96 years ago today, Marlon Brando was born in Omaha, Nebraska.
Unfortunately, Brando is one of those actors who, later in his life, became better known for his eccentricities than for his performances. Though Brando never stopped being a good actor, it’s undeniable that some of his later performances reveal an actor who often did seem to be a bit bored with the films that he was making. It’s sad to think that there’s people out there who might only know Brando because they stumbled across The Island of Dr. Moreau on Starz at like 3 in the morning.
Regardless of the reputation that he developed in his later years, Marlon Brando was one of the best actors of all time. His early performances are still exciting to watch and, even when his work was becoming progressively more eccentric in the 70s and 80s, he still continued to give performances that could grab your attention and leave you surprised by their power.
Of course, my favorite Brando film remains The Godfather so it only makes sense to share a scene from that film on Brando’s birthday. In this beautifully acted scene, Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) informs Don Vito (Brando) that Sonny has been killed. Of course, first, Tom has to have a drink. This scene might not be as iconic as some of the other scenes in The Godfather but it’s wonderfully performed by both actors and it reminds us that The Godfather is powerful not because it’s a crime film but because it’s a film about family.