Payday Loans
Marlon Brando (1924-2004)

  1. John Derek, Knock On Any Door, 1948. Among the star groupies calling at Brando’s Broadway dressingroom during A Streetcar Named Desire, was Humphrey Bogart offering a film debut as Nick Romano - in his Sanatana’s company first production. “We can make beautiful music together.” (By 1954, they were up for the same role!). Marlon lost interest but loved Nick’s coda: “Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse.”  James Dean did. Brando didn’t.
  2. William Holden, Sunset Blvd, 1949. “Too much of unknown,” said the studio!  Director Billy Wilder then looked at Montgomery Clift, Gene Kelly, Fred McMurray before voting Holden.  A perfect choice  as a string of flops ruined  his  decade earlier  Golden Boy fame. Rather like Gloria Swanson’s gigolo Joe Gillis, Holden had hit zero - and the bottle.
  3. Kirk Douglas, The Glass Menagerie, 1949. The first Tennessee Williams play to be filmed. By Elia Kazan?   Not at all.  Irving Rapper got the gig, having moved up from, dialogue director to full-time helmer – and surviving three battles with the irascible Bette Davis. Gertrude Lawrence and Jane Wyman played Amanda and her handicapped daughter, Laura (based on the playwright’s mother and sister). Brando was in the mix (with Montgomery Clift and Ralph Meeker) for Jim O’Connor - Laura’s famous “gentleman caller.”  Over the years, he has also been played by such actors as George Gizzard, John Heard and Rip Torn. Later films were way better, even those made in Bollywood and Iran.
  4. Anthony Quinn, The Brave Bulls, Still hedging his movie bets, “the old lamplighter,” as Brando called himself , director Robert Rossen: “Offer the role to Anthony Quinn. He wants to be me, anyway.”
  5. Thomas E Breen, The River/Le fleuve, France-India-USA, 1950.  The obvious first choice of legendary French realisateur Jean Renoir at the end of his US career – “a film about India without elephants and tiger hunts.” In his seventh and final film, the largely unknown ex-Marine, Tommy Breen, had an asset that no Methodist could match. He’d lost a leg (at Guam)  just like novelist Rumer Godden’s creation of flyer Captain John. However,  not even Renoir could extract a decent performance out of… the son of (unknown to Renoir), Hollywood’s film censor:  head of the Motion Picture Production and Distributors.
  6.  Dick Haymes, St Benny the Dip, 1950. Brando had yet to make a movie - when the Dazinger brothers led the fight to get the Broadway sensation from A Streetcar Named Desire during 1947-1948.  Edward J and Harry Lee wanted him to head a gang of small time hoods hiding out as priests. Brando passed. The Dazingers gave Benny to the singer Haymes. Another reason why they ended their days  making 76 quota quickies in London.  Christopher Lee said if shooting went beyond three days, the budget was used up! 
  7.  Kirk Douglas, The Big Sky, The only time Howard Hawks ever envisaged Brando in one of his films was for AB Guthrie Jr’s Western “love story” of Boone Caudill and the older Jim Deakins.
  8.  Dewey Martin, The Big Sky, 1951. The Silver Fox mused upon Brando in either role opposite Sydney Chaplin, Robert Mitchum or, more explosively, Montgomery  Clift (!). But he was too expensive at $125,00 (exactly the salary of Douglas a year later) and Hawks slid downwards into Douglas and Dewey Martin.

  9.  Gary Cooper, High Noon, 1951. Sidney Lumet called it ”a romantic version of real life.” Producer Stanley Kramer’s backer, a lettuce tycoon, said Cooper - or, no lettuce. Coop beat Brando’s Zapata to the Oscar on  March 19, 1953. Kramer still brought Brando to Hollywood first - for The Men.  Among those greeting him at the old Santa Fe rail station (he was afraid of flying), was a young  MCA rep who drove him around town. When asked by the chiefs which top agent should handle him, Brando said “the kid from the mail room.” And Jay Kanter became the guy that  Brando trusted most in the world. Not vice-versa.  Not after Kanter found Marlon screwing the estranged Mrs Kanter: Roberta Haynes. 

10 - Jack Palance, Sudden Fear, 1952.   

Tallulah Bankhead warned her off the “pig-ignorant slob” but  Joan Crawford visited Brando on Broadway for her (very average)  thriller. “I always audition the new boy in town.”   She  got his stage understudy. And made it clear she’d never work with him again. “She accused me of copying Brando,” said Jack. “The cameras were rolling when... getting out of character, she shouted: If I had wanted Marlon Brando to do this scene with me, we would have hired him.”  Actually,  he had refused. Finally understanding Bankhead, Crawford called hm a “shithead.” Anyway, to paraphrase Hamlet: The best is Palance.  He was, after all,  Brando’s understudy and eventual successor in A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway. Palance scored a Oscar nomination for his “big break.” Not to mention  an affair with co-star Gloria Grahame.


11 - Gregory Peck, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1951.   Brando, Bogie, or outsiders Richard Conte and Dale Robertson - didn’t matter who was Harry Street. Because author Ernest Hemingway disliked the movie for swiping chapters from his other novels to pump up  this  simple tale of a dying Peck  mulling over a wasted career.  Hemingway, however, adored Ava Gardner. “And the hyena!” 

12 - Montgomery Clift, Stazione Termini  (US: Indiscretions of an  American Wife), Italy, 1952.   Brando considered the Zavattini script - in English. When nothing came of a French version for Gérard Philipe and Ingrid  Bergman, producder David Selznick won it for his wife Jennifer Jones and  Clift, directed by Vittorio De Sica.

13  - James Mason, A Star Is Born, 1953.

14 - Gérard Philipe, Le Rouge et le noir, France-Italy, 1953.     Producer Paul Graetz sued for $150,000 when Brando quit some days before becoming Julien Sorel - because of problems with right-wing realisateurClaude Autant-Lara. Plus an MGM call for Julius Caesar. Philipe was never happy with the first French Technicolor film, hating that it was only ever made because he agreed to it.  Marlon softened his Nazi character in The Young Lions into “my chance to play Julian Sorel in another version.”     


15 - Farley Granger, Senso, Italy, 1953.    

When director  Mario Soldati planned it as Uragano  d’estate, his  dream team was Marlon and Ingrid. And, of course, when Visconti  made his move on the project,  he also wanted Brando - the Italian maestro had already created the Kowalski look in the sweaty-macho-in-a- vest-shape of Massimo Girotti in Obssessione, in 1942,  five  years before Brando (or Tennessee Williams or Elia Kazan) copied it for A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway in December 1947.  Marlon tested - in close-ups, not costumes. Yet Italian maestro Luchino Visconti (a) hardly recognised him, “so short was he,” recalled scenarist Suso Cecchi d’Amico, and (b) he could not raise enough  backing  for... Brando and Ingrid Bergman! (Much less, Brando and Micheline Presle who became Granger and Alida Valli) ). Marlon was keen, not because of Ingrid being an ex-lover, but that his Paris lover was due to play his pal: French actor Christian Marquand. Visconti’s bravura ideas collapsed when Brando  learned the maestro  was also seeking.,.. Tab Hunter!  After  another row with Visconti, Granger flew home, and the maestro had to finish shooting with a double hiding his face.


16 - Laurence Harvey, Romeo  and Juliet, 1953.   Marlon and Pier Angeli - the lover of both Brando and James Dean. That was the 1952 MGM plan.  Until switching Marlon  to Julius Caesar.

17 - Edmund Purdom, The Egyptian, 1953. “They want me to play Cleopatra...” He soon objected (fiercely) to the director (Michael Curtiz), the script (Philip Dunne) and partner (Bella Darvi). She was head Fox Darryl Zanuck’s latest French mistress. So who was going to get the best close-ups!  “I’m going to find  a way out of this Egyptian pile of camel dung.” And he did. As soon as director Michael Curtiz raged over the top:  “I’m told you’re a tough pisser to work with... Anytime  an actor gets out of line with me... I have this bull whip... and   zing it across their buttocks.” Fox  borrowed Purdom from MGM after checking out Dirk Bogarde, John Cassevetes, Montgomery Clift,  Richard Conte, James Dean, John Derek, Farley Granger, Rock Hudson, John Lund, Guy Madison, Hugh O’Brian, Michael Pate. Zanuck later admitted “even ten Brandos couldn’t have  saved this turkey.” He still  sued for $2m until Brando “threw him a bone” - agreeing to be  Napoleon in Desirée. He called her Daisy-Rae and got  “as many laughs out of the part as I could.”

18 - Glenn Ford, Human Desire, 1953.   Austrian director Fritz Lang hated the title.  "What other kind of desire is there?" Brando hated everything else. “I cannot believe that the man who gave us the über dark Mabuse, the pathetic child murderer in M and the futuristic look at society, Metropolis, would stoop to hustling such crap.”

19 - Humphrey Bogart, The Barefoot Contessa, 1954.   Writer-director Joseph  Mankiewicz started castng his “Cinderella myth of movie stardom” while shooting Julius Caesar, 1953. He won Edmond O’Brien for the publicist Oscar Muldoon (and Oscar won him an Oscar!), but Marlon would have none of the film-maker Harry Dawes. “I’m not making pictures about movie  stars this year. I’m not even into even being a movie star, myself.” Joe nabbed him for his next one: Guys and Dolls, 1955.


20 - James Dean, East of Eden, 1954

Part of his 1947 test was unearthed in 2006. “Cast who you like,” Jack Warner had told Elia Kazan. Obviously, he  thought of Brando (not keen on the script) and Clift and was unimpressed with Dean - until meeting him. “We tried to talk, but conversation was not his gift, so we sat looking at each other... This kid actually was  Cal.”   Al Pacino  said  James Dean was a sonnet - Brando, a planet unto himself.  “He needed to explore his gift, and to fail with it... I’ve always felt that Marlon, genius that he is, was uncomfortable later on being an actor. But [he] set the stage for all of us today.”


21  - John Wayne, The Conqueror, 1954.    Oscar Millard wrote Genghis Khan for Brando and it would  have killed him... Shooting the rotten movie in Utah’s Snow Canyon downwind from “safe” testing grounds of 11 A-bombs in in Nevada’s Yucca Flats. and upon  sand imported from there for studio use,  caused fatal cancers for 91 of  the 220 cast and crew - including   Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz (a  suicide  on hearing he was terminal), Thomas Gomez, Susan Hayward, John Hoyt, Agnes Moorehead and director Dick Powell.  Wayne chose to  play  Genghis Khan (!), because he saw it as a Chinese Western.  His biographer Scott Eyman called it the biggest Ed Wood movie.  Feeling “as guilty as hell”  about the cancers, RKO Radio Pictures chief Howard Hughes ultimately locked away what many called an RKO Radioactive picture.

22 - Rod Steiger, Oklahoma! 1954.    From the outset, director Fred Zinnemann wanted actors rather than singers. Montgomery Clift,  James Dean or Paul Newman as Curly… Ailene Roberts, Eva Marie Saint, Joanne Woodward for Laurey…   and Brando, Steiger, Lee Marvin or Eli Wallach for p’or Jud Fry - “a bullet-coloured, growly man,” as Curly called him. However, the musical’s parents had casting approval -  Rodgers and Hammerstein, agreed only about Steiger.  Zinnemann had directed Brando’s film debut, The Men, 1949, and could not persuade him to be Jud instead  of joining Guys and Dolls! PS: Oklahoma was shot in... Arizona. No friend or admirer of Brando, Steiger replaced him  again - ten years later in Doctor Zhivago,1965.

23 - Richard Burton, Prince of Players, 1954.    He invariably rejected real-life characters. Here, it was Edwin Booth, actor brother of President Abraham Lincoln’s killer, John Wilkes Booth. Brando wanted a study of Edwin’s tragic life (a career ruined  by the assassination), not clips of classical plays. “When Fox couldn’t get a top-rate actor like Olivier or me, they settled for... a third-rate performer with even worse skin.” Another day, another feud…  Burton loved the Moss Hart script. ”But a year later when I actually did it had been murdered by Zanuck and his hacks. Some of it was salvageable, however, which accounts for what little success we had.” His diary notes also added:  “I was outrageously pretty in those days and much prefer my present hard and ravaged countenance."

24 - Stewart Granger, Moonfleet, 1954.    Whether Fritz Lang  wanted him or not, MGM suggested Brando as Jeremy Fox – who was not in the actual novel by J Meade Falkner.  Granger, largely responsible for the film being made,  was upset that (a) the film barely followed the   book and (b) it was not shot in Cornwell. (The actual setting was Dorset!).


25 - Henry Fonda, Mister Roberts, 1954.   

 “I don’t think there’s anybody better,” said Fonda of Brando, “when he wants to be good.”  Fonda had been pushed into  theatre by Brando’s mother, Dodie, after flunking Minnesota U and she acted  with him once in 1927 at the Omaha  Playhouse. (They were also, briefly, lovers). This was (a) the first time the two guys  were up for the same role (Brando signed for it when Fonda was deemed too old) and (b) the first time a director (John Ford) positively refused Marlon.  Fonda had played  Doug Roberts 1,600 times on Broadway. (“He owned it,” said William Holden, passing on the film before Brando). John Ford only  agreed to direct if the studio OK’d Fonda who, like Ford, had served in the US Navy during WWII, not to mention six other Ford films. But Ford was drinking way  too much. Some called him eratic. More like paralytic. He even punched Fonda in the mouth at one point, ending their 16-year span of making films  together. Ford was fired and the Broadway show’s director, Joshua Logan, finished the shoot. They both disowned the movie. Fonda despised it.


26 - Farley Granger, Senso, 1954.     Luchino Visconti’s dream team was Brando and Ingrid Bergman. “The Americans wouldn’t have him,” recalled scenarist Suso Cecchi d’Amico,  “as he wasn’t famous yet. They were pushing Farley Granger.” Marlon was keen, not because of Bergman being an ex-lover, but that his Paris lover was due to play his pal: French actor Christian Marquand. Visconti’s bravura ideas collapsed when Brando  learned the maestro  was also chasing... Tab Hunter!

27 - Ernest Borgnine, Marty, 1954.  United Artists wanted the box-office clout of Brando. Burt Lancaster as producing, however, and wanted his From Here To Eternity co-star, the ugly, doltish butcher - first played by Rod Seiger on TV. Result: the first  Best Picture Oscarr for a film produced by an actor - and the  Best Actor trophy for Ernie… who carried on working up to his death after his  206th screen  role in 2012.  His secret, said Ernie, was… masturbation!

28 - Burt Lancaster, The Rose Tattoo, 1954.     Tennessee Williams adored Anna Magnani and wrote this 1951 play for her - but stage acting in English scared her. She  persuaded  Williams to beef up  the Alvaro Mangiacavallo role to win Brando for the film. He was full of respect, not lust.  “Why doesn’t she shave?”

29 - Erno Crisa, L’Amant de lady Chatterley/Lady Chatterley’s Lover, France, 1955.  Realisateur Marc Allegret got his asisstant Roger Vadim (one of Marlon’s Paris lovers) to call him in Rome...  And Brando’s holiday lover,  the  pretty, Alain Delonesque Guido Arnella - handed on by Tennessee Williams - offered his services. MORE HERE???

30 - William Holden, Picnic, 1955.    He found it too close to A Streetcar Named Desire.  No, really.


31 - James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause, 1955. 

Or, Title Without A Story.  Or, first half of a title… Producer Jerry Wald had several scripts of Dr Robert M Lindner’s thesis on juvenile delinquency: Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath.   In 1946, Warners wanted  Brando (or Sidney Lumet!) for one by Theodore Geisel (future kids’ book author Dr Seuss). Brando tested opposite Ruth Ford (Orson Welles’ God-daughter, Mrs. Peter Van Eyck at the time, and later, Mrs Zachary Scott).  Warners then bought Blind Run by Nicholas Ray (the Knock On Any Door director) as long as he used Lindner’s title.  The 1949 plan  fell apart and by ’55 Marlon  was no juvenile. Jimmy Dean was only able to make it because Liz Taylor’s pregnancy delayed the start of Giant...  Anyway, Brando had been there in The Wild One. (“What are you rebelling against?” “Whaddyer  got?”)  Dean became a close collaborator with Nicholas Ray, “practically  a co-director,” said Jim Backus who played his emasculated father.  After completing his third breakthrough  film. Giant, Dean died in a car crash on   September 30, 1955. Rebel opened  October 27, 1955.

Marlon in Rebel Without a Cause
Brando’s five-minute test was more of him and the ( very early) script than the role.         [© Warner Bros,  1947]. 


32 - James Dean, Giant, 1955.

33 - Henry Fonda, War and Peace, 1955.    Just like 1955, Brando was offered everything, right or wrong.   He’d just finished being Napoleon opposite Desirée and was not into in another costumer.   Or, at least, certainly not with Audrey Hepburn… So Pierre went to Hank.  Much too old and he knew it,  but as he said, he money was great!

34 - Cornel Wilde, Hot Blood, 1955.    Director Nicholas Ray tried a third  time...  with this gyspy drama. But no deal for what was then No Return. Stanley Kowalski said it had too much sex and violence! He loved meeting his probable leading lady. Ava Gardner. They dropped Ray and disappeared into the night together. (Second title for The Wild One in 1953, had been Hot Blood).

35 - Kirk Douglas, Lust For Life, 1955.  Brando’s first film-maker, Fred Zinnemann (The Men, 1950) talked to him for three years about a Van Gogh biopic -  “I can’t envision anybody else.”   Warners planned it (of course) for the biopic king Paul Muni,  John Garfield chased it, dying before MGM and Vincente Minnelli took it over.  Douglas also subbed for another reunion of Marlon and an important director (Elia Kazan) in The Arrangement, 1969.   

36 - Frank Sinatra, The Man With the Golden Arm, 1955.    A bum decision - and Sinatra set out to prove what he had told director Elia Kazan on their waterfront. “Your darling little mumbler is the most over-rated actor in the world.”  Their fight started after the death of John Garfield, the first to buy rights to Nelson Algren’s drug drama novel. Producer-director-ogre Otto Preminger then battled the Production Code (which banned drugs on  screen) - for Brando, Montgomery Clift, William Holden or Sinatra. Marlon's agent was slow in passing him the script, Sinatra read quicker - most of it - and snapped it up. For $100,000 and 12.4% of any profits.

37 - Mike Lane, The Harder They Fall, 1955.    Budd Schulberg’s expose of the boxing racket was scheduled for 1950 as Brando’s second film - as the exploited fighter Toro Moreno.  With the emphasis switched to his sports writer, it became Humphrey Bogart’s last film.  Also considered with Brando: John Garfield whose   rejection of  Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway made Marlon a star – in December 1947. Brando’s sixth film had been another Budd Schulberg story: On The Waterfront, 1954.

38 - Yul Brynner, The King and I, 1955.    Hollywood hated going with the Broadway star. After a brief Brando thought, Fox stayed with the one, the only King Mongkut of Siam.  Brando and Brynner were allegedly lovers during the making of Morituri, 1965.

39 - Cliff Robertson, Autumn Leaves, 1956.    Even though she said he “looks like he changes his undwear about every two weeks,” Joan Crawford tries again... And  put Marlon atop her shit list (“replacing Bette Davis”!) for refusing her offer with a curt message via his agent.  “I’m not interested in doing any mother-son films at the present  time.”  Game, set and match!


40 - Don Murray, Bus Stop, 1956. 

Yet again Monty Clift  and Marilyn  were nearly a duo.    But that (sadly) didn’t happen until The Misfits, 1960, when Monty was in far from great shape.  They had “this same self-destructive temperament,” said their co-star Eli Wallach. “They were at a loss; they couldn't cope. It's easy to poke fun at those people - big stars - but it’s very sad.”  Elvis Presley was first choice for the dumbcluck cowpoke, Beauregard Decker - aka Bo - taking Marilyn Monroe’s Cherie away from all this bar singing stuff.  Elvis & Marilyn – what a wet-dream combo! Except  “Colonel” Tom Parker didn’t want nobody takin’ the shine off his boy!   Despite (or because of) Marilyn being all Stanislavskjy at the time, Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift weren’t interested. Marilyn only ever wanted Rock Hudson, more into sob schlock opposite Jane Wyman,  Fess Parker, aka Davy Crockett, led three tele-cowpokes also being seen: the others were John Smith, from Laramie, and the lanky Rowdy Yates on Rawhide, a certain Clint Eastwood. Murray (the first star I interviewed at  the first of my 26 Cannes festivals in 1961) won an Oscar nomination for his debut  and wed his other co-star, Hope Lange.


41 - Frank Sinatra, The Pride and the Passion, 1956.  Bogart and Brando refused to be Cary Grant’s sidekick, Miguel.  What did they know?  Frank Sinatra found out – and walked off the “underwhelming” epic when he’d had enough…. (He had also won  Ava Gardner back in his arms. She had been up for the ,leading lady, won by Sophia Loren. Ava visited the Spanish shoot and made up with Old Blue Eyes after their latest tiff). "Hot or cold,” he told director Stanley Kramer, “Thursday I'm leaving the movie. So get a lawyer and sue me." Co-star Cary Grant was staggered by such unprofessionalism. Just as the Italian Sinatra was shocked that Loren preferred Grant to the Italian him. Certainly, Cary preferred her to Sinatra!

42 - Martin Gabel, The James Dean Story, 1956.    The director’s first choice for the narrator...  Well, Robert Altman aimed high. Right from his beginning. The Rebel Without A Cause  scenarist Stewart Stern also wanted him.  “I’ll only do it if it’s for free,” said Brando. “But nobody else can take any money either.” Stern said sorry, that’s not how it’s going to be. Brando added: “You need a young voice, It’s a young subject.”  OK, Dennis Hopper, said Stern. But Warner Bros, still ruling Dean beyond the grave,  preferred Gabel’s deep, booming voice.  “I said it would ruin the film… and it did.  You might as well have Rabbi Magnin!  I had no power. Whatever was pretentious about my script, the narration only added to it.” A great disappointment for Stern. “Jim’s death was a terrible personal loss to me. I felt it as I had felt no other death in my life. I almost can’t explain why becuse it was such a short relationship... But he was an absolutely unique human being.  Astonishing… given the background he had. You could not account for it anymore than… for the genius of Mozart as a child.”

43 - Robert Mitchum, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, 1956.    Better! Although Gable also fled again.  Mitchum (first choice to replace Brando in Streetcar on Broadway - forbidden  by Howard Hughes) based Allison on his long-serving, Brooklyn stand-in, Tim Wallace.

44 - Andy Griffith, A Face in the Crowd, 1956.    Amazing that Brando would reject this one from his One the Watefront creators. When Donald Trump became the 45th US President, many said if the story was filmed no one  would believe it.  It had been filmed - Elia Kazan directing Budd Schulberg’s trenchant script about, well, demagoguery. Although the impeccable Andy Grtiffith as “Lonesome” Rhodes is more of a lying Fox News pundit than a US President,  he is 100% Trumpian in his rants. “I’m an influence, a wielder of opinions, a force!  My flock of sheep, rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, housefraus, shutins, pea-pickers, everybody that’s got to jump when somebody else blows the whistle - they’re even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for ’em…” . If Rhodes was a prophecy of the news faker to come, maybe the New York Times’ Bosley Crowther’s  warning will also come true - about the danger of  not truly opposing “his monstrous momentum.”

45 - Alan Ladd, Boy On A Dolphin, 1956.      Preposterous! Gable and Mitchum agreed. Cary Grant had  o quit on the  fourth day, when his wife, Betsy Drake, was among the survivors of the SS Andrea Doria sinking, off Nantucket on July 25, 1956. 

46 - John Rait, The Pajama Game, 1956.   Frederick Brisson, Robert E Griffith and Hal Prince bought the 7 Cents novel for a stage musical  about a strike at a  pajama factory. (Honest). And immediately started courting Grant, Marlon Brando, Bing Crosby (too expensive), Van Johnson, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra   - surely one would agree to Broadway and Hollywood!  No? OK, they’ll discover a new star. And did. Except Rait was wrong!  Pity. He looked good, sang good but acted like  human  parquet.

47 - Red Buttons, Sayonara, 1957.     Josh Logan finally got him - but not for the stronger, supporting (and suicidal) role. Marlon preferred the priggish USAF major.  Buttons, approved by the star, got the Oscar.

48 - Elvis Presley, King Creole, 1957. Before Elvis there was… everybody!  John Cassavetes, Tony Curtis, James Dean, Ben Gazzara. Imagine Presley’s rapture at winning a role once aimed at his idols: Marlon  Brando and James Dean! Better yet, Brando visited him, on the set. Newman passed as the tale (when still about a boxer) was much the same as the biopic of boxer Rocky Graziano, Somebody Up There Likes Me, that Jimmy was preparing for and that Newman inherited after Dean’s shock death.  Elvis Presley never let his idols down. This is, arguably  his best movie.   (Well, it was not helmed by Norman Taurog).   Elvis was “the surprise of the day,” noted the LA Times, “with good comic timing, considerable intelligence and even flashes of sensitivity.” Sadly, never again. After this, the US Army cut his hair and, apparently, his balls. 

49 - Rick Jason, The Wayward Bus, 1957.   When Marilyn Monroe, so  cruelly scorned by her studio, astounded us in Bus Stop, Fox dusted down John Steinbeck’s busload of Chaucerian passengers to do the same for Jayne Mansfield. (Hah!).  The main couple of the bus driver and his alcoholic wife, Alice (running a pitstop diner) went from the unlikely Franco-British Charles Boyer-Gertrude Lawrence to Marlon Brando-Jennifer Jones to Robert Mitchum-Susan Hayward to Richard Widmark-Gene Tierney to, finally, Rick Jason-Joan Collins.  Incidentally, Marilyn’s bus driver, Robert Bray, turned up here as a chopper pilot hovering around Collins. (He then blew his career by refusing South Pacific).

50 – Victor Mature, The Long Haul, 1957.   Brando and Robert Mitchum passed, so this became the fourth of six films Mature made for Warwick, co-run in London by Irving Allen and a certain Cubby Broccoli. They made a habit of wooing Hollywood talent to prop up their exotic adventures and thrillers: Anita Ekberg, Rhonda Fleming (no kin to Ian), Rita Hayworth, Alan Ladd, Jack Lemmon, Ray Milland, Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, etc.   Cubby got Mitchum later that year for Fire Down Below.


51 - Tyrone Power, The Sun Also Rises, 1957.    After the Hays Office censors stopped Fox filming the hedonistic Hemingway book in 1933, Ann Harding picked up the rights and planed to produce a 1935 version and, of course, play Lady Brett Ashley.  Allegedly, Howard Hawks also considered Harding for Brett  in the  late 40s. By 1953, it was Brando (or Clift) and Gene Tierney as Jake and Brett.  It took Fox a quarter-century to finally make the film and even then, producer  Darryl F Zanuck had to promise not to  use the word impotent - he did, anyway! 


52 - Frank Sinatra,  Pal Joey, 1957.

Opposite Mae West!  Billy Wilder directing!  That was Horrible Harry Cohn’s Columbia plan. “A sorta Diamond Lil meets Stanley Kowalksi drama,” Mae called it. According to director Joseph Mankiewicz, Marlon flirted with the project simply to meet Mae - and find out if she was a guy in drag. He wasn’t disappointed. She went through a monologue of Mae-isms and took him to bed under a mirrored ceiling.  “I like to see how I’m doin’.”


53 - Yul Brynner, The Brothers Karamazov, 1957.    The jokers sniped, but Marilyn Monroe got everyone interested (they even read or scanned the book because of her).  MGM's Dore Schary tried to set it up with Dimitri Brando and Grushenka Monroe. If only...

54 - Gene Kelly, Marjorie Morningstar, 1957.   Warners bought Herman Wouk’s book for Brando and Liz Taylor in 1956 - when  Natalie Wood was glued into  teen pap with Tab Hunter and  made it another of her passion-projects... even with a hopelessly miscast Kelly.

55 - John Wayne, The Barbarian and The Geisha, 1957.  Ole Duke was somewhat lost in a John Huston film ear-marked for Marlon -  as the first US Consul-General in Japan and  having an affair with a geisha of 17. As massive an error as Duke’s Genghis Khan  (no, really!) in The Conqueror in 1955 but he hoped for a good partnership  with Huston.  Never happened.  Showing Duke who was boss, Huston started an affair with Wayne’s leading lady, Eiko Ando. And, oh, everything  went downhiill from there. 

56 - Aldo Ray, The Naked and the Dead, 1957.    All set as Charles  Laughton’s second directing gig except the flop of his now-classic  Night of the Hunter put him off helming for life. Hunter’s producer Paul Gregory secured Raoul Walsh in his place – and wanted Brando, Montgomery Clift or Anthony Perkins as Lieutenant Robert Hearn. The novel was based on the young Norman Mailer’s ‘frigging” WWII experiences as a sergeant in the South Pacific.  Hearn or Aldo Ray’s Sergeant Croft were not based by Mailer, himself.  He maintained the character closest to him was Roth played by future Sinatra Clan comic Joey Bishop.

57 - Tony Curtis, The Defiant Ones, 1957.     Stanley Kramer could think only of Brando and Sidney Poitier as the two escaped convicts, chained together.  “You wouldn’t need a script,” he said. “Just turn on the cameras and let things happen.” However, while Brando liked the integration message, he didn’t like the way Kramer had produced their film, The Wild One.  Billy Wilder said:  Brando wanted to play the black convict, Mitchum would refuse to be in any film “with a nigger” and Kirk Douglas wanted both roles…  In fact, Douglas,  Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn  and Frank Sinatra all refused to co-star with Sidney Poitier.  So much for liberal Hollywood.

58 - Charlton Heston, Ben-Hur, 1958.   
His ’56 Marc Antony showed how superb he could have been. Instead, moaned  scenarist Gore Vidal, “we got  Heston - solid balsa wood.” word and sandal epics were in.  And producer Sam Zimbalist, who’d made one of the biggest – Quo Vadis, 1950 -  was back in Rome in charge  of the better (well, William Wyler was directing) re-make of the 1923 silent Ben-Hur, racing chariots and all. (Sergio Leone claimed he directed the stunning chariot race. He did not). Sam even considered retaining his Vadis trio: Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Stewart Granger. Friendly rivals Marlon Brando and Paul Newman were up for the titular Judah; still smarting from his 1954 debut, The Silver Chalice, Newman hated ancient Rome costumes, or cocktail dresses as he termed them. Director William Wyler (part of the original’s 1924 crew)  also studied Richard Burton from The Robe (a film, not a cocktail dress), Montgomery Clift, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson (furious with Universal refusing to loan him out), Van Johnson (no, really!),  Burt Lancaster (an atheist with no interest in Christianity commercials, although he had earlier tried to mount his  own version),  true Brit Edmond Purdom… plus Italians, known and unknown: Vittorio Gassman  and Cesare Danova.  MGM voted Heston, C B De Mille’s Moses in The Ten Commandments, 1954. According to “contributing writer” Gore Vidal, Willie Wyler called Heston wooden. Brando, for one, would not disagree. And yet Judah Ben-Heston  won his Oscar on April 4 1960.

59 - Frank Sinatra, Some Came Running, 1958.  Sinatra’s last real acting job, probably because he got it away from Brando.  Pity because it was first (of many scripts) aimed at Marlon  and Marilyn! As Dave and Ginnie. No way, said Sinatra. .  The film  stemmed from the book  by James Jones. He also wrote From Here to Eternity and the movie version saved Sinatra’s career from a 1953 toilet. o Frank was going to make this one, too.

60 - James Stewart, The Mountain Road, 1959.  Plan  A was  Marlon Brando as Major Baldwin opposite Robert Mitchum’s Sergeant Mike Michaelson in an unique WWII story.  Well, it was set in East Chjna, 1944. Plan B was the only war film James Stewart agreed to make as he considered such endeavours were rarely realistic.  And this one was clearly anti-war.  Shot in Arizona, including  on the roads to…  Stewart Mountain.  

61 - Anthony Quinn, The Guns of Navarone, 1960.   Writer-producer Carl Foreman was the scenarist of Brando’s screen debut, The Men, 1950. Apparently that didnlt count anymore. He  aimed high for his Allied saboteurs in WWII Greece - starting with Brando and Cary Grant!  Then again, Foreman said Quinn had been his only choice for Colonel Stravros.  As often usual in a Foreman s scenario there were characters named Baker, Barnsby, Grogan and Weaver. I’ve always wondered if these were the names he refused to name during his Hollywood blacklist interrogations .

62 - Ralph Bellamy, Sunrise at Campobello, 1960.  They had been hot lovers during Julius Caesar, 1953 - signing hotel registers, Lord and Lady Greystoke! Then, silence. Until Greer Garson called Marlon seven years later about being FDR to her Eleanor Roosevelt. No, he said, no  more wheelchairs for him after The Men.   He also felt they’d be laughed off the screen. He was too young; she too hetero Republican for such “a lesbian Democrat“ as Eleanor. (Bellamy, the Broadway production’s Tony Award winner for his FDR, played the 32nd POTUS again in The Winds of War, 1983, and its 1988-1989 sequel War and Remembrance.

63 - Dirk Bogarde, The Singer Not the Song, 1960.  UK director Ken Annakin (yes, that’s where the Star Wars name came from) immediately thought of Marlon as the Anacleto Comach. However, Annakin’s  Elephant Gun, 1957,  shot the budget and schedule to bits and. The Rank Organisation gave the movie to  Roy Ward Baker, who booked  Bogarde, Rank’s contracted star.  . Or he did so after Brando and a shocked Charlton Heston refused. Nor even Marlon at his worst could have matchedBogarde camping around Spain as Anacleto in  black leather from head to toe - and whip - looking, noted The Times, “like a latterday Queen Kelly.”  In a Christmas panto!

64 - Richard Burton, Cleopatra, 1960.

65 - Elvis Presley, Flaming Star, 1960.    Bitter foes Brando and Sinatra as half-breedbrothers!! That was back when the Western was called Flaming LanceFlaming HeartThe Brothers of Broken LanceBlack Star, Black Heart, yada, yada, and Nunnally Johnson was directing.  Michael Curtiz took over when  the bros became  Elvis Presley and Steve Forrest. “Certainly, Presley’s no Brando,” agreed producer David Weisbart.  “On the other hand,  Brando’s no Presley.”  Although hushed up by his manager, Colonel Parker, Elvis was proud of his own Cherokee roots from his maternal great-great-great grandmother Morning Dove White – and shared them with his GI Blues character.

66 - Glenn Ford, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, 1960.   Not sure which would have been the most absurd casting for Julio Desnoyers – Dirk Bogarde, Montgomery Clift or Glenn Ford.  They were all too old – 49, 40 and 44 - when Julio’s sister  was Yvette Mimieux at… 18.  MGM then looked at the pretty boys - Alain Delon, 25, and the German Delon, Horst Buchholz, 27, and George Hamilton, 21.   Brando, 36, also refused:  "Didn't Valentino do that? I don't dance the tango." Well, not until Bertolucci called him…

67 - Paul Newman, Paris Blues, 1960.   Not even Brando’s company, Pennebaker, could pull off the dream teaming of Marlon and Marilyn Monroe.   They both lost interest in the jazz tale. Or in each other? Brando asked the Newmans - Paul and his wife, Joanne Woodward - to fill in.  Woodward hadn’t been keen on maybe co-starring with Brando again after the tense teaming in The Fugitive Kind during the summer of ’59.   And Pennebaker  never made, as planned, To Tame A Land, Man on Spikes, Hang Me High, The Spellbinder (set for  Errol Flynn), Tiger On A Kite.

68 - James Mason, Lolita, 1960. 

69 - Maximilian Schell, Judgment At Nuremberg, 1961.  For once Marlon was extremely keen on a role –German lawyer Hans Rolfe, trying to defend German judges for knowingly sending innocents to certain death in the Nazi concentration camps.  However, producer-director Stanley Kramer and scenarist Abby Mann  didn’t need him. They’d already assembled Montgomery Clift, Marlene Dietrich, Burt Lancaster (replacing first choice Laurence Olivier), Spencer Tracy and Richard Widmark. Plus they were smitten with Schell, the Austrian actor who played  Rolfe in Mann’s 1959 TVersion. "We've got to watch out for that young man,” Tracy told Widmark. ”He's very good. He's going to walk away with the Oscar for this picture."  And he djd. (Brando and Schell were Nazi officers in The Young Lions, 1958. which also featured Clift).

70 - Peter O’Toole,  Lawrence of Arabia, 1961.


71 - Nehemiah Persoff, The Comancheros, 1961.   The Pennebaker project started at as Ride Comancheros, with the boss as an Indian  chief called Graile and drifted off to John Wayne subbing for a dying Michael Curtiz, refusing to have him (or his credit dropped.  (He did the same for an ailing  George Sherman during  Big Jake, 1971). Brando treated his directors like enemies and humiliated most of them, Chaplin and Coppola included - with the exception of Bryan Singer on Superman Returns, 2005. 

72 - Paul Newman, Sweet Bird of Youth, 1961.    As one ex-lover - Geraldine Page - was recreating her Broadway role of fading star Alexandra Del Lago,  Brando  talked with another former lover - playwright Tennessee Williams - about playing  the hustler Chance Wayne.  For once, MGM insisted on the Broadway stars:  Newman, Page and her future  husband Rip Torn. (Their post-box was labelled: Torn/Page).   Brando was sure that Alexandra was based on yet another of his  old lovers, Tallulah Bankhead (who called him a “pig-ignorant slob”). Marlon had the last word:  “I know more about hustlng than Newman. Besides, I hear my prick is bigger than his.”

73 - Burt Lancaster, Il gattopardo (The Leopard), Italy-France, 1962.  First choice of Italian maestro Luchino Visconti for Prince Don Fabrizio Salina. (He’d try again in the 70s for the unmade A la recherche du temps perdu). Next: Laurence Olivier or Russia’s Ivan The Terrible: Nikolai Cherkasov. Fox insisted on a Hollywoodian. “You can have Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Spencer Tracy. Or even Burt Lancastr.  “Oh, no!” squealed Visconti. “A cowboy!' And treated him badly until Burt exploded on the set and impressed the Italian with his passion.  They later made Gruppo di famiglia in un interno (Conversation Piece), 1974. “Each time I was playing Visconti,” said the cowboy.

74 - Robert Mitchum, Man in the Middle (aka The Winston Affair), 1963.  Mr Mumbles’ copmpany Pennebaker Films, boibht the Hopward (Spartacus) Fast novel for the boss.  But he passed Keenan Wynn’s WWII trial’s defence attorney to Mitchum… who had never looked so bored in all his career.  Or, as the New York Times critic Bosley Crowther noted: “sleep-walking, grumbling and looking tough, and he stays more or less in that mood all the way through the film.”

75 - Paul Newman, What a Way to Go!, 1963.  A certain Louisa May Foster takes her shrink through her five late husbands – every one a laugh. (If only). Prepared for Marilyn Monroe before her tragic death, I Love Louisa was given to Elizabeth Taylor with Marilyn’s Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Marcello Mastroianni, David Niven. Finally, Shirley MacLaine wed Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Dick Van Dyke… but not Frank Sinatra who wanted   $500,000 or no show.  Oh and Dean Martin as a department store mogul called Lennie Crawley, no less. This is where I usually say: And you can never go wrong with a Crawley. Not this (terrible) time!  Steve McQueen and Charlton Heston were up for Hubby #2, Paul Newman’s  American in Paris artist. Sounded like a reprise for Gene Kelly. Except he was Hubby #4, described as a song and dance man about to break into Hollywood - what at age 51! Yes, the movie was that bad.  “An abomination,” said The New Leader critic John Simon.

76  - Richard Burton, The Night of the Iguana, 1963.
Nipping in quick, producer Ray Stark paid $500,000  for the new Tennessee Williams play – before it opened as his last  Broadway hut in 1961.  The main character is the Reverend T Lawrence Shannon, reduced to  being a Mexico tour guide after bejng defrocked for calling God a juvenile delinquent. So who should be Shannon: Stanley Kowalski or Brick Pollit? Aka Marlon Brando from A Streetcar Named Desire or Paul Newman from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  (He’d also been another Williams sad-sack in Sweet Bird of Youth).  Also up for the Rev were, Richard Harris, William Holden, Burt Lancaster (too close to his Oscar-winning Elmer Gantry, 1959) and, surprisingly, James Garner  - “Just too Tennessee Williams for me!” there was more tenson off-screen as among those putting Puerto Vallarta on the tourist map, were…  Elizabeth Taylor living with Burton, whose agent was her first ex-husband, Michael Wilding. Plus Ava Gardner’s old, “platonic bedmate,” Peter Viertel, was also around as he was now wed to co-star Deborah Kerr! To help avoid friction, John Huston gifted each star with a gold-plated pistol, complete with bullets engraved with the names of the other stars, so the right bullet could be used (or, aimed, at least!) on the right target!  It worked well. Nary a discouraging word.  Except from the critics.  

77 - Sean Connery, Marnie, 1963.  Brando topped Alfred Hitchcock’s list for  Mark Rutland. Well, obviously…  Or, he did  until Cubby Broccoli  showed Hitch and his scenarist, Jay Presson Allen, a few glimpses of his charismatic 007  in Dr No.  And,  although, Sean didn’t match their “American aristocrat hero” at hero at all, the role was his.

78 - Paul Newman, The Outrage, 1963.  “It’s not right for me,” said Paul Newman (very true) on the movie   of Fay and Michael Kanin’s stage version of Kurosawa’s classic 1953 film, Rashomon.  “Maybe Brando would be interested in it.”  But once Brando loved the script, Newman said he’d do it after all!  Prothetic nose, included. Two fresh plastic noses were reportedly shipped in from Culver City to Tuscon every day during thj shoot.  Result: Total disaster.   He was a character actor.  Not just yet.

79 -  Rod Steiger, Doctor Zhivago, 1964.   After Lawrence of Arabia, director David Lean tried again. Brando did not even reply to Lean’s letter. So James Mason was  Viktor Komarovsky - until  Steiger played it.  For a year!  And he was surrounded by many  great British actors. "All I wanted to do was not embarrass myself."

80 - Michael Parks, Wild Seed (UK: Farago), 1964.  Brando bought the Les Pine script in 1957. By the time his company got around to making it, as the  final Pennebaker movie, he was too old at 40.  (And looking older.) Parks was the latest “new Brando” from Bus Riley’s Back in Town, his co-star Celia Milius  was the second wife of writer-director John Milius, and their producer Albert S Ruddy, soon better known for a litt


81 - George Segal, King Rat, 1964.   Blacklisted Hollywood writer Carl Foreman (High Noon) decided to film James Cavell’s tough book about his three years as a WWII prisoner of the Japanese. With the finest UK actors:  new guys Albert Finney, Peter O’Toole, veterans Trevor Howard, John Mills.  He then felt he had no more to say about war after The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Guns of Navarone and The Victors. UK writer-director Bryan Forbes made it his Hollywood debut, bravely side-stepping Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra for the Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf find, George Segal – as the titular wheeler-dealer-fixer-conniver who all but ends up running the jungle camp. ”

83 - Rod Steiger, Doctor Zhivago, 1964.  Kirk Douglas chased after the Russian novel winning the1958 Nobel Prize for Literature. However, Rome producer Carlo Ponti secured the rights to Boris Pasternak’s book.   Ponti signed David Lean and they started casting the support role of Viktor Komarovsky. Lean and always wanted Brando for his Lawrence of Arabia, Ryan’s Daughter and his never-made Nostromo  and waited a full month  but Brando, with his customary  politeness,  never bothered to reply.  Lean wrote to James Mason - elated by the possibilities of the role but not  by the idea of spending a full  year on it... as Steiger eventually did.    

84 - James Fox, The Chase, 1965.   Brando’s On the Waterfront producer Sam Spiegel bought this vehicle for him. The project was delayed for so long that Marlon switched from young Jake Rogers to the older Sheriff Calder. So he lost a possible Jake-lover from the real US and copy UK Marilyn (Diana Dors), Faye Dunaway or Kim Novak…  but gained Angie Dickinson as the lawman’s missus!  He was paid $750,000.  Plus plus $130,000 for his Pennebaker company and… a role for his older sister, Jocelyn.

85 - Robert Redford, The Chase, 1965.    In his 50s, held also been up for Bubber Reeves, the hunted escaped con… now hunted by Sheriff Brando! Who was, almost naturally,  badly beaten up, of course.  And worse than  On The Waterfront or Two Eyed Jacks. And he hated the mess.  Even more so than director Arthur Penn "I enjoy a kind of amnesia about that ”one."  Let me remind you, Arthur…  Totally overblown. Like Brando.

86  - Ettore Manni, Mademoiselle, UK-France, 1965.    Shooting Jean Genet’s script was “an absolutely magical experience” for Tony Richardson. “The only thing you could say against it was that the casting wasn’t perfect.  It was going to be Brando...  It would have been the Last Tango  of its time, if we’d had Marlon.”


87 - Oskar Werner, Fahrenheit 451, 1966.  

Who should the nouvelle vague icon  François Truffaut choose to be Ray Bradbury’s fireman, Montag? Charles Aznavour star of his second feature, Tirez sur le pianiste (Shoot the Pianist) or Oskar Werner, a new global star due to Truffaut’s Jules et Jim He also contacted Warren Beatty, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marlon Brando, Montgomey Clift, Paul Newman, Peter O’Toole - and even signed Terence Stamp, before making the mistake of his life and giving the fireman to Werner, originally booked as Montag’s boss. Any of the others asleep would have better. As if Truffauit did not have enough to contend with – his first film in colour and in English - he found Werner had turned prima donna, his head enlarged by his Hollywood debut, Ship of Fools. He was jealous that Julie Christie had a double role and he did not, he argued constantly over (his dull) interpretation, refused one “dangerous” scene  (as if a fireman would not have to deal with fire),  even deliberately cut his  hair to ruin continuity. If Truffaut  hadn’t spent  six years planning the film, he would have walked. Ran!  Instead, he simply truncated Werner’s later scenes - and  used a double, John Ketteringham,  in most of them!


88 - Peter O’Toole, The Night of the Generals, France-UK, 1966.  “Must be seen to be disbelieved,” declared  Andrew Sarris in  The Village Voice.  The WWII  II whounnit  fell at the first fence - as if Nazis  would bother investigating Warsaw  and Paris sex-crimes by a “general.” (And such an obvious one). Producer Sam Spiegel rounded up a starry cast to bolster such silliness.  Like who had been the screen’s last effective blond Nazi... not that he’d agreed to play an evil Nazi. But Brando said he was too sensitive to portray evil. “Playing a Nazi as a villain and getting millions of audience boo me, is more than  I can take.”  He  only changed this attitude  when appearing as US Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell in Roots: The Next Generations, TV, 1979. Brando passed.  Peter O’Toole and  Omar Sharif weren’t keen but felt they owed him for  Lawrence of Arabia.  And anyway, David Lean had advised Sharif, after Lawrence,not to play another Arab in his English-speaking films. Gore Vidal was among the scenarists. Didn’t help. 

89 – Burt Reynolds, Navajo Joe, Italy-Spain, 1966.   Spurred on by Clint Eastwood’s success, , Rome producer Dino De Laurentiis decided to throw his stetson into the spaghetti -  with Brando as  Navajo Joe! Brando could not see it assisting any  Native American causes. Director Sergio Corbucci settled for Burt, the half-Indian blacksmith Quint in Gunsmoke. (Suddenly all Tellywood Westerns were screentests for Italian prairies).  Ironically Reynolds resembled  Brando at the time. Marlon hated the comparison – soon solved  by Burt’s tash.  Clint said Burt should give Italy a whirl. Reynolds and Corbucei didn’t get on. “He was the wrong Sergio.” As for their film, "so awful, it was shown only in prisons and airplanes because nobody could leave. I killed 10,000 guys, wore a Japanese slingshot and a fright wig." And composer Ennio Morricone was credited as Leo Nichols!  Tarantino loved it but Burt was better as Yaqui Joe in 100 Rifles, 1968.

90 - Richard Harris, Camelot, 1966.   Brando, Rock Hudson, Peter O’Toole and Gregory Peck were run up the Warner Bros flagpole when Richard Burton wanted too much money to reprise his Broadway and Tony-winning King Arthur. Harris paid for his own test – directed by Nicolas Roeg, no less! Burton wore the crown again in a 1980 tour until his health made him quit.  And Harris succeeded him again. He then paid $1m for the stage rights, revamped and extended the tour, making a considerable fortune.


91 - Peter Sellers, The  Bobo, 1966.  Staggering that the great Brando would even consider this pile of excrement.  But he did.  (And, of course, and you don’t have to remind me, he did make Candy, for heaven’s sake!).  Sellers took over (with his wife, Britt Ekland, as his sister(!) and attempted to deepsix and replace director Robert Parrish.  There was even talk  of a co-director credit.  But no, he didn’t wish to be so credited with such an obvious floperama.

92 - Jason Robards Jr, The St Valentine’s Day Massacre, 1967.  Producer-director Roger Corman chose Orson Welles for Al Capone. The Fox suits screamed. “Undirectable.“ OK then, Brando (not yet Don Corleone)? “Impossible.” Which is the how and why of Robards becoming the movies’ thinnest Capone. He was   previously booked for gangster "Bugs" Moran - with a  real name like George Clarence, he needed his tough-guy  nickname.    

93 - Terence Stamp, Histoires extraordinaires (UK: Tales of Mystery and Imagination; US: Spirits of the Dead), France-Italy, 1967. Italian director Federico Fellini was never really interested in joining French realisateurs Roger Vadim and Louis Malle in making some Edgar Allen Poe tales. Fellini finally  said he’d make  Never Bet The Devil Your Head - with Brando, Richard Burton, James Fox, Peter O’Toole, or Terry Stamp as Toby Dammit.

94 - Murray Hamilton, The Graduate, 1967.    

95 - Charlton Heston, Planet  of the Apes, 1967.

96 - Omar Sharif, Funny Girl, 1967.  The Jewish Barbra Streisand preferred an Arab screen lover (on and off-screen) to Cary Grant. And the others short-listed for her gambling man Nick Arnstein: Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra.  Plus three  TV stars, Robert Culp, James Garner, David Janssen, that she would have chewed up and spat out. She as an expert in cutting her co-stars’ roles to ribbons.  Asked whether she’d been difficult to work with, director William Wyler said:  "No, not too hard, considering it was the first movie she ever directed"!


97 - James Fox, Performance, 1968.  
The trailer proudly announced a film was about vice - and versa… When Brando  was in a Paris hospital (after scalding his family jewels with hot coffee), his French pal (and alleged lover) actor-director Christian Marquand visited and brought Donald Cammell with him. It was another decade before Cammell actually offered Brando the script. The Liars, later The Peformers  But Brando always avoided (a) better actors or (b) scene stealers.  And Mick Jagger was a definite (b) … As a reclusive rock idol messing with the head of the pyschotic hitman aimed at Brando.  “He  was always a bit of a fantasy,” admitted  producer Sandy Lieberson  (ex-agent of Sergio Leone, Peter Sellers, etc). “We were pretty sure James Fox could pull it off, having seen him in films like The Servant.”  Fox felt Cammell  “had  seen a side of me that said: ‘James is a raving nutcase, so let’s steer him in the direction of the East End and see what happens.’ And it worked.” Fox gave such a powerful performance – “no idea where it came from, don’t know anyone like him” –that he became a born-again Christian and never made another feature for 15 years…   And Jagger invented the light-saber… (Oh yes, he did).  Brando and Cammelll  fell out, until collaborating in 1978 on a script about a woman pirate  - it became their book, Fan-Tan, published in 2005,  when both men were dead. Cammell committed suicide after his fourth movie in 25 years,  Wild Side, was taken away from  him and  re-edited in 1995. He shot himself and, goes the legend,  asked his wife  for a mirror to watch himself die.


98 - Paul Newman,  Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, 1968.

99 - Kirk Douglas, The Arrangement, 1968.  “I'm not going to make this picture or any other without a cast of my own choosing,” Elia Kazan wrote Brando about his semi-autobiographical novel.  “I don’t want  Eddie plump… You  can be a blazing actor again.  The wanting is  the hard part.”  Brando offered to “take a stab at it” tand hen, split for Italy’s Queimada mish-mash - using as an excuse, Martin Luther King’s assassination: he  could not go ahead with the film in such circumstances. Kazan thought it was a con. And it was. Otherwise Kazan would recognise that he (also!)  was no longer what he had been. Project was iced until Kirk Douglas  George C Scott, Rod Steiger showed interest  - and Charlton Heston did not. (“I don’t  play losers!”)  After ten days, Kazan realised his "dreadful mistake... I wished I had Marlon, fat  as he was.” Reviews were wholly negative, agreeing that no one, certainly not Kazan, could make a decent movie out of his a melodramatic potboiler novel. “The best of it is too interesting,” said the LA Times, “and the worst of it is too atrociously bad.” Kazan vowed never to make another Hollywood film. And he didn’t until his sad/bad finale, The Last Tycoon, 1976

100   - Christopher Jones, Ryan’s Daughter, 1969.  
For scenarist Robert Bolt’s a new take on Flaubert’s Madame Bovary - made in Ireland plus a   stunning South African beach – David Lean wanted a Brando-cum-Dean quality for the wounded British WWI hero  Major Randolph Doryan.  Dean was dead. Brando still around. He accepted until delays on Burn! in Morocco.  In a flash, Ryan was ruined… Lean saw  Jones in  The Looking Glass War, 1968 – more (that is to say, less) Dean than Brando. A total disaster. He would later explain his monosyllabics by saying he was mourning a past lover, Sharon Tate. Full truth was no one in the British film industry had the manners to tell Lean that Jones had been dubbed in John Le Carré s tale – and would have to be (by Julian Holloway) in Bolt’s.  Sarah, Robert Mitchum and John Mills (winning an Oscar for his village idiot) were fine  (particularly Mitchum). The film was not.  Although not as bad as in Pauline Kael’s attack - "There is no artistic or moral rationale for this movie - only expediency ... The emptiness… shows in practically every frame." Lean was devastated and never made another film (A Passage to India) for 14 years!


101 - Richard Attenborough, A Severed Head, 1969.  Novelist Iris Murdoch’s game of musical beds among London’s bourgeoisie had a weak script killing an impressive cast.  (Brando had been invited to join). Ian Holm’s wine expert has a wife, Lee Remick, cheating with his best friend, Richard Attenborough’s shrink (already involved with Claire Bloom), plus a mistress (Jennie Linden)  being  stolen  by his brother Clive Revill. It just might have worked better with producer Elliot Kastner’s dream team (in above order): Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor (of  course), Marlon Brando (the psychologist was originally American),  Anouk Aimée, Julie Christie, Robert Shaw. (He also considered Laurence Harvey and Leslie Caron as the shrink and his friend’s wife).

102 - Chief Dan George, Little Big Man, 1969.  Despite walk-ons from General Custer and Wild Bill Hickok, the main characters in Thomas Berger’s novel (!) history of the West  were the on-screen narrator Jack Crabb (the world’s oldest man at 121)  and his mentor, the chief of the Cheyenne nation, Old Lodge Skins.  Known for his activism on behalf of native Americans on and off-screen, Marlon Brando was, perhaps, unsurprisingly offered the role. He passed.   Next? Richard Boone, even Paul Scofield.  They passed.  They all agreed with Berger’s opinion in his book that Caucasianswere rarely believable as native Americans. And then, well you can almost still hear some smart alec suit saying “What about the guy did Othello a few years back?” And sure enough Laurence Olivier was contacted! Words escaped him. Finally, Penn did the right thing and, superbly, native Canadian Chief Dan George – actor, musician, poet  and head of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver - won instant glory, plus the first Oscar nomination for his people.   The idea of Brando agreeing to the role begs the question: would he, like the Chief, have more or less repeated the role opposite Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales? Hmm, what a prospect.

103 - Topol, Fiddler on the Roof, 1970.    Oy vey! When word got out that  that producer Walter Mirisch and director Norman Jewison didn’t want   Broadway’s  Zero Mostel - “too big for film!” - Danny Kaye expressed great interest in  becoming Tevye. So did such possibles as Herschel Bernardi (once blacklisted like Mostel and his  successor in the Broadway show),  Walter Matthau, Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, Danny Thomas. Plus such downright impossibles as Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Orson Welles (no roof was strong enough) and… and    Frank Sinatra… If I Were A Rich Man Dooby Dooby Doo!  None got to first base once Chaim Topol ended  his run of the West End  production; he’d  lost the Broadway role when called up for Israeli army duty during and after the Six Day War. He was replaced by the excessively larger-than-life Mostel who remained  bitter .about losing the film.  So did his son. When offered the Delta House series in 1979, Josh Mostel rasped: ”Tell them to ask Topol’s son if he wants the job!"

104 - Tom Baker, Nicholas and Alexandra, 1970.  Rasputin! Yul Brynner was keen. Lawrence of Arabia, himself, Peter O’Toole, was not.  Anyway, the Lawrence  producer, Sam  Spiegel, only  had eyes for Brando as  Russia’s infamous “mad monk”.  And, oh boy, the dull film really needed some star power. Having lost $10m for Columbia on a four consecutive flops, small films all, it was time for Spiegel to go BIG again in the River Kwai/Lawrence of Arabia tradition. BIG, but CHEAP.  (So no Julie Christie, Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly, either!). Laurence Olivier, already booked for Count Witte, recommended Baker, part of his National Theatre troupe…. And the future fourth Doctor Who, 1974-1981.  No one gave a damn about “two silly people,” wrote Stanley Kaufman in The New Republic, “getting what, as justice goes in this world, they deserved.”

105 - Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry, 1971.

106 - Burt Reynolds, Deliverance, 1971.  The studio “had very little confidence in the material,” said UK director John Boorman. He wanted Brando and Lee Marvin as Lewis and Ed. “We’re too old,” said Lee. Jack Nicholson agreed to Ed, if Boorman could keep  Marlon  aboard.  Trouble was, Brando now despised acting, “nothing more than mimicry - a bunch of tricks.”  Even so, he agreed. “I”ll take whatever you pay Jack.”  And that added up got half the $2m budget! After musing on Henry Fonda, Charlton Heston, George C Scott and Donald Sutherland, the Warner suits told Boorman: “Make it with nobodies for no money.” Burt lost the Worst Supporting Actor Razzie award for (for Striptease) to Brando (for The Island of Dr Moreau). “As an actor,” said Burt, “ Brando’s a genius and even when he's dull he's still much better than most actors at the top of their form. But he has preserved the mentality of an adolescent. It's a pity.” When shooting wrapped, Burt had more truths for Boorman: “John, I was cast under false pretenses… I can’t act. I was just faking it.”  “That,” said the director, “just about sums him up.”

107 - Charlton Heston, Antony and Cleopatra, 1971.  Despite a few thought about havjng Orson Welles directing Marlon Brando in a reprise of his 1952 Mark Antony, Charlton Heston grabbed  both roles – he was one of the producers, after all….Nineteen years before,   thrilled by the Julius Caesar rushes,  MGM wanted Joseph  Mankiewicz to direct Brando as Marc Antony again with Cleopatra being... and here Joe almost disintegrated...  Ava Gardner! When she came to see him, Joe sent her off to Brando’s dressingroom. “Honeychild, I hear that I’m about to barge down the Nile as your Cleo...”  It was some time before she returned to Joe...  No deal. Marlon  would never play Antony  again.  And for all Joe’s scorn, Ava did play Cleo - Mankiewicz style,  in The Barefoot Contessa, 1954.  Nine  years later,  Joe re-wrote The Bard for Liz Taylor and  Richard Burton:  Cleopatra.108 - Stacy Keach, Fat City, 1971.    Loving his work in Reflections In A Golden Eye, Huston wanted Brando for his sad sack boxer. Brando wanted it.  His shape did not. Too long, 22 years, since he had Come Out Fighting in a TV play.

108 - Stacy Keach, Fat City, 1971.  Loving their  work in Reflections In A Golden Eye, Huston wanted Brando for his sad sack boxer. Brando wanted it.  His shape did not. Too long, 22 years, since he had Come Out Fighting in a TV play.  Huston (an ex-amateur pugilist) found the  relatively unknown Stacy Keach… who shared  the Best Actor award from the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards  in a tie with Brando’s Godfather.

109 -  Richard Burton, The Assassination of Trotsky, France-Italy-UK, 1971.   Due for an earlier project of Darling’s London producer Joseph Janni.


110 - Robert Preston, Child's Play, 1971.  

“There was no disagreement,” snapped Broadway’s David Merrick about his film debut.    “I simply threw Mr Brando out of my film. He wanted to make basic changes in the story and I couldn’t accept that.” Many felt, even with The Godfather under his belt, he was scared of working with such a definitive screen actor as James Mason, Brutus in Julius Caesar,  1953.  Since when, Mason felt Brando had “made such a balls-up for his career.”  Exactly like The  Arrangement, Brando ran to Euro-cover.  This time, for his last testament: Last Tango In Paris.


111 - Max von Sydow, The Exorcist, 1972.  

112 - James Coburn, Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid, 1972.

113 - Gene Hackman, The Conversation, 1972.  Francis Coppola sent it to  him as a horror  script - before they worked so triumphantly on The Godfather. On his Tahitian hideaway isle of Tetiaro, Brando would throw $3m offers into the wastebin. “I'm not going to do this kinda crap.”  Coppola instructed Hackman, fit and healthy, to grow a straggly moustache, sport  ill-fitting glasses and ruybbishy clothes to look more like a  nudnik.  

114 - Lee Marvin, The Iceman Cometh, 1973.  When Jason Robards was injured in a road crash, director John Frankenheimer had the choice of Brando, Hackman or Marvin for Eugene O’Neill’s Hickey. “Secretly, I really hoped to do it with Lee. He has that wonderful… tortured face. And he looked like a salesman. He told stories so well in life and he was such a good actor. I loved working with him…. He was perfect.” Even when he wasn’t required, Marvin was always on the set - “almost like an assistant director,” said Frankenheimer, “trying to quiet people down while I worked with other actors.” Including the last hurrahs of Fredric March and Robert Ryan.  Never better, any of them.

115 - Robert Redford, The Great Gatsby, 1973.  Miffed at selling his eventual  $11m Godfather cut for $100,000, he dropped his agent and (although 20 years and kilos more than Gatbsy) negotiated for “the moon and the stars,” according to producer Robert Evans.  “He wanted to get his [Godfather] points back, I said:  One picture had nothing to do with the other.”  The hunt turned to another actor who had already tried to get the rights for himself. Redford.  But his was the weaker Coppola script rather than that the “strong one” attracting Brando. Time magazine' critic  Jay Cocks decreed: "The film is faithful to the letter of F Scott Fitzgerald's novel but entirely misses its point." 

116 - Telly Savalas, Kojak, 1973-1978.    Brando expressed interest in NYPD Lieutenant Theo Kojak in the pilot: The Marcus-Nelson Murders. And CBS told him to get lost!  Having just lost the Harry O series to David Janssen, Savalas grabbed this show (which lasted longer!). He channeled Sinatra, but he was good..  For awhile, Until tyiring and spoofing the once hard-nosed  procedural by sucking lollipops and forever saying:  Who loves ya, baby.  (Why not: Hey now!).

117 - John Wayne, Rooster Cogburn, 1974.    John Wayne fretted that co-starring two wrinklies would kill the sequel to his Oscar-winning True Grit at the box-office. If they could work, at all…   Katharine Hepburn was a sometimes frail 67, but in far better shape than Duke – his cancer killed him within five years at 72. (Kate lived on to 96). Therefore, the one-eyed US Marshal Cogburn was also on offer (suitably or not) to Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Kirk Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, Steve McQueen, Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, George C Scott. Pus three of Kate’s previous co-stars- Charles Bronson, Burt Lancaster, Anthony Quinn, - as she continued picking up all the guys she hadn’t worked with before… Warren Beatty, Henry Fonda, Laurence Olivier, Ryan O’Neal, Peter O’Toole, Paul Scofield, even Henry Winkler from TV’s Happy Days  (!)…   McQueen also turned down Kate’s  Grace Quigley in 1983.   Kate wrote that embracing Duke “was like leaning against a great tree."

118 -   Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975. 

119 - Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver, 1975.

120 - Donald Sutherland, Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (Fellini’s Casanova), Italy-US, 1975.  When Fellini didn’t fancy anyone on his 1973 wish list (Brando, Newman, Pacino, Redford, etc), producer Dino De Laurentiis brusquely quit the project in high dudgeon. Or a passing cab… Fellini preferred Alberto Sordi, Gian Maria Volonte or the unknown cabaret performer Tom Deal. Ultimately, it was “Donaldino.” He had shared Paul Mazursky’s , Alex in Wonderland, 1970, with Fellini in Hollywood and they met  again on the set of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 in 1975. And Sutherland was Giacomo when the (ten month!) shooting finally began  on July 20 1975.


121 - Paul Newman, Buffalo Bill and the Indians Or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson, 1975.     Robert Altman, a revered rebel among US directors, talked to Marlon by phone “because of his interest  in the Indian thing.”  He then blew it by adding that he required a   major star "as stardom is part of the story."  Stardom and/or being a major star were not subjects Marlon had any time for. (Or so he said). In the credits,  William F "Buffalo Bill" Cody is listed in the credits as The Star;  others were called The Producer, The Publicist, The Wrangler,  The Indian, The Cowboy Trick Rider, etc.

122 -  Kris Kistofferson,  A Star Is Born1976.

123 - Gregory Peck, MacArthur, 1976.   "I shall return," said, famously, General Douglas MacArthur in WWII. ”I shall not,” said Cary Grant. Retired really meant retired. But nobody believed him! Also on Patton producer Frank McCarthy's (very) short list were Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, George C Scott.. and incredibly, both Grant and John Wayne up for the same role as….  Laurence Olivier!   At one point Universal announced Steven Spielberg as director of McCarthy’s final production. He’d run out of generals

124 - Richard Burton, Equus, 1976.   Director Sidney Lumet wanted Brando for Nicholson as the psychiatrist.  But Burton buried them by going back on Broadway  (taking over the role from Anthony Perkins) to prove he could still cut it. Still didn't net him an Oscar. Nothing ever did - from seven nominations.

125 - Clint Eastwood, The Gauntlet, 1977.  Hard to imagine even Brando coming close to Clint’s alcoholic cop - dispatched to Vegas to bring a hooker witness back to Phoenix. No way says the Mafia army… That was Plan A: Mumbles and Barbra Streisand. Plan B: Steve McQueen-Streisand. (They didn’t gell at all). Sam Peckinpah had Plans C an D:  Kris Kristofferson-Sondra Locke or his Convoy’s Kristofferson-Ali MacGraw (Mrs McQueen). Plan D: Clint-La Barb.  She’d brought him the script.  But she wanted songs. He bought her out for Plan E: Clint and his lady, Sondra Locke… in  the first cop art helmed by Clint. Classic Eastwood, said Roger Ebert. “Fast, furious, funny.” And 100% shoot-out preposterous!

126 - Frank Sinatra, The First Deadly Sin, 1980.
 Still Sinatra v Brando after all these decades…  Director Brian G Hutton replaced Roman Polanski, dropped by Columbia after his rape scandal.  Anyway, he was no pal of Sinatra’s since delaying the missus, Mia Farrow, on Rosemary’s Baby, Instead of joining hubby in The Detective. Now here he was, a police  detective again in the 65th (of 68) screen roles as Edward X Delaney -  created by novelist Lawrence Sanders in The Anderson Tapes, The First (Second/Third/Fourth) Deadly Sin. In  Sean Connery’s  Anderson, Delaney was played by Ralph Meeker. Bruce Willis made his screen debut with a hidden message: Man Entering Diner... as Sinatra  leaves.

127 - Ben Kingsley, Gandhi, 1980.   Scenarist Robert Bolt’s first choice.  “He might allow the part to eat  him,  instead  of him eating the part.”  Marlon just carried on eating.

128  - Alain Delon, Un Amour de Swann,  France-West Germany, 1983.    Italian  director Luchino Visconti's earlier idea for Marcel Proust’s gay Baron Charlus. As Karl Malden once said: “Marlon can make wrong choices, bad choices, but I think it’s impossible for him to be false.” Obviously, Malden had not been going to the movies.

129 - Richard Burton, 1984, 1984.    Shooting had begun, in the rush to release the film in The Year, without any State torturer O’Brien. Brando (a future Torquemada) was a predictable idea until Burton saw it as a serious comeback.  So serious, he took less money than John Hurt - and accepted second billing for the first time outside a film with Liz Taylor.  And he died a few weeks after shooting ended.

130 - James Garner, Murphy’s Romance, 1985.  Columbia Pictures wanted an A Player. Such as Brando (despite not having made a movie since 1980) or Paul Newman (who had!). But this was the debut production of Sally Fields’ Fogwood Films, with her Norma Raewriters and director. And Sally wanted Garner.  “There was resistance to him,” recalled director Martin Rit. .  “ A lot of exhibitors didn't want Jim. But this part is for him. Jim is Murphy Jones. I've won 90% of those arguments. If I feel a person's going to be good, hell and high water will not get me off it. "  And, said Sally, Jim was the best screen kisser she ever locked lips with  – and won his sole Oscar nomination.

131 - James Woods, Salvador, 1985.    Or South of the Border, when Brando was Oliver Stone’s first choice for photo-journalist Richard Boyle. Martin Sheen, Brando’s Apocalypse Now co-star, then got the part… - until Woods, already booked as Dr Rock, Boyle’s dee-jay pal, won it. .Because, as Chicago critic Roger Ebert pointed out, Boyle  was a role Jimmy was born to play.” With his glibness, his wary eyes and the endless cigarettes [and] the cynicism of a journalist who has traveled so far, seen so much and used so many chemicals that every story is just a new version of how everybody gets screwed.”  And so began the endless Woods-Stone love affair: Nixon, Any Given Sunday, Indictment The McMartin Trial and Killer: A Journal of Murder.


132 - Sean Connery, Der Name der Rose/The Name of the Rose, France-Italy-West Germany, 1985.  
Réalisateur Jean-Jacques Annaud was not keen on 007 as Umberto Eco’s medieval monk turned detective.  Columbia Pictures even refused financing if Connery was involved as his post-Bond star was imploding. Naturally, Brando topped Annaud’s further 14 ideas. Five Americans: Robert De Niro, Frederic Forrest, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Roy Scheider;  four  Brits: Michael Caine, Albert Finney, Ian McKellen, Terence Stamp; plus Canadians Christopher Plummer and Donald Sutherland, French Yves Montand, Irish Richard Harris and Italian Vittorio Gassman. Connery’s reading was the best and his career exploded anew. Two years later, he won his support Oscar for The Untouchables.

133 - Robert De Niro, Angel Heart, 1986.    UK director Alan Parker wrote the Devil for Marlon - “at the most static possible” - and waited for him during eight months’ preparation. Brando was too obese and just not into filming.   Parker asked  De Niro to play Harry Angel, described by Chicago  critic Roger Ebert as “an unwashed private eye who works out of an office that looks like Sam Spade gave it to the Goodwill.” (Parker also considered Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino).  De Niro, it seemed, wanted to dress up for once – as he accepted instead the elegant villain Louis Cyphre  (say it), basing his look on his director pal,  Martin Scorsese.

134 - Scott Glenn, Man On  Fire, 1986.  Tony Scott backed out of directing the first version in 1986, but helped Denzel Washington retrieve his lost taste for acting in the 2004  re-make.  Sergio Leone had chosen  Robert De Niro  and Marlon Brando nearly played A J Quinnell’s ex-CIA hero turned mercenary (certainly helped re-write  him) but Scott Glenn won the  role. Tony Scott had wanted Robert Duvall.

135 - Joss Ackland, The Sicilian, 1986.  Been there, done that, got the Coppola Zoetrope tee-shirt…  Director Michael Cimino's backers reportedly offered Brando $5m for three weeks work in Sicily on the Mario Puzo book.  But The Godfather stayed out of the Mafia until joyously sending  it up  in  The Freshman, 1989.   Michael Corleone is in Mario Puzo’s Godpop  “sequel”.  He is not in the movie as Paramount held rights to the characterFDilm  proved a catastrophe - mainly due to the absurd choice  of the recent French  Tarzan, Christophe Lambert, “an actor,” said The Hollywood Reporter, “who is utterly devoid of nuance and charisma.”

136 - Peter O'Toole, The Last Emperor, 1986.     Inevitably. The Last Tango-maker Bernardo  Bertolucci thought to bolster a star-less venture. He did not need to. It won nine Oscars.  None for acting.  Other candidates for the child emperor’s tutor,  Reginald Johnson, were Sean Connery and William Hurt.

137 - Robert Loggia, Oliver & Company, 1986.  "Oliver Twist with dogs" is how Disney labelled the toon. More like Oliver Twist AS dogs…  Brando wasn’t keen when asked to voice Sykes by the actual Disney  boss Michael Eisner – because Marlon saw it as an instant flop.  And he’d had enough of those.   In the 2009 release, The Princess and the Frog, Disney named an alligator Marlon in honour of Brando and New Orleans, the setting of the toon and Streetcar Named Desire,1950. There was, no kidding,  even a dog named… Stellllllasaaaahhhh.

138 - Burgess Meredith, King Lear, 1986.  
Brando will be Lear, boasted Menahem Golan, chutzpah-in-chief of the Cannon Group, after signing his contract with the bilious realisateur Jean-Luc Godard on a napkin at the Majestic Hotel bar during the 1985 Cannes festival. “It will be the finest role  of his  career,” said Golan. Brando  passed; he’d made enough rotten movies.  The modern-day Lear -  a New York Mafia chief Don Learo, more like  a Lear Jet given Brando’s size -  was then offered to the  main scripter, Norman Mailer. “Perfect  - he has five daughters!” (No, he had five children, one daughter - “well, sign her up, too!”). Next ideas? Dustin Hoffman, director Joseph Losey, Lee Marvin and, naturally, Orson Welles. Before it fell to Rod Steiger, swiftly replaced by grizzly Buzz Meredith. Godard had forgotten the perfect American choice.  Robert Mitchum.  PS Quentin Tarantino named his company after Godard’s  Bande a part. When he was starting outas an actor, QT’s CV claimed  he’d  appeared in this film, as he felt  nobody would have seen it and know that he was lying.


139 - Robert De Niro, The Untouchables, 1986.    Refused  $5m for two weeks’  work as Al Capone during early casting. Bob Hoskins was all set and handsomely paid off when De Niro became available.

140 - Jeff Bridges, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, 1987.  Of  the 51 Tucker Torpedo sedan cars  that were made,  Francis Coppola and George Lucas have two each.  Now they have a film.  The cars lasted longer… Despite their Gatsby battle,  director Francis Coppola  still wanted  Brando as  the maverick car maker.  Brando said no. And yes to, Apocalypse Now.   Coppola first envisaged his tribute to Preston Tucker  (1903-1956) as a muslcal with a score by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green!  Coming aboard as exec producer, Lucas changed all that and “Francey” also  talked to Jack Nicholson and Burt Reynolds (both  too old) before choosing Jeff Bridges to immortalise the auto entrepreneur.


141 - Robin Williams, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 1987.   German producer Thomas Scuhly offered him the King of the Moon cameo in the Terry Gilliam mess.   Like so many others, Scuhly came away inspired to produce Brando’s long gestating Cheyenne movie: Brando directing, David Mamet writing, Italian tele-tycoon Silvio Berlusconi paying.  Fellow Pytrhon Michael Palin also passed and Gilliam was saved by a generous, glorious and  and anonymous ad-lib feas from Robin  - credited as Ray D Tutto. That, said Gilliam, was Team Williams   saying: “We don’t want you pimping his ass.” 

142 - Oliver Reed, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 1987.  Without getting into any Cheyenne chat, Terry Gilliam offered him Vulcan.  Olly Reed had once been hailed as a British Brando. Just… Not…  Lately.

143 - Jack Warden, The Presido, 1987.   Murder at San Francisco’s  Presidio Army Base.  Sean Connery and Mark Harmon were the cops – Army and upstart civvy, Brando turned down a third banana  role of Sergeant Major Maclure. Not that he could have saved what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called “a clone, of a film assembled out of spare parts from… the cinematic junkyard.”

144 - Armin Mueller-Stahl, Music Box, 1989.   “It’s a problem of focus,” explained Costa-Gavras following a meet with the legend on his island.  “Brando focusses on other things... than this script.” Impresed by the German actor in Missing, 1981, Paris réalisateur Costa-Gavras chose Mueller-Stahl  over Brando, Kirk Douglas and Walter Matthau for Jessica Lange’s father on trial in Chicago for Nazi war crimes - the later fate of the scriptwriter Joe Eszterhas’ father. And the third time the writer used the same premise of a woman disbelieving that  her lover or father is guilty of horrendous crimes  - after Jagged Edge, 1985, and Betrayed, 1987. 

145 - Maury Chaykin, Dances with Wolves, 1989.    While prepping his directing debut, Kevin Costner mused over Brando for the mentally ill Major Frambrough.  Some years later, in one of those awful I-know-the-face-but… moments, my wife and I ran into Chaykin at the  Cannes festival and I had to ask, with a laugh:  “But who the hell are you?”  He laughed right back. “Well, you might recall a little movie called Dances With Wolves.”  “Sure - the film that never knew  when it was over.  And, of course - you were crazy Framborough.  Brilliant!”

146  - Richard Harris, The Field, 1989.  
Both Brando and Sean Connery said: Thank you very much but I’m not Irish. And so the My Left Footdirector, Jim Sheridan gave the bountiful role of Bull McCabe, an Irish farmer trying to buy the land he had tended all his life, to Buncrana’s Ray McAnally… who promptly died. Limerick’s  magnificently bearded Richard Harris came a-calling– “as mad as a brush,” said Sheridan. “Brando’s make-up man actually called me on Marlon’s behalf,” said Harris, “and asked who these Irish people were.  I told him they were a bunch of layabouts who couldn’t be trusted.  I did everything in my power to stop them getting someone else for the part.”  Pity. S  Harris played Bull as in a china shop, way over the top. ‘Twas, after all, a role to win a nomination but never the Oscar.


147 - Kevin Costner, JFK, 1991.

148 - Donald Sutherland, JFK, 1991.


149 - Gérard Depardieu, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, 1991.    Brando was the only  choice of the extraordinary French director Abel  Gance for his epic plans in 1980. “Right now the cinema is dead. Columbus will bring it back to life,” said Gance at 90. Not so.

150 - George Corraface, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, 1991.   Brando’s name helped provide funds for  the second of the two 500th  anniversary films. Too old for Chris, he played the one Spaniard who never actually met Columbus - Torquemada. Francis Coppol1a,, Roland Joffe and Oliver Stone were all approached to direct beforeSir Ridley Scott quit  the above version.
151 – Danny Vito, Batman Returns, 1991.

152 -  Fred Thompson, Thunderheart, 1991. 
UK director Michael Apted’s first thriller was inspired by 57 unsolved murders on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the 1970s as The Traditionals fought Tribal government goons… making Pine Ridge (pop: 1100) the Murder Capitol of the Nation. The only clichéin sight is the usual pairing of old cop-young cop (or FBI agents here), the rest was the usual Apted brilliance.  He shuffled eleven choices for the older agent, Frank “Cooch” Coutelle: Brian Cox, Robert De Niro, Scott Glenn, Dennis Hopper, Tommy Lee Jones (also up, at 45,  for the younger Ray Levoi), Harvey Keitel, Stephen Lang, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Ron Perlman.  So where was Marlon Brando?  “He’s gone on record so many times about the current state of the Indians, I almost expected him to ring me,” Apted told me in Deauville, France.  “I asked him to play the head of the FBI - just one day’s work in Washington.  I thought it might appeal to him - as a cause.”  It did not

153 -  Tom Berenger, At Play  in  the Fields of the  Lord, 1991.  MGM snapped up Peter Matthiessen’s novel for Brando. John Huston and Milos Forman wanted to -  direct; David Lean and Arthur Penn did not. Paul Newman was keen on subbing Brando as the sky jockey hero, Lewis Moon - helped by his writer pal Stewart Stern and  director Richard Brooks.  Next, old schoolers Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck and newer guys Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, Patrick Swayze tried to Moon it. Hector Babenco preferred Berenger for what Washington Post critic Desson Howe called artistic zilch: “three  hours of lush jungle cinematography, picturesque natives and crackpot missionaries losing their minds.”

154 - Gérard Depardieu, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, 1991.    Brando was the only  choice of the extraordinary French director Abel  Gance for his epic plans in 1980. “Right now the cinema is dead. Columbus will bring it back to life,” said Gance at 90. Not so.

155 - Richard Attenborough, Jurassic Park, 1992.

155 - Al Pacino, Carlito’s Way, 1993.    His producer pal, Elliot Kastner  dreamed of re-teaming Godfathers Brando and Pacino - and sued Pacino for $6m when he pulled out in the 80s, losing Kastner “a uniquely and extremely valuable opportunity to produce a film starring Brando.”  Four years later, Pacino paid up -by taking Brando’s role opposite Sean Penn.

156 - Malcolm McDowell, Star Trek: Generations, 1994.  

157 - Al Pacino, City Hall, 1994.    Paul Schrader’s plan for the Nick Pileggi script was to unite Broadway’s old and new Stanley Kowalskis:  Brando and Alec Baldwin.

158 - Olivier Martinez, Le hussard sur le toit, France, 1995.   Set for the young hussar hero of the Jean Giono classic in Provence, circa 1840, when his Paris lover, actor Christian Marquand, was due to direct in the 50s.

159 - Salvatore Bassile, Nostromo, TV, 1996. 
Director David Lean’s choice for General Montero before the 1980s’ adaptation was aborted because producer Steven Spielberg could not  follow who was where (and why) in Christopher Hampton’s script - and wanted “more movie in the film” but no squabbling with his idol. Everyone quit and the lofty plans were reduced to  a TV mini.


160 - David Huddleston, The Big Lebowski, 1997.  In his making-of book, ex-Coen Brothers assistant Alex Belth said the titular casting of the fat, wheelchair-bound Pasadena tycoon (Jeff Bridges was the son, remember) was among the final decisions made before shooting. The Coens aimed high - Brando! - then chewed through Ernest Borgnine, Robert Duvall (seduced the script),  Andy Griffith (great idea!), Gene Hackman (on a break), Anthony Hopkins (not keen on playing Americans), author Norman Mailer, George C Scott, the longtime right v left political adversaries William F Buckley and Gore Vidal… And even the arch conservative Bible thumping televangelist Jerry Falwell!

161 - Benicio Del Toro, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 1997.   Twenty years  earlier the idea had been Brando as Dr Gonzo and Nicholson as Hunter S Thompson - later played  by Johnny  Depp. "I tell you what," said Depp, "I'd have watched that movie. I'd still be watching it. Nonstop. God, that would have been amazing!" He was forgetting their lamentable  Missouri Breaks, 1976. About as rotten as this Hunter S Thompson take. Brando once  asked Johnny how many movies did he made in a year?  “Last year, I think I did three.” Said Brando:  “Don’t do too many... because we only have so many faces in our pockets.”

162 - John Gielgud, Elizabeth, 1997.  For his first English-language film, Pakistani actor--director  Shekhar Kapur had lofty ideas. Such as wanting Marlon, himself, for The Pope in the revisionist view of England’s first Queen Elizabeth, The nearest he go to Brando was his 1952 co-star in Julius Caesar. It proved to be Sir John’s final film and thus, his third and last screen pope after The Shoes of the Fisherman, 1968, and The Scarlet and the Black, 1982.

163 - Robert Duvall, A Civil Action, 1997.  Searching for a better  epitaph than The Island of Dr Moreau, “Marlon Bran Flakes,” as he often called himself on the phone, investigated and passed on the true  courtroom drama.  The legend said auteur Steve Zaillian wanted Duvall, and no one else, as Jerome Facher. Except the rôle was, of course,  offered to Brando - and indeed, Paul Newman.  The real Facher was thrilled by Duvall’s version of him in the drama,  based on a true court case about the pollution  deaths of 12 childen from leukemia. Chicago  critic Roger Ebert nailed it as ”John Grisham for adults… The law is about who wins, not about who should win.” Sole surprise was the lightweight John Travolta appearing for the kids’ families. perceiving that the Grace legal strategy is unpromising.

164 - Jason Robards, Magnolia, 1999.   The dream-wish (of course) of auteur Paul Thomas Anderson for Tom Cruise’s dying father,  “Big Earl“ Partridge, in in his film that is remarkable on every level, from script to actors to a sudden  rainstorm of frogs… “Startling, innovative, hugely funny and powerfully, courageously moving,” said Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers. No wonder Ingmar Bergman loved it!

165 - James Cromwell,  RKO 281, TV, 1999,.    Set for  William Randolph Hearst in Ridley Scott’s version of the making of Citizen Kane before the Scott Free combine cut its pricey  cloth to suit an HBO budget.    Brando was offered Hearst again in....

166 -  Edward Herrmann, The Cat’s Miaow, 2000.   “Marlo,” another name, used in  phone  calls, had the size but no desire to be William Randolph Hearst in Peter Bogdanovich’s look at the 1924 Hollywood murder on  Hearst’s yacht. “Marlon didn’t want to go up against Orson Welles”  - even though Bogdanovich said that Citizen Kane was never based on Hearst but  upon “Colonel” McCormick, who ran the Chicago Tribune and built the Chicago Opera House for his girlfriend... a singer who could’t sing. “What would have happened if Marlon  had said Yes? I don’t know – maybe we’d never have finished it.”  Or maybe some people may have  seen it!


167 - James Woods, Scary Movie 2,  2001.  

But for pneumonia, the final film image of the world’s greatest anarchic actor - the Miles Davis of acting - would have been of Brando straining on a toilet... like Elvis. That would have been like watching Rocky Marciano KO Joe Louis on 6 October, 1951.  Pitiful. For $2m, he agreed  to send up the very Exorcist that he had refused in 1973.  “Brando was ill, he had an oxygen mask,” said the send-up’s star, Shawn Wayans. “We didn’t want to be responsible for killing the Godfather,” added  brother Marlon.  Ironically, Woods took over - forgetting, perhaps, how he had lambasted Brando  during our interview  in Cannes  for takng a role unworthy of  him: Superman’s daddy in 1978.  “Something wrong about it. The greatest screen actor in the history of cinema perhaps - running around with white hair and all that bit.” Yeah,  like Woods exorcising diarrhoeic demons from his bowels.


168 - Alfred Molina, Frida,  2001.   “I would,” said Madonna, “do a re-make of yesterday’s  garbage with Marlon Brando.”  He was  her only choice for fat Diego Rivera in her plans to film the life of  Mexican painter  Frida Kahlo - before Salma  Hayek beat her to it.  To the life, not the co-star.

169 - Christopher Walken, Man on Fire, 2003. Not interested in becoming Paul Rayburn or anyone  else inany new take on his  new take on his 1986 pass… By now Brando  hated acting; it came, so easy, he found it fraudulent  - He was not interested in films,  using his resevoirs of pain  just hurt too much. Enter: Walken, who had first been booked for Samuel Ramos' lawyer, Jordan Kaufus – taken over, in turn, by Rourke. The new scriptwriter, Brian Helgeland, recalled going into the LA Video Archives store  in the 80s and asking the clerk: “What’s good?” The clerk said:  Man on Fire. The clerk was Quentin Tarantino... 

170 - Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild, 2006.  When first keen on adapting-director  Jon Krakauer’s novel, Sean Pen wanted Leonardo DiCaprio as Christopher McCandless on a Kerouac road and Brando  as his  most touching contact, who sees him as a wayward grandson.

171 - Garrett Hedlund, On The Road, Argentina-Brazil-Canada-France-Germany-Holland-Mexico-UK-US. 2010.  Numerous attempts were made at filming Jack Kerouac’s 1957 “Beat Generation” classic. He even mused on playing himself (or his aka Sal Paradise) in 1957 opposite Marlon Brando as Neal Cassady (aka Dean Moriarty). Marlon never replied to his invite, probably thinking it was a fake. 1979: Francis Coppola  bought the rights, Coppola tried to write a script but “never knew how to do it." 1995:  Francey planned a 16mm black-white version with “beat” poet Allen Ginsberg. (Johnny Depp declined in the 90s). 2005: Joel Schumacher helming Billy Crudup-Colin Farrell…or Brad Pitt-Ethan Hawke. Finally, Coppola & Son (Roman) and 26 other producers (!) had Brazilian Walter Salles directing English Sam Riley, Australian Garrett Hedlund - and Kristen Stewart  as Mary Lou, once offered to Lindsay Lohan and Winona Ryder. Salles also checked Joseph Gordon-Levitt-James Franco. 


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