Finally, a place to broadcast my Obsessions-of-the-Moment in current events, literature, film, science, and whatever else is preoccupying me. Here you will find The Pharos Book Club reading list and the screenings of The Egyptian Repertory Theater. Let's begin, shall we?
I have lately been mourning the passing of film legend Marlon Brando. For the inaugural screening of The Egyptian Repertory Theater, I hosted a double feature last week highlighting Brando's explosive early career: A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront. Brando reprised his role as Stanley Kowalski for film in Streetcar, a role he had played on stage for then stage-director Elia Kazan. His performance was electrifyingly naturalistic, making his co-stars—all receiving Academy Awards for their performances—appear jarringly wooden. Though he was nominated in 1952 for Best Actor in Streetcar, he lost to Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen. In fact, Marlon Brando was nominated in 1953 for Viva Zapata!, and again in 1954 for Julius Caesar (also appearing in The Wild One that year), before finally winning his fourth consecutive nomination in 1955 for On the Waterfront. Interestingly, both Streetcar and Waterfront were directed by Elia Kazan and co-starred Karl Malden. Brando turned in a compelling performance depicting Terry Malloy's journey to redemption. These early triumphs appeared to foretell many trips to the podium over his career.
I decided to skip screening films from Brando's muddled middle period, lamented by Pauline Kael in this article appearing in The Atlantic, March, 1966: "Marlon Brando: An American Hero." Instead we will next focus on Brando's renaissance with a screening of The Godfather. I could also have easily selected Last Tango in Paris from this period. Finally, we'll wrap-up the retrospective with a film of his late career, Don Juan de Marco, a dignified role for Brando, this being an unfortunate rarity in his final films.
I personally will view as many additional Brando films as my limited access will permit. I'll keep you posted.
I have also recently watched "New York: A Documentary Film", originally aired on PBS. you can find my review here at imdb.com.