Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Hamlet offered advice to the traveling troop of actors who visited Elsinore:

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently. . .

We act every day; life is performance. Most of us are not very good at it. Some elevate acting to the professional level. This clip is from a New York City acting workshop led by award-winning actor/director Thurman E. Scott.

An actor behind the scenes: Marlon Brando and Francis Ford Coppola on the set of "The Godfather."

To help us, we've recruited Marlon Brando the greatest screen actor of his generation, perhaps all time, who revolutionized and naturalized the art of acting. Even if we skip the more familiar performances from "A Streetcar Named Desire," "On the Waterfront," and "The Godfather," there are still many dynamic scenes to choose from.

Marlon Brando started on the stage, and here he plays Marc Antony in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." (1953) Contrast this big grand style of stage acting with the films that follow.

A scene with the amazing Anna Magnani from "The Fugitive Kind" (1960). Brando achieved stardom on Broadway, playing Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire." Here he plays Valentine "Snakeskin" Xavier in a film based on another Williams' play, "Orpheus Descending."

Paul's eulogy in "Last Tango in Paris." (1972) Believe it or not, this was the same year he played Vito Corleone in "The Godfather." An absolutely brilliant performance. (language warning on this clip)

Brando is interviewed in 1973, after winning--and rejecting--the Academy Award for Best Actor for "The Godfather." He skipped the ceremony and sent Native American rights activist Sacheen Littlefeather, in full Apache dress, to explain his objection to the depiction of American Indians by Hollywood and television. Needless to say, Brando stirred some controversy, especially among the old warhorses like John Wayne. Here, Brando plays himself.

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