ISSUE DATE: Oct. 11, 1954
ALSO APPEARED: Jan. 22, 1973
One day when he was 17, Marlon Brando took a bottle of hair tonic to school. When nobody was looking, he dribbled a thin stream of the stuff down a corridor, into an empty study room, and up the front wall. On the wall he scrawled, with the almost invisible liquid, a shocking word. Next period, when the room was full, he set a match to the hair tonic. Blue flame whooshed through the room, and the handwriting on the wall that day was nothing short of illuminating.
A little more than a decade later, Bad Boy Brando, still something of a showoff, has pulled the trick again. But this time his wall is a hundred thousand movie screens, his performance is distinctly more artistic, and his audience is the popeyed world. Six pictures in four years—The Men, A Streetcar Named Desire, Viva Zapata!, Julius Caesar, The Wild One, On the Waterfront—have branded the Brando name and face blue-hot on the public mind.
In a business where money talks, Brando is now being hailed as “a real drag-‘em-in big-tenner like nobody since Clark Gable.” And his pictures have won loud, critical huzzahs as well as some stentorian box-office grosses. Last week Brando completed a seventh, Désirée, a film version of Annemarie Selinko’s 1953 bestselling novel, in which he plays Napoleon. Twentieth Century-Fox boldly predicts that it may take in up to $10 million. “Two more like Brando,” said one producer, “and television can crawl back in the tube.”
Read the full story here
Next Humphrey Bogart