Book Review: The Naked Brando: An Intimate Friendship

| January 23, 2012 | Comments (0)

The Naked Brando: An Intimate Friendship

Title: The Naked Brando: An Intimate Friendship

Author: George Englund

There may have been tons of words, articles, books and blogs about Marlon Brando but the new book published by Gibson Square and penned by George Englund definately has a quality that cannot be underestimated. George Englund was one of Marlon Brando’s best friends from the mid 50s onwards and a long-time business partner. The Naked Brando: An Intimate Friendship – is a captivating, crafty and insightful account of the life of one of, or perhaps the most, talented and restless Hollywood actors of all time: Marlon Brando, or Mar, as he was affectionately called by his friend George Englund.

The memoir keeps track of how and why Brando had such a significant impact on film acting, and how he became the foremost example of the ‘method’ acting style. Nonetheless the account also helps to understand the reasons why he was also so resentful of the world, and so scornful of himself. Even so, he was the American actor of modern times, and of the second half of the 20th century; someone who was regularly placed in that small circle of the finest actors, the most potent and dangerous actors who could take a role and bring their audience into emotional territory that no one had anticipated.

Englund’s account reveals to the reader many interesting gems about Marlon Brando and his acting instinct. Amongst others, it emerges that while Brando became notorious for his ‘mumbling’, just a few knew that this was directly inherited from his father, with whom he notoriously had a troubled relationship, to put it lightly, all their lives. In fact at some stage during the late 50’s, George Englund met with Brando’s father to talk about the creation of a film production company. This encounter proved pivotal to Englund in revealing that so much of Brando’s raw animal magnetism and his mercurial performances were directly connected to and undoubtedly a legacy from his father.

Plenty of episodes showing the macho Brando and his love stories with his wives and occasional girlfriends are reported by Englund with juicy details on the side. Brando married three times – to Anna Kashfi (Anglo-Indian), Movita Castenada (Mexican) and Tarita (Tahitian). However, there were many more affairs, and he was the father of many children (rumours claim at least 11). On the one hand, he was particularly intrigued by seducing married women and then abandoning them; on the other hand, the book also talks about those women who said he was a magical lover and an enormous influence on their lives. Also, as accounted by Georgie ( how Brando used to call Englund), during his golden age, Brando was incredibly rebuffed by a fascinating female member of the UN.

Brando’s early career from unremarkable films to his masterpieces (to name just a few: On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, Last Tango in Paris, Apocalypse Now) are followed exclusively through the trajectory of Englund and Brando’s friendship. This gives the memoir perhaps a confined space from which Brandos life is accounted but also undoubtedly it gives an unknown insight into Brando’s life and his way of living as an idol and hero for many generations of actors and fans.

The biography is also enriched by some revealing and never before published letters written by Brando and addressed to Englund during the years of their friendship (these letters were mainly composed towards the last years of Brando’s life). Englund’s work is a personal point of view on Brando’s life and career, during which their relationship was so intense that at one stage in his book, Englund borrows a famous line from the Greek philosopher Aristotle: ‘What is a friend? – A single soul dwelling in two bodies…’

Nicola Marzano

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gibson Square Books Ltd; New ed edition (16 Mar 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1903933757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903933756
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.8 cm
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Category: Book Reviews, Reviews

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