THIS WEEK'S ISSUE
Thank you, Nolan, for sharing your holiday trip with us. One day I'll take the same journey with you. And thank you Andy, and the others who have written me, for your prayers and thoughts for my son, Phillip. He is doing well and back to his old self.
THE GREATEST EVER
Terry Malloy. Stanley Kowalski. Sky Masterson. Fletcher Christian. Don Vito Corleone.
These are some of the greatest characters ever portrayed on film. And they were all portrayed by, arguably, the greatest and most influential actor of all time. Marlon Brando. Sadly, Brando passed away this past Thursday due to complications with lung disease. He was 80. Born in Omaha on April 3, 1924, Brando was raised by an alcoholic father and over protective mother. His mother was an acting teacher who included among her students a young Henry Fonda. Moving to New York to ply his mothers' teachings, Brando roomed for some time with Wally Cox. His first stage triumph was as Stanley in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Crowds flocked to see the most talked about actor on Broadway. Brando made his film debut in "The Men," playing a wheelchair bound soldier. True to his "method" training, Brando spent weeks studying real soldiers in a military hospital. He appeared in the film version of "Streetcar," then followed it with the role of Johnny in "The Wild One." It is as Johnny that Brando appears on the Beatles "Sgt Pepper" album cover. Ironically, the gang headed by Lee Marvin in the film is called the Beetles. In 1954, Brando gave what is often considered as the greatest performance in film as Terry Malloy in "On the Waterfront." For his performance he received the first of two Oscars as Best Actor. He built a career with roles in films like "Sayanora," "Guys and Dolls" and "One Eyed Jacks,' which he also directed. He was nominated by the Director's Guild of America for his work on that film. After a stretch of forgettable roles in the 1960s, he rose back to the top of his craft when he was cast in the title role of "The Godfather." Though he won his second Academy Award for the film, Brando refused the award, having a spokesperson claim it was due to the portrayal of the American Indian in films. He followed that moment with a role in "Last Tango In Paris." He won an Emmy for a rare television appearance in "ROOTS: the Next Generation." He also gained notoriety when he was paid $4 million for about 15 mins of work in "Superman the Movie." His last great performance was as Colonel Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now." His last film role was opposite another great actor, Robert DeNiro, in "The Score." He earned 8 Oscar nominations in his career and a slew of world wide accolades. Though he had many fine imitators (DeNiro, Duvall, Penn) he was truly an original.
Please keep a good thought for David Bowie, who is recovering from heart surgery he underwent on June 25th.
"Star Trek" Chief Engineer Mr. Scott, Jimmy Doohan, is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease according to his wife, Wende. Doohan, 84, also suffers from diabetes and Parkinson's disease. He is still on schedule to get his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next month.
NOW THE SONG MAKES SENSE
Congratulations to Ringo Starr, who recently turned 64.
Add Colin Hanks (Tom's son) and Kyle Chandler to the cast of Peter Jackson's "King Kong."
Speaking of Jackson, rumor is that New Line will release extended versions of all three "Lord of the Rings" films in theatres in October to coincide with their release on DVD.
SCREEN TO STAGE
David Hyde Pierce, Tim Curry and Hank Azaria have been chosen to headline the Monty Python musical, "SPAMALOT,' which will be directed by Mike Nichols. A musical retelling of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail,' the show is written by Python alum Eric Idle.
Knowing when to strike while the iron is hot, plans have been announced for "Spider-man the Musical." The show will be written by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) and directed by Broadway vet Julie Traynor. Talks are going on to have the songs written by U2's Bono and The Edge.
MEET THE BEATLES - PART 24
July 8 - 11, 1968. While at Abbey Road studios, the Beatles record a high and low point musically. The high point - the "B" side version of "Revolution." Low - the lyrically challenged "Ob-La-Di-, Ob-La-Da." Thankfully, life goes on..................Bra!
Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!
"Mike's Rant" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.