but why was he such a good actor? What turned him from Hollywood heart throb to Dr. Moreau?

  • I think the title question is mislead/should be rephrased. The actual description of the topic sounds fine, but "good acting" is very subjective. However an analysis of his career would be interesting – Darcy Griffin 5 years ago
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  • How do I edit the title? Marlon Brando: Was he one of the greatest actors, or a very good liar? I could have many different titles, this being my first topic I wasn't sure how to word it properly. – petergeoff21 5 years ago
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  • Title aside, a cool thing to do with would be to consider how his style would translate to modern film. Was he the perfect man for his era or could his performance transcend the stylistic ravages of time – Dominique Kollie 5 years ago
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  • Perceptions of Brando as "one of the greatest actors" were very much influenced by the historical and aesthetic contexts of his career. Streetcar became a smash hit on both stage and screen under the direction of Elia Kazan, who was one of the earliest American directors to adopt (and arguably master) the newly emerging style of Method Acting, as formulated by Lee Strasberg under the influence of the Stanislavsky System that had been taking Russian and European performance by storm since the founding of the Moscow Art Theatre in 1897. Prior to the advent of this hyper-Realist system, acting was either Classical (better suited for the high poeticism of Aeschylus, Shakespeare, and Goethe than for the stark literalism of Ibsen, Chekhov, and Tennessee Williams) or Melodramatic (which heightened emotions beyond anything even remotely believable). Coinciding with this Naturalist revamping of the theatre was the refinement of film technology and the art of cinema, which was capable of replicating the world with photographic precision in a way that theatre simply couldn't. This made it necessary for the acting style to mirror the reality of the mise-en-scene, making the Method the ideal choice for this new medium. Brando's arrival on the screen in 1951 blew spectators away, because never before had they seen an actor so candidly portray real human emotions in such a recognizably realistic fashion. – ProtoCanon 5 years ago
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  • I read this quote somewhere: "Brando was troubled, but James Dean was sick." I don't know what to say about Dean, but Brando's sickness - he once said if there were 100 people in a room and didn't like him, he'd want to escape - may have led to his success; I'm pretty sure it led to his famous refusal of an Oscar. This topic may be subjective, but that's not necessarily a flaw. – Tigey 5 years ago
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