Using information gathered from seven years of research and hundreds of interviews, a respected biographer offers an insightful and revealing look at the troubled and fabled life of Marlon Brando, one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation.
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This biography, much discussed even before its publication, is as mammoth as Brando himself--and a compelling read. Most of the details supplied by Manso (Mailer: His Life and Times, 1985, etc.) regarding Brando's myriad peccadilloes, sexual and otherwise, are essential for a complete picture of an unusually complex and distasteful human being: self-absorbed, manipulative, a poor parent, and a user of women. (No doubt Brando will present a different picture in his autobiography, which Random House will publish this month; no advance galleys are available.) Born in 1924, Brando was the son of two ill-matched alcoholics. His mother, with whom he had an almost incestuously close relationship, was a free-thinking bohemian; his father was a pompous businessman with a penchant for shady dealing. Brando was a troubled and troublesome boy who was thrown out of several schools and never got a high school diploma (though he later became a voracious reader). When he moved to New York City to pursue the theater as a career, it was his close relationship with Stella Adler, who taught him acting, that grounded him. After receiving excellent notices in several smaller parts, his dazzling performance in A Streetcar Named Desire led him to Hollywood, where, as Manso observes, he established ``his indelible, transcendent image as a genius among actors.'' Manso is good at eliciting from Brando's colleagues a sense of his unusual working methods and startling flair for improvisation on camera. Regrettably, Brando's ambivalence about his work and his self-indulgence off camera resulted in a self-loathing that affected his acting. Until The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris, most people in the film industry were prepared to write him off as a spent bullet. Manso traces Brando's involvement in the American Indian Movement, his long-standing love affair with Tahiti, and the gruesome story of the shooting of his daughter's boyfriend by her half-brother Christian. To Manso's credit, the book is neither a hatchet job nor a bronzing. His biggest weakness is an inability to relate the actor to his times in a specific way, falling back instead on a laundry list of current events. Nevertheless, a page-turner that will fascinate even Brando's detractors--maybe especially them. (First serial rights to Vanity Fair) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Booklist:
Marlon Brando is an icon of American cinema. He's up there with Chaplin, Garbo, De Niro, Pacino--all those one-named actors (not Cher). In our times, with our inordinate thirst to be entertained by thrashing our icons, the appearance of a tell-all, no-holds-barred biography of Brando is big news. In the first 100 pages, Manso, through interviews with a cast of thousands (not Brando), reveals that Brando's father was an outcast, always fighting for acceptance; his mother was a drunk; and his sister found the father inept. Of Brando himself, we learn that he was both extremely sensitive and a brawler in school; that he used his fists to defend his friend Wally Cox; that he bullied his high-school teachers and was a manic-depressive; and that he was expelled from military school for pranks that would put the characters in Rebel without a Cause and Animal House combined to shame. In the next 100 pages, in extremely intimate detail, Brando is found guilty of being a lying, filthy, profligate satyr--but a very sensitive one. Organized chronologically in specific time periods or events, from "Omaha: 1893-1930" to "The Shooting: 1990-1994," the text is easy to follow, smoothly incorporating the author's seven years' worth of research. Piling eyewitness account on top of eyewitness account--including testimony from Brando's daughter Cheyenne--Manso develops his theme of Brando as a controller to the point where readers may wonder who did kill Cheyenne's husband, Dag Drollet--her brother (convicted of the crime), her father, or both.
According to Manso, Brando is so afraid of this book that he is writing his own, Songs My Mother Taught Me, an autobiography from Knopf scheduled to be published on September 11. [Knopf has refused to distribute galleys to prepublication review media.] Both books are certain to be much discussed in the coming months. Readers bothered by tabloid-style sensationalism may toss Manso's extremely raw book aside as if burned, but others will read it just to find the dirt. Librarians, of course, will be obligated to give the public what it's bound to want. Bonnie Smothers
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Descrizione libro Hyperion, 1994. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria M0786860634
Descrizione libro Hyperion Books, 1994. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0786860634
Descrizione libro Hyperion, 1994. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Never used!. Codice libro della libreria P110786860634