Brando Speaks to You in “Listen to Me Marlon”
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Whether you admire the sexy and primal Marlon Brando of “A Streetcar Named Desire” or the bloated and powerful Brando in “The Godfather,” you’ll agree that he was one of America’s most
A little-known secret: In 2002 he hosted a ten-day acting class attended by some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. A scheme to raise money to pay for his Tahitian island, it was filmed but never released.
Turns out, Marlon Brando also taped a lot of his personal life -- “at home, in business meetings, during hypnosis, in therapy, and during press interviews.” These too were kept private.
A new documentary called “Listen to Me Marlon” has stitched together a number of these previously unreleased audiotapes, along with a potpourri of visual images, to provide a fly-on-the-wall insider look at the great actor. You can catch it at the Tropic Cinema.
More than a second-hand bio, this is Brando in Brando’s own words. Recorded over the course of his lifetime, you get Marlon’s personal insights about his films (he was ashamed of “The Countess From Hong Kong”), about his family (he regretted that he didn’t do more to save his troubled son who served 10 years for murdering his sister’s husband), about his relationships (17 children by 15 women).
Here there are no interviews, no talking heads -- just Brando’s voice talking to you (well, maybe at times to himself).
Documentarian Stevan Riley produced “Listen to Me Marlon” with the full cooperation of Brando’s Estate. Will you learn more about the world’s greatest Method actor? Yes. But you’ll still walk out of the theater shaking your head over the colossal burnout that bridged Stanley Kowalski and Don Vito Corleone.
Next, show us those videotapes from his ten-day acting workshop.