follow us in feedly
That time Jack Kerouac asked Marlon Brando to make a movie of ‘On the Road’ 1957
11:55 am


Jack Kerouac
Marlon Brando

It’s fair to say most writers would like a movie made of their books—it’s a way of reaching a far greater audience and pegging a stake on fame, fortune and celluloid immortality. To this end, some writers often dream up a cast list of their favorite actors who they think are best suited to play the fictional characters they’ve created. Though of course this rarely happens as box office clout always beats artistic sensibilities when it comes to casting.

In September 1957, Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road was published to great and immediate acclaim. Film studios clamored to option the book. Warner Brothers expressed an interest as did Paramount, but Kerouac had his own ideas.

The Beat author wanted Marlon Brando to make a movie of On the Road. He thought Method actor Brando was perfect for the central role of Dean Moriarty. Kerouac was ambitious enough to consider himself for the role of his fictional alter ego and Moriarty’s sidekick Sal Paradise. Brando was a hot property. He was considered perhaps the greatest actor of his generation and had been nominated five times for an Academy Award—winning one for his performance in On the Waterfront in 1954. It was a big ask, but Kerouac was hopeful.

“Dear Marlon,” his letter began:

I’m praying that you’ll buy ON THE ROAD and make a movie of it. Don’t worry about the structure, I know to compress and re-arrange the plot a bit to give a perfectly acceptable movie-type structure: making it into one all-inclusive trip instead of the several voyages coast-to-coast in the book, one vast round trip from New York to Denver to Frisco to Mexico to New Orleans to New York again. I visualize the beautiful shots could be made with the camera on the front seat of the car showing the road (day and night) unwinding into the windshield, as Sal and Dean yak. I wanted you to play the part because Dean (as you know) is no dopey hotrodder but a real intelligent (in fact Jesuit) Irishman. You play Dean and I’ll play Sal (Warner Bros. mentioned I play Sal) and I’ll show you how Dean acts in real life, you couldn’t possibly imagine it without seeing a good imitation. Fact, we can go visit him in Frisco, or have him come down to L.A. still a real frantic cat but nowadays settled down with his final wife saying the Lord’s Prayer with his kiddies at night… as you’ll see when you read the play BEAT GENERATION. All I want out of this is to be able to establish myself and by mother a trust fund for life, so I can really go roaming around the world writing about Japan, India, France etc… I Want to be free to write what comes out of my head & free to feed my buddies when they’re hungry & not worry about my mother.

Incidentally, my next novel is THE SUBTERRANEANS coming out in N.Y. next March and is about a love affair between a white guy and a colored girl and is a very hep story. Some of the characters in it you know in the Village (Stanley Gould etc.) It easily could be turned into a play, easier than ON THE ROAD.

What I wanta do is re-do the theater and the cinema in America, give it a spontaneous dash, remove pre-conceptions of “situation” and let people rave on as they do in real life. That’s what the play is: no plot in particular, no “meaning” in particular, just the way people are. Everything I write I do in the spirit where I imagine myself an Angel returned to the earth seeing it with sad eyes as it is. I know you approve of these ideas, & incidentally the new Frank Sinatra show is based on “spontaneous” too, which is the only way to come on anyway, whether in business or life. The French movies of the 30’s are still far superior to ours because the French really let their actors come on and the writers didn’t quibble with some preconceived notion of how intelligent the movie audience is, they talked soul from soul and everybody understood at once. I want to make great French Movies in America, finally, when I’m rich… American theater & Cinema at present is an outmoded dinosaur that ain’t mutated along with the best in American Literature.

If you really want to go ahead, make arrangements to see me in New York when next you come, or if you’re going to FLorida here I am, but what we should do is talk about this because I prophesy that it’s going to be the beginning of something real great. I’m bored nowadays and I’m looking around for something to do in the world, anyway — writing novels is getting too easy, same with plays, I wrote the play in 24 hours.

Come on now, Marlon, put up your dukes and write!

Sincerely, later, Jack Kerouac

This letter was only discovered after Brando died in July 2004. Helen Hall was tasked by auction house Christie’s to visit the actor’s home on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles and select property to include in an auction of his estate.

Hall spent around ten days at Brando’s house sifting through his personal effects “with a fine tooth comb.”  The most valuable thing she had found was an annotated copy of Brando’s script for The Godfather tucked away with all his other movie memorabilia in a bunker in the garden. Hall thought this was the best she would find. On her tenth day at the house, Hall and her team searched through the very last room on their list—Brando’s office.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Marlon Brando egg advert mystery solved: The strange story of Joe Flynn and his scrambled dream
07:45 pm


Marlon Brando
Joe Flynn
McHale's Navy

Click here to read larger image.
Some years ago, my Dad’s uncle, Art Berkell, passed away, leaving behind a lifetime of clutter for us to deal with. I grabbed what I thought I could use; filing cabinets, a desk, lots of Kodachrome slides. I trucked it off to storage and figured, like everyone else who rents a space to keep crap, that I’d bring it all home when I had the room. 

Many years went by, and I finally decided to either donate the stuff or chuck it. Filing cabinets just don’t hold the same fascination for me in the computer-age world that they once did; they’re just big steel boxes that take up room, so they were the first items on the chopping block. There was still some stuff in the drawers, though, so I emptied it into a box and brought it home to parse through, just in case there was anything important in there. Most of it was garbage—travel receipts, tax snippets, business cards, forms—but one thing caught my eye: a folder with a name scrawled on it in Uncle Art’s handwriting: Joe Flynn.

I know “Flynn” is a fairly common Irish name, but there was an actor named Joe Flynn who did a lot of television and Disney movies in the 60s and 70s, so my curiosity was piqued. To my surprise, the folder indeed contained clippings of the actor, and correspondence and old legal papers indicating that Uncle Art had been a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Mr. Flynn. There was also a pack of matches labeled “Joe Flynn’s Personal Eggs,” featuring a caricature of the actor, as well as a snapshot of a delivery truck painted in a similar fashion, and other related clippings. I’m thinking, what the hell was this? My family has been here in L.A. for 90 years, we’ve crossed paths with lots of interesting people, but of all the stories I’ve heard, I never remembered anyone referencing Joe Flynn. I picked up the phone and called my Dad, and asked if he remembered any kind of connection between his uncle and the actor.

He immediately replied, “Oh, that’s that goddamn egg thing.”

He went on to tell me what he remembered about “Joe Flynn Personal Eggs.”  Apparently, Flynn, an Ohio native, had a few chickens in his backyard. On Sunday mornings in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he would go out to the henhouse and personally select a giant basket of fresh eggs for breakfast. His neighbors and actor friends would crowd around the table for omelettes and scrambles, which Joe gleefully served with a flourish. It was a fun, invitation-only affair, like an exclusive poker circle, and a great way to recover from a long night of partying.

Unfortunately, everything changed when actor Wally Cox slipped up and told his friend Marlon Brando about the breakfasts. Brando immediately called Flynn and demanded to be included. Soon, Sunday mornings weren’t enough; he started showing up at Flynn’s door at all hours, demanding his “personal” eggs. In desperation, Flynn offered to always have a bowl of freshly scrambled eggs on hand, ready to be delivered, by driver, whenever Marlon was hungry… if only Marlon would stop haunting his kitchen in the middle of the night. This arrangement worked for a short time, but Brando soon insisted that Flynn cater to his friends as well, as a premium for his “continued best-friendship.”

By this time, Flynn was spending a good portion of his week cracking and freezing tupperware bowls full of eggs, and he finally announced that he would start charging people for his “personal egg” services. As my Dad remembers it, Flynn figured people would stop pestering him for eggs if he put a price on them, but because he priced them so reasonably, the plan backfired. Flynn was forced to lease a separate property in Van Nuys in order to raise enough chickens and eggs to keep up with the increasing demand—which is where dear old Uncle Art enters the narrative; with his older brother Al, he held the deed to the vacant lot on Orion Avenue where Flynn moved his operation.

Legal correspondence regarding the Orion Ave. property sent to my great uncle, Art Berkell, found in the filing cabinet. Click here to read larger image.

Facing rising costs (and apparently prodded by Brando), Flynn decided to sell his eggs, pre-scrambled and frozen, to the general public. He bought ad space, had his promotional materials printed, and built a small cinder-block warehouse curbside on the Orion Avenue lot.  The public wasn’t buying, though, and after struggling along for several years, a tired and disgusted Flynn was on the verge of shuttering the whole operation when everything changed in the spring of 1962. Producer Ed Montagne (The Phil Silvers Show) contacted Flynn and offered him a significant part on the new sitcom McHale’s Navy as Captain Binghamton, the role for which he is probably best remembered.  The show was a moderate hit, and Flynn quickly realized his egg endeavors could benefit from his newfound notoriety.

Click here to read larger image.

This is where the story gets a little strange and spotty; I’ve had to fill in some blanks with conjecture. Apparently, not content to simply deliver eggs to his customers, Flynn envisioned installing a strange, compressed nitrogen-powered “personal egg tank” in people’s houses, which would be topped off weekly (or even daily) with liquid eggs from his own fleet of delivery trucks. He invested a large chunk of his acting salary into inventing such a system, and by the mid-to-late 1960s had actually installed it in a number of homes around the Valley. From what I can gather, most of the people who bought into the service were other celebrities, not surprising considering the price of installation was equivalent to building a new swimming pool. Brando himself had a “deluxe” tank with a dedicated faucet installed in the kitchen of his Mulholland Drive home that dispensed not just eggs, but also a pre-mixed egg-flour batter for baking.

As the returns diminished from their friendship, Flynn, in a brazen attempt to exploit their association, published a bizarre, full-page ad featuring Brando’s likeness and apparent endorsement—without Brando’s permission. The copy I obtained was printed in a business monthly published by a local Chamber of Commerce, but I was told that it popped up in a number of Los Angeles area publications and circulated for roughly a year before Brando found out, and he was livid.  Legend has it that Brando ordered his handyman to fill his “personal egg tank” with cement so that it could never be used again. According to a long-time realtor who knows the property well (and for obvious reasons shall remain anonymous), the apparatus was still embedded in the wall of Brando’s former home as recently as 2009.

Threats, attorneys, lawsuits and more threats followed, and Flynn’s erstwhile egg empire cracked. By this time, sadly, Flynn had grown obsessed with eggs.  He refused to give up on the idea of installing egg tanks and selling liquid eggs, often referencing “my contribution to science” and “ending world hunger via eggs” as reasons to push ahead with his dream. In complete denial about his crumbling business, he continued to implore his famous friends to install his dangerously unstable delivery system, to uniformly disastrous results. This, I’ve gathered because of the numerous cancellation requests and angry demands for refunds scattered amongst the other papers, mostly dated around the same time my family was suing to evict him (and his chickens) from their property. Dad says Uncle Art (Uncle Al had died in 1969) was particularly pissed because Flynn never obtained the proper permits to raise livestock in what was a mostly residential neighborhood, and as the property owner, he was forced to deal with numerous fines and complaints from various city agencies. He ultimately won the court case, but Flynn dragged the eviction out long enough where Art was unable to make plans for the property, and he just dumped it on the market it in disgust. I’m pretty sure it’s all apartments now.

A coy letter from Jayne Meadows cancelling “personal eggs” for herself and husband Steve Allen. Click here to read larger image.
After weeks of further research, and asking my poor father an awful lot of questions, I was unable to find any trace of “Personal Eggs” after 1972, where the trail ends deep in the Los Angeles court system microfiche.  Sadly, there is no reference to it on Flynn’s Wikipedia or IMDB page.  As for Flynn himself, in the summer of ‘74 he was found naked and dead at the bottom of his swimming pool—some say under mysterious circumstances—at the age of 49, and his dream of pre-scrambled eggs for the hungry masses apparently died with him.  There is no record of Marlon Brando attending the funeral.

Click here to read larger image.

An angry letter from actor Bobby Troup. Click here to read larger image.


Posted by Cris Shapan | Leave a comment
Francis Ford Coppola’s original cast list for ‘The Godfather’

Francis Ford Coppola was not the first choice to direct The Godfather, Paramount Studios wanted Sergio Leone, but he turned it down to concentrate on his own gangster movie Once Upon A Time in America. Next up was Peter Bogdanovich but he also knocked it back as he was working on What’s Up, Doc?. Coppola was eventually approached by producer Robert Evans, who wanted an Italian-American to direct the film.

As Coppola later recalled in an interview:

The Godfather was a very unappreciated movie when we were making it. They were very unhappy with it. They didn’t like the cast. They didn’t like the way I was shooting it. I was always on the verge of getting fired. So it was an extremely nightmarish experience. I had two little kids, and the third one was born during that. We lived in a little apartment, and I was basically frightened that they didn’t like it. They had as much as said that, so when it was all over I wasn’t at all confident that it was going to be successful, and that I’d ever get another job.

Coppola was considered a risk. He had made five movies, only one of which was a hit. He was also in debt to Warner Brothers from an overspend while producing THX 1138.

Paramount were still skeptical about Coppola’s ability and kept a standby director ready to replace him. The first argument between director and studio came over casting. Coppola had drawn up his own list of possible contenders, which the studio was also set against, in particular they did not like Coppola’s suggestion of Marlon Brando or Laurence Olivier for Vito Corleone.
Coppola wanted the world’s greatest actors for the main role, but the studio didn’t want Brando because he had a bad reputation for delaying film productions; while Olivier was supposedly too ill to film and turned the offer down.

Who the studio wanted was Ernest Borgnine, as he had the mix of rough-and-ready, and seemed like the kind of “family man” an audience would identify with.
For Michael Corleone, Coppola wanted (then mainly unknown) Al Pacino, but the studio wanted a name, a hit name like Robert Redford or Ryan O’Neal.

Michael was a good, strong role, and it attracted Martin Sheen, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman and James Caan to audition for the role, but Coppola threatened to quit unless Pacino was given it. The studio eventually conceded on the agreement that James Caan was cast as Sonny Corleone.

Again the lure of box office names led to considering Paul Newman and Steve McQueen for the role of lawyer Tom Hagen, but that eventually went to Robert Duvall.
Other stars who went up for roles include Anthony Perkins who auditioned for Sonny, while Mia Farrow auditioned for Kay. Meanwhile, Robert De Niro tried out for Michael, Sonny, Carlo, and Paulie. He eventually played the young Vito in The Godfather Part II.

This is Coppola’s original cast list, which contains many of the names who eventually appeared in the film.
Via Retronaut, FuckyeahDonCorleone and Julia Segal

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The reason behind Marlon Brando’s seething hate for Burt Reynolds?
05:40 pm


Marlon Brando
Burt Reynolds

Marlon Brando was not known for keeping his opinions to himself and in this recording from the set of Apocalypse Now Brando riffs on his disgust for Burt Reynolds.

Brando seems to savor every deliciously wicked word.

I disagree with the thought process of people like him, who is a totally narcissistic person who epitomizes everything wrong with being a celebrity in Hollywood.


I wonder if part of Brando’s hate for Reynolds is rooted in this parody from an episode of The Twilight Zone. Was Brando that thin-skinned?

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The power and glory of Marlon Brando: 1973 interview with Dick Cavett
06:27 pm


Marlon Brando

The calm before the storm.
Three months after not accepting the best actor award at the Academy Awards, Marlon Brando appeared on The Dick Cavett Show with members of the Pauite, Cheyenne and Lummi tribes. Brando had refused his Oscar for The Godfather in protest of Hollywood’s depiction of Native Americans on film.

Brando radiates a shitload of charisma and looks terrific. Brilliant mind. This is the Brando era I choose to remember. The Brando of Last Tango In Paris.

After the taping of the show, Brando was confronted by papparazzo Ron Gallela outside of a restaurant in Chinatown. Brando humored the photographer for a few moments, but when Gallela asked Brando to remove his sunglasses, the actor had had enough. He responded by punching Gallela in the face, breaking the photographer’s jaw and knocking out five teeth.

This is from June 1973.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Candy: A Cult Film So Bad That It’s Just Bad



Candy should, I repeat should be off the scale incredible. But it’s not.

Candy was a film that was always talked about, but no one ever saw it. The poster of Candy topless in the airplane cockpit would always be for sale in the back pages of magazines like “Famous Monsters of Filmland” next to ones of King Kong and Frankenstein and it became a familiar image of the era. But the movie you never saw. Not on any late night movie show, never on a Sunday morning “Million Dollar Movie” or anything like that, Candy was seemingly banned from TV for being too racy and for whatever reason was never released on VHS either. Nor was it ever on HBO or Showtime. It was the great lost movie in my eyes.

I became mildly obsessed with this film I could never see and went about collecting movie posters, lobby cards, publicity photos and I own several different versions of the novel by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg with different groovy covers. The mythical Candy became a cult movie Holy Grail for me. I really built it up in my mind. For years I tried to get hold of a copy in the tape trading underground, but the best I was ever able to find was still unwatchable. Then finally it came out on DVD. It was like Christmas had arrived.

But it sucked! Really sucked. It was such a let down!

I mean just LOOK at the cast: Ringo Starr (Emmanuel, the Mexican gardener), Charles Aznavour (the horny hunchback), Marlon Brando (Grindl, the horny (fake) Indian guru), Richard Burton (MacPhisto, the drunk, horny Welsh poet), James Coburn (egotistical surgeon), John Huston (dirty old man doctor) and Walter Matthau (horny military general). Sugar Ray Robinson and Anita Pallenberg make cameo appearances. How could you go wrong with a cast like that?

Let’s not forget the amazing opening space travel sequence by Douglas Trumbull who went on to make 2001 with Stanley Kubrick. And the soundtrack by The Byrds, Steppenwolf and soundtrack great Dave Grusin (it’s INCREDIBLE and easy to find on audio blogs). The script was adapted by Buck Henry. HOW could this fail?

It even featured the decade defining pulchritude of Miss Teen Sweden, Ewa Aulin, in the title role of “Candy Christian,” the ultimate All-American girl.

But despite all this Candy is a terrible film and even worse, it’s boring.

One of the things that must have mucked up things badly for the production is—and I am just theorizing here—the contracts for the lead actors. These were THE leading actors of the day, all of them top drawer A-list 60s talent. After watching Candy the thought occurred to me that Marlon Brando’s agent probably asked how much screen time Richard Burton was getting and demanded the same for his client. Then James Coburn’s manager asked the same question and demanded equal time for his client and so on and so until each actor was guaranteed “Most Favored Nations” equal screen time. How else to explain the film’s structure? It’s maddening to watch and Candy feels like it’s never going to end.

STILL, I’m not saying it’s so bad you shouldn’t watch it. Actually I think that if this sounds even remotely intriguing to you then it’s definitely worth seeing. It’s not good, no, we’ve already established that fact, but it is a super insane, trippy, campy relic of the 1960s with some of the most iconic actors of the decade behaving like total hambones, each trying to outdo the other in chewing up the scenery.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Marlon Brando exotic dancer
12:19 am


Marlon Brando
Tahitian dance
Tarita Teriipaia

Marlon Brando performing a Tahitian dance with his beautiful wife Tarita Teriipaia on French TV in 1967. The event was a fundraiser for UNICEF.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Baldwin, Brando, Belafonte, Poitier, Mankiewicz and Heston talk Civil Rights, 1963

On August 28 1963, the same day Martin Luther King delivered his landmark “I have a dream” speech, at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, writer James Baldwin, director Joseph Mankiewicz, and actors Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, and Sidney Poitier, sat down in a CBS studio to discuss Civil Rights in America. It was an historic moment, one that would be difficult to imagine happening today, amongst Hollywood’s glitterai - especially when Mankiewicz let’s the cat out of the bag:

“Freedom, true freedom is not given by governments; it is taken by the people.”


Via Open Culture

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Brave: The cinematic atrocity that could have tanked Johnny Depp’s career
05:00 pm


Marlon Brando
Johnny Depp
The Brave

There is a very good reason why you’ve probably never seen—or even heard of—a 1997 film titled The Brave that was both directed by, and starred, Johnny Depp: It’s one of the worst films ever made. I mean like as in one of the very fuckin’ worst movies ever made, okay? How else to explain why a feature directed by one of the most bankable movie stars in history, and that features a soundtrack by Iggy Pop and one of the final film roles of Marlon Brando, has never been released in the United States, either theatrically or even on DVD? Yes, it’s that bad.

The Brave is an appalling and horrendous piece of shit that apparently left audiences at the Cannes FIlm Festival slack-jawed and saw Depp’s “people” swoop in to make sure that it wasn’t about to ruin their cash cow’s reputation. If The Brave had an odor, it would be lethal and take a hazmat suit with a gas mask to deal with. The film has only ever seen the light of day in ex-US territories, mostly Asia, where it was immediately bootlegged. Trust me, they did Depp a major solid by trying to bury this turd as deeply as possible. (For fun, put yourself into the shoes of the manager or agent who had to put it to one of the world’s biggest movie stars that he’d made a film that was unreleasable! Depp probably looks back on it now and thinks “Thank god I listened to them.”)

Now, be aware that I say all of this as somewhat of an enthusiast, even a connoisseur of “bad films,” myself, but they have to be of the “so bad they’re good” variety, not films that are just… shitty, misguided and boring. The Brave is all that and a lot more. It’s awfulness is special. One of a kind.

The Brave is Depp’s own The Day The Clown Cried.

I first read about the film’s existence in Jane Hamsher’s book Killer Instinct, about the insanity she experienced during the of filming of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. There is just a paragraph or two describing the plot of The Brave in the book and after reading this, I just had to see it. However, this was approximately 1999 when I read it and sans bit torrent, it wasn’t going to be that easy to get my hands on it. A few days later. I figured out that a friend of someone I knew was a co-producer on the film and I got him to ask for a copy. The reply came in the form of a suspicious question: “Why does he want to see it?”

Why do you think?!?! Nevertheless, I got a copy with the extracted promise that I wouldn’t say where it had come from. Seemed fair.

So what is it that’s so freaking bad about this film, anyway? God, where do you start?

Okay, first the plot: Depp play a Native American guy named “Raphael” who lives with his wife and catatonic children in a shantytown near (in?) a garbage dump. He’s an alcoholic and sees no hope for ever being able to pull himself and his family out of their abject poverty. Raphael, who is illiterate, is told of a sinister man named McCarthy who is willing to offer $50,000 if Raphael will agree to be brutally tortured, dismembered and murdered for a snuff film. Raphael sees this as a last ditch way to lift his family from the life they are leading. After a scene of Brando acting as psychotic as you’ve ever seen him, delivering a ridiculous (obviously improvised) wheelchair-bound soliloquy about how the snuff movie will allow those who see it to face death more honestly, and how Christ-like Raphael’s sacrifice will be (it’s Island of Dr. Moreau-worthy stuff), Raphael is given a bag of cash as an advance and signs a bogus contract consisting of gibberish that he thinks will secure his family’s future after he’s gone. If Raphael skips out on MCarthy, he is told by one of his henchmen, he’ll find, fuck and eat his wife and kids

Raphael is supposed to return at the end of seven days to McCarthy’s seedy bunker to be killed in the snuff film. Most of the rest of The Brave shows him showering gifts on his wife children (such as hiring in a small fun fair) and dealing with the fate he’s signed up for. On the seventh day, Raphael returns to the fortress where McCarthy makes his films and The Brave ends (thank god!).
First off, I should say that on a technical level, the film is well-shot and edited. Clearly Johnny Depp would have access to the best “below the line talent” money could buy. It’s a technically competent film. The biggest problem with The Brave—the fatal problem, in fact, and precisely what makes it so incredibly bad—is Depp himself in the lead role. Casting himself as “Raphael” was a major, major miscalculation for several reasons, with Depp’s movie star looks being the primary culprit. As I understand it, the original novel/script called for the character to be brain-damaged from alcohol abuse or semi-retarded. Had the role been played by a Native-American actor who was dumpy and monosyllabic, it might have worked (or at least not turned out to be the atrocity it did). The audience just never buys pretty boy-Depp (looking like a SIlverlake hipster of 2011) in the role for even a single second and scenes that might (I said might) have otherwise been moving with a different actor in the part, were instead just fodder for loud guffaws, sideways glances, and mucho eye-rolling. It’s a mawkish mess. It tries to manipulate the audience’s emotions, but only elicits… boredom, disgust and pointing and laughing at the screen.

Everyone I watched it with HATED IT, just fucking hated it, and unless you’re a weirdo with shitty taste in films, you will probably hate it, too. When it’s (finally) over, you just want to take about twenty showers and try to scrub it out of your mind. Which. Is. Not. Possible.

Of course, I realize that to some of you reading this, that even this negative review sounds like an endorsement of some sort—perhaps of the “this smells like shit, take a whiff” variety. After all, when I secured my own copy of this gargantuan awfulness eleven years ago, it was certainly my firm expectation that I would be seeing a colossally bad film (and I did). This is not to say, however, that having had that experience, that I’m now recommending watching The Brave to others (to be clear, I am not). If you don’t care and want to see it anyway (it’s all over the web now, just search for it on Google) do yourself a favor and do what I didn’t do and turn it off after Marlon Brando’s scene near the beginning of the film. It’s the only, uh, “good” part of it and as I wrote above, truly one of his single most most berserk onscreen moments.

The rest of it, trust me (no really!) you really, really, really don’t want to see. Not only is it a complete waste of 90 minutes of your life that you will never, ever get back, it’ll just make you feel icky. For days.

And who needs that?

Marlon Brando’s big scene:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Kerouac’s letter to Brando: “I’m praying that you’ll buy ‘On The Road’ and make a movie of it”
04:52 am


Jack Kerouac
Marlon Brando
On The Road

This letter from Jack Kerouac to Marlon Brando in which Kerouac pitches the idea of a movie version for On The Road starring Brando was auctioned by Christies for $36,000 a few years ago. A check Jack can’t cash.

I’m praying that you’ll buy ON THE ROAD and make a movie of it. Don’t worry about the structure, I know to compress and re-arrange the plot a bit to give a perfectly acceptable movie-type structure: making it into one all-inclusive trip instead of the several voyages coast-to-coast in the book, one vast round trip from New York to Denver to Frisco to Mexico to New Orleans to New York again. I visualize the beautiful shots could be made with the camera on the front seat of the car showing the road (day and night) unwinding into the windshield, as Sal and Dean yak. I wanted you to play the part because Dean (as you know) is no dopey hotrodder but a real intelligent (in fact Jesuit) Irishman. You play Dean and I’ll play Sal (Warner Bros. mentioned I play Sal) and I’ll show you how Dean acts in real life…we can go visit him in Frisco, or have him come down to L.A. still a real frantic cat.  All I want out of this is to able to establish myself and my Mother a trust fund for life, so I can really go around roaming around the world…to write what comes out of my head and free to feed my buddies when they’re hungry. What I wanta do is re-do the theater and the cinema in America, give it a spontaneous dash, remove pre-conceptions of “situation” and let people rave on as they do in real life…The French movies of the 30’s are still far superior to ours because the French really let their actors come on and the writers didn’t quibble with some preconceived notion of how intelligent the movie audience is…American theater & Cinema at present is an outmoded dinosaur that ain’t mutated along with the best in American Literature.

Come on now Marlon, put up your dukes and write! ...signed in blue ink Jack Kerouac
Thanks 3 A.M.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Thom Gunn: ‘On the Move’

“Hey, Johnny, What are you rebelling against?”
“What’ve you got?”

It’s the famous riposte from Marlon Brando in The Wild One, a line that sent a tremor of fear through the British establishment. Strange to think now, but back in 1954,  The Wild One was considered such a serious threat to British society it was banned by the Board of Film Censors for 14 years.

You see, those thin-lipped, blue-pencil censors believed Marlon Brando and his band of slovenly bikers would give youngsters “ideas on how to brutalize the public.”  This was hyped response to the fact the film was loosely based on a real event, when a band of bikers took over the town of Holister in California in July 1947, during the Gypsy Tour Motorcycle Rally. Around 50 people were arrested, mainly for drunkeness, fighting, reckless driving, and disturbing the peace. Sixty people were injured, 3 seriously. Even so, it’s hard to see how the chubby Brando and his non-sensical mumblings could have inspired anyone into revolt.

Afterall, austere 1950s Britain, with its food rationing and shell-shocked, ruined cities, wasn’t Technicolor America, something John Lennon found out when he visited his local cinema to see Bill Haley and his Comets in Rock Around the Clock. Lennon had heard how riots and revolution were taking place at the film’s screenings. However, instead of seat slashing and fighting in the aisles, the nascent Beatle was dumbstruck to find his generation watching the film in silence.

If it did cause any rebellion, then it was a revolution in the head of a young English poet called Thom Gunn.

On motorcycles, up the road, they come:
Small, black, as flies hanging in heat, the Boy,
Until the distance throws them forth, their hum
Bulges to thunder held by calf and thigh.
In goggles, donned impersonality,
In gleaming jackets trophied with the dust,
They strap in doubt–by hiding it, robust–
And almost hear a meaning in their noise.


More on Thom Gunn and bonus clips after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment