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3.8 out of 5 stars14
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2001
This was a revelation - a wonderful, wonderful biography
for which I am extremely grateful. It's touching, deft, and
I liked the fact that she focused on Brando the artist. I'm
sure he would like this book - I would, if I were him. It is
not at all condescending nor overly fawning.
I really felt for the man and the brilliant communicator of emotions, whose movies have always taught me about being an artist myself. Now I want to go and see all his films again. especially Mutiny on the Bounty. And my heart goes out to Marlon Brando, the neglected child of alcoholics, the big-hearted giver, the best friend of some very special people, including Wally Cox and Stella Adler,
the co-dependent son and father, the compulsive overeater who really should join O.A.
The book zips along, thanks to Bosworth's fine writing. And I'd like to say that it's a lesson in the efficacy of the brief biography. I'm so sick of trying to wade through tomes that tell you about everything from the kindergarten teacher who inspired the star to his toenail clipping habits. This little
book synthesized a complex life in a very dignified way.
Hats off to Patricia Bosworth.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2001
This was a very quick and engrossing read. If, like myself, you know very little about Brando's life, this book will be a revelation. Brando is one of the most fascinating personalities of our time. This book does a good job of shedding light on the forces that helped shape his personality. His alcoholic mother and philandering and bullying father created a depressing family environment. It seems that he could never quite break free from their destructive influence despite years of psychotherapy. A sad story.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2002
A vivid portrait of the man and his acting genius. Bosworth does a bang up job depicting his life and the development of his enormous talent. He is one of the world's greatest artists and we get a clear unencumbered picture of the man and his life in clear, practical, prose. Really fascinating.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2007
"Marlon Brando" by Patricia Bosworth is a well written and intriguing biography. I enjoyed reading it very much and I enjoyed that it was fairly nicely balanced and included details of Marlon's on-screen and off-screen life.

I think Marlon took some serious and unfair hits in his life - personally, with tragedies that befell him and his family and, professionally, as a result of other peoples' misjudgments regarding his having taken stands for important humanitarian causes and against social injustices. He was a human being that cared deeply for others and one who tried to put that caring into positive action. He was also the greatest actor ever to grace the stage or screen.

It is sad to me that Marlon was alone at the end of his life. He had his children who loved him and cared about him, but he reportedly lived alone. I have always wondered if the rejections he suffered throughout his life marked him so deeply that he felt unworthy and, thus, rejected the idea of having someone there loving him, caring for him, and supporting him physically, emotionally, and spiritually through his illness at a time in his life when things may not have been as "pretty" as they once were. He WAS worthy, despite his possibly not knowing that at the time.

I appreciate Marlon's statement that people who are deeply sensitive are more easily brutalized than most. I think this is very true. Pain is felt much more deeply and is more deeply internalized by those who are the most sensitive. It can leave one feeling unworthy and untrusting and all of the money and fame in the world cannot repair the damage. It is a spiritual thing, not a thing of earthly possessions or material accomplishments.

Marlon was a sensitive soul who needed to be cared for differently than he was during so many parts of his life.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2001
it pierces the heart of the man. a genius who was very uneducated. always probing to find out who he was. when he finally did his view in the rear view mirror glimpsed too much reckage and too much pain. oh if only he had been guided by true mentors with his true interest at heart .. if he reads this himself he will surely ache and see himself.
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on February 22, 2013
Patricia Bosworth writes in an easy, engaging style, and tells her story about the life and career of Marlon Brando, as fascinating an actor as American movies have ever featured, briskly. Too briskly, I'd say. She's good on his growing up and breakthrough-in-New York years, especially on his iconoclastic and iconic production role in A Streetcar Named Desire. But she becomes consistently less interested in his work and the movies he appeared in. It may be said in her defense that Brando became less interested in his work, too -- the few minutes he appeared in Superman truly don't require much explication. But there must be quite a lot more to be said of his methods for creating The Godfather and his follow-up genial spoof of the role in The Freshman, Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, and even Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. I'd like to know more about how he interacted with some of the great directors of his time and his co-stars, not for personal gossip but rather in a critical/analytical way. The author is not up for that. She recognizes with The Wild One, On the Waterfront and Last Tango in Paris as his important performances, but Brando's failures, near misses and even the provocative potboilers are worth a look and must have much more to offer about acting and filmmaking if an author delves in with interest. She is dutiful and little more about Viva Zapata, The Men, One-Eyed Jacks, Julius Caesar, Mutiny on the Bounty, Reflections in a Golden Eye and Burn! She all but ignores everything else. The man had a longer life and left more indelible portrayals than interest her. Too bad. There are other bios on the market (as she acknowledges) and I'll turn to them for a more detailed and engaging view of this willful, perhaps self-destructive genius.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2001
I like to read biographies in general, but I have a special interest in Marlon Brando and collect books and things about him. If you want a pleasant overview of the life of Marlon Brando, pleasant meaning perhaps you are a teenage girl and want to reaffirm your crush on him, then Bosworth's book is okay. But you might as well read his autobiography, because most of the anecdotes and quotes are from that. Plus, his autobiography is also a pleasant overview at times, omitting some of the darker details. But if you really want to know what the life of Marlon Brando was like, read Peter Manso's Brando biography. It's a long read, but damn interesting. This new biography by Bosworth, with the pretty cover, is a mere book in my collection, but something I have skimmed through since it's not very well written nor does it contain new information. Also, I think a book that concentrates on the acting genius of Brando is a ridiculous subject unless one were to really delve into the psyche of the man and figure out why someone was so talented yet often detested the occupation. Which Manso does extremely well at times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2014

This book basically told of how immature Brando was. And I never thought much of his method acting either.
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on October 17, 2013
A brief glimpse of acting genius. An artist with compasion for others as well. His influence is still being felt 60 yrs. later. While described as difficult at times, there was also loyalty,and curiosity. Patricia Bosworth does a good turn with the Brando legend.
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on December 12, 2012
Interesting biography of a complicated personality and talented actor.No new facts are presented by the author but information is presented in a sympathetic way.
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