“Listen to Me” (Amazon)

In the summer of 1953 my cousin Joan and I fell in love with Marlon Brando. We were too young to have seen “Streetcar Named Desire” and not interested enough to see “Julius Caesar”, but “The Wild One” was just perfect for our prepubescent fantasy life. What is it about sullen, near-monosyllabic, impossibly handsome guys on motorcycles that causes deep yearning and heart palpitations (the good kind, not the age-induced tachycardia episodes that some of us may currently suffer from occasionally)? I spent my meager allowance on Photoplay Magazine, hungry for stories about him. But disillusionment came : a “signed” photo I sent for wasn’t actually signed, but worse, he was was smiling, wearing a suit. He looked like someone’s father. Subsequently I endured several really boring Brando costume dramas where he wore very unsexy outfits. When I got old enough to appreciate great acting and great filmmaking, the nature of my “crush” changed. I continued to follow his career. Although there were some duds most of his films do not disappoint. He was a brilliant actor that raises the level of any film. His private life as we learn in “Listen to Me” a 2015 documentary, was odd and tragic. The film interweaves archival footage with previously unheard tapes made by Brando talking about his life. It’s quite fascinating and I highly recommend it. Maybe not as great as “The Wild One” but i “cudda been a contender” (I loved him in that one too).

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