movie film review | chris tookey
harsh reviews
An A to Z of the World's Deadliest Movie Reviews From Affleck
to Zeta Jones
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Marlon Brando
I have eyes like those of a dead pig.
Actor, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Everything that kept the Broadway Streetcar from spinning off into ridiculous melodrama - everything thoughtful, muted, three-dimensional - has been raped, along with poor Blanche Dubois, in the Hollywood version. Brando, having fallen hard for the critics' idea that Stanley is simply animal and slob, now screams and postures and sweeps plates off the table with an ape-like emphasis that unfortunately becomes predictable.
(Manny Farber, Nation)
Actor, Desiree (1954)
A serious retrogression and the most shaming performance of my life.
(Marlon Brando)
For an actor whose last film, On the Waterfront, dragged him into the short list of near-great cinema actors, the ludicrous uncertainty with which Brando fumbles his way all around the character of Napoleon is almost tragic.
(Sunday Express)
It must be said that he is seldom more than Marlon Brando in a Napoleon suit.
(Saturday Review)
He [Brando] gets my unhesitating vote for the worst performance of 1955.
(Daily Sketch)
Actor, The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956)
Beneath a dark stain, bad eye makeup and a wig of shiny black hair, you see Mr Brando enjoying a romp in his own little show.
(Bosley Crowther, New York Times)
Made up to look like a relative of Dr Fu Manchu, and babbling pidgin English at a great rate, he never succeeds in hiding the fact that he's really an All-American boy.
(John McCarten, New Yorker)
Ah-So! Honorable Marlon Brando-san in role of wily Oriental? Not possible, you say? Ah, but the ways of the mysterious East are inscrutable as are the decisions of the casting director in this film. Brando applies his intense method-acting approach to his role as Sakini, an Okinawan operator who figures prominently in the lives of several GIs; and comes up with a characterization that suggests a cross between Charlie Chan and Don Vito Corleone. He uses the same breathy mumbling he later made famous in The Godfather, but enriches it with what might pass for a sixth-grader's idea of an all-purpose Oriental accent. To register enthusiasm for his “colorfill” part Brando bobs habitually up and down like a comedic jack- in-the-box and succeeds in stealing virtually every scene in which he appears with his high-camp portrayal.
(Harry & Michael Medved, The Golden Turkey Awards)
Actor, Sayonara (1957)
[Brando] plays corn pone with West Point trimmings, and his speech has slumped to the point of pure novocaine. Also the weight he has put on gives him an occasional disconcerting resemblance to Alfred Hitchcock.
(Robert Hatch, Nation)
Brando, the only actor who might have reached towards the truth and argument evaded by Joshua Logan's turgid direction, is not at his best. He has moments of quiet, angry power and of gentle charm; but occasionally his diction becomes unintelligible, his effects precious; and though his restless, calculating hands are unquestionably expressive, it is often uncertain just what they are expressing.
(Monthly Film Bulletin)
Actor/ Director, One-Eyed Jacks (1961)
Someone gave Marlon Brando enough rope and he hanged himself. I have seen a lot of extravagant praise - or at least a batch of exhilarated excerpts - for One-Eyed Jacks, but it is really patronizing Mr Brando to pretend that he is a good director. The film runs (down-hill) for more than two hours; it is lushly beautiful and mushily sentimental, implausible and inconsequential.
(Robert Hatch, Nation)
For far too much of the time, Mr Brando is merely sombre under his sombrero.
(Alan Dent, Sunday Telegraph)
Not only childish and neurotic, but also the lowest point in an acting career which has been steadily more disappointing. One-Eyed Jacks is such an egregiously self-indulgent film.
(Dwight Macdonald, Esquire)
In a well-intentioned programme note, Brando describes it as a "frontal attack on the temple of clichés". The sad thing about it, on the contrary, is that it buttresses almost every reactionary cliché about the Actors' Studio method that has ever been uttered.
(Penelope Gilliatt, Observer)
I don't mind that when Brando talks, I can still only understand half of what he is saying. As an actor, he can mumble. As a director, he definitely cannot. One-Eyed Jacks is, at times, one long mumble-jumble.
(Leonard Mosley, Daily Express)
Actor, The Chase (1966)
Brando, who gave up acting shortly after On the Waterfront, is now simply a balding, middle-aged, pot-bellied man driven to undisciplined excesses that are clearly inexcusable on the screen. In one scene, he becomes so enraptured in a love affair with his own thumb that he actually appears to forget his own lines. The embarrassment on his face when he is forced to say Miss Hellman's lines is understandable, but most of the time he sounds like he has a mouth full of wet toilet paper.
(Rex Reed)
Actor, Last Tango in Paris (1972)
A performance that would be an affront from anyone else is considered “princely” coming from Brando. He gives us a star turn in French and English, an anthology of all his best parts or, rather, highlights from them.
(John Simon, New Leader)
Actor, The Godfather (1972)
The acting is predominantly good, with the exception of the highly touted and critically acclaimed performance of Marlon Brando in the title part. Brando has a weak, gray voice, a poor ear for accents, and an unrivaled capacity for hamming things up by sheer underacting - in particular by uncoscionably drawn-out pauses.
(John Simon, National Review)
Most of the time he sounds like he has a mouth full of wet toilet paper.
(Rex Reed)
They have put pudding in Brando's cheeks and dirtied his teeth, he speaks hoarsely and moves stiffly, and these combined mechanics are hailed as great acting.
(Stanley Kauffmann, New Republic)
The Godfather, Part II (1974)
What makes Part II slightly more attractive than Part I is, first of all, the absence of Marlon Brando. For Brando gave an unpardonably cheap performance (though perhaps no worse than the rest of his depressing latter-day work), the kind that consists entirely of some phony accent, a fixedly vacant stare, and eternities of portentous pauses.
(John Simon, National Review)
Actor, The Missouri Breaks (1976)
Utterly lamentable, too, is Brando's performance, even more slatternly and self-indulgent than his bloated physique. Starting with a correspondence-school brogue and bits of mannerism left over from his garish performance in The Nightcomers, he adds to them an effeteness and smarminess... He comes across as a mixture of Steiger doing Hennessy and Tallulah Bankhead doing Tallulah.
(John Simon, National Review)
Marlon Brando at 52 has the sloppy belly of a 62 year-old, the white hair of a 72 year-old, and the total lack of discipline of a precocious 12 year-old. His acting is full of fussy, pointless business. It's pure corn.
If Brando hates acting, why doesn't he quit?
(Stanley Kauffmann, New Republic)
Actor, Apocalypse Now (1979)
Brando has become an obscene, secular Buddha with shaven head and ballooning midriff, whose voice emerges like the squeal of a mouse from a ridiculous mountain.
(John Simon, National Review)
Actor, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992)
As Torquemada, the inquisitor, Brando sulks about the set looking moody and delivering his lines with the absolute minimum of energy necessary to be audible to the camera. He's phoned in roles before, but this was the first time I wanted to hang up.
(Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
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