Today would have been Marlon Brando’s 94th birthday so it seems appropriate that today’s music video should be for a song that was, at least partially, inspired by Marlon Brando’s career!
In 2014 interview, Scott Walker explained the idea behind this song, saying that he found that there were several movies that features scenes of Marlon Brando being physically assaulted. Along with detailing some of the assaults that Brando suffered on screen, the song serves as a tribute to sadomasochism in general.
In the third verse, there are several references to Brando’s films. First there’s mention of Brando getting beat up by John Saxon in The Appaloosa. “I took it from dad” is probably a reference to One-Eyed Jacks, the only film that Brando ever directed. Fat Johnny Friendly was the racketeer played by Lee J. Cobb in On The Waterfront while the three vigilantes are a reference to Brando’s role in The Chase. “I took it for The Wild One” is obviously a reference to the film of the same name. As “Lizbeth,” that’s presumably a reference to Elizabeth Taylor, who beat Brando with a riding crop in Reflections in a Golden Eye.