Who the better


(David GAY) #1

2015 marks the centenary of Orson Welles. Astonishing that Marlon Brando was born only nine years later. A votre avis qui est le meilleur?



(Peter Bird) #2

Marlon was for me, a great actor. I enjoy his films and his style seems pretty unique to me.

OW doesn't do anything to convince me he is anything other than a pretentious toff with little acting ability though I suppose the thespians 'de metier' will shoot me down....


(Brian Milne) #3

Aha, whilst downloading today's work I was looking at Welles and found something he wrote about Shakespearean work. He was influenced by David Garrick as an actor and manager/promoter of Shakespeare and Otway. You obviously know that David and it seems to affirm the kind of image you recognise. Hmm, he knew quite a lot about English theatre at that, never knew just how much that was an influence on him, just imagined he wanted to prove Americans could do it as well.


(Brian Milne) #4

In fact, Brando openly criticised Strasberg with whom there appears to have been 'bad blood' anyway.

I have never seen 'The Entertainer' but the Shakespeare acting seems to present Olivier rather than the characters. Clark Gable has the same effect on me. 'Gone with the Wind' gave us Rhett Butler who was Gable being Gable and the rest of his career was repeat performance as Gable and yet he was known as the 'king of Hollywood' in his time.

Both Brando and Welles hit peaks too early with brilliant films, then probably dug their own graves. I agree on the actor/manager thing about Welles and Citizen Kane epitomises that and Chimes at Midnight is brilliant but lacked the steps he might have taken into other outstanding films. Brando got too 'prima donna-ish' and therefore lost roles he should have walked into so that when he tried to pick up his career the line had been broken and he far too forgotten to recover.

Nonetheless, great cinema both of them.


(David GAY) #5

I think you're completely right Peter. I raised the point simply to point up the curiosity of two people born so close together who went in such separate ways yet both ended up failures never fulfilling the promise that they had when young. Welles always reminds me of the nineteenth/early 20th century actor managers who were probably no great shakes as actors but could put together a brilliant show. Although to be fair his performance as Falstaff in "Chimes at Midnight" is simply brilliant. Sadly he always seemed to be chasing a project that was too big ,too ambitious, with the result that he ignored smaller projects that might have been far more observed ,far more sparkling. His pursuit of Don Quixote a project never completed was a case of art imitating art.

For Brando I admire his turning the point between speaking up and not bumping into the furniture and the technique of Lee Strasberg' Actor's Studio which, Brian, was loosely based on Stanislavsky, "The Actor Prepares " etc. but was less intellectual, relying on reflection of one's real situation than on an imagined self. I love his early films but just wish I could have seen him on stage I think that he might have been even better there than on film. Like Welles he was diverted.

As for Olivier I have never seen a more exciting and sinister performance than his in "The Entertainer"


(Peter Bird) #6

Marlon by a mile sorry, 1.609 kms


(Bruce Brewer) #7

Well, at least Orson Welles didn't have to use butter to get votes!


(Brian Milne) #8

I sat watching The Third Man last night unaware of that. I have nothing with Brando in it, although when I noticed a copy of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire on my shelf recently I reflected on the fact it was many years since I saw the film. He shone as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront. He thrived as an actor because he used Stanislavski's view that an actor contains a whole life in moments, depends on psychological realism and emotionally must be authentic. Brando did that in his peak days. Later films, well I guess most actors slide although on reflection Last Tango in Paris is actually far better than is was sensationalised as being in its time. Welles was one of those intelligent actors who used their physical presence. When he kicked off with Citizen Kane it was something he could never really better. His radio work was brilliant. The Lady From Shanghai is odd but brilliant in its eclectic way. His Shakespearian acting was not the best but his characters were far more convincing than contemporaries such as Laurence Olivier (I never got the hang of him) who were noted for being Shakespeareans.

Almost flip of the coin between the two. As an actor I think it is Brando though, although he has less to look at that is classically outstanding, Streetcar and Waterfront are remarkable.


(Kirsty Snaith) #9

Totally impossible to compare - lemons and oranges indeed. I love both.