Reluctant heroes!!!Reluctant heroes!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Today’s mental workout for superhero Tuesdays is another step down memory lane, we honor the charismatic movie stars of yesteryear. In keeping with the age old tradition, we shall begin with the men, Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart take center stage. Next time we shall spotlight the great actresses starting with Catherine Hepburn and Ava Gardner. Brando and Bogart would top most best ever lists and why not, they both had distinct qualities that set them apart in a crowded field. The 20th century brought the world of acting to people’s living rooms, even though the best scripts are arguably found in real life, however we can’t help but appreciate the entertainment value actors and actresses bring to our sometimes mundane world. Indeed where would we be in this world without ability to dream about life through the eyes of the movie stars. For 2500 years theatre was reserved for the aristocratic classes, thanks to the cinema we all can join in the fun. Brando and Bogart are interesting characters indeed, both legendary figures on the stage, but didn’t want the superstar baggage that came with fame. The paradox of life, people want to be movie stars, movie stars want to have quiet, normal lives.

Marlon Brando took the acting world by storm. His animal instincts to bring life to a character were better than a blood hound. He introduced ‘method acting’ to the masses. His performances in ‘Streetcar’ and ‘on the waterfront’ are some of the most powerful ever on camera. Brando had a sixth sense, he had the uncanny ability to internalize the conflict of the role and bring psychological depth to the character. At the end of the day, the actor must sell to the public, his role must be believable. Brando’s charisma is captivating, he was considered the most influential among his peers. Unlike many movie stars, he didn’t seek public attention and hence drew widespread criticism from the media. His range of roles is unparalleled in cinematic history from Julius Caesar, Guys and Dolls to the 'Last Tango', Brando innovated acting and deserves his place among the best ever.

Humphrey Bogart, the man who gave up Ingrid Bergman in the most famous movie line of all. Bogart personifies urban, you get the sense that Bogart could play your life story better than you can. An actor’s actor, he was without doubt the best of his generation. Bogart could push buttons of emotions you never knew you had. Who can forget the versatility and depth of the role of Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure of Sierra Madre! Bogart is of course known for his tough guy, cynical roles of the reluctant hero, however the stage was his first love, he already had put in accomplished performances in New York. At first not many were sold on him as a Hollywood leading man, but he sure proved them wrong. It’s hard to imagine the likes of Maltese Falcon, High Sierra, The Big Sleep, Key Largo and African Queen with any other actors. These roles just work with Bogart, he brought substance and that all-important quintessential element that no acting coach in the world can teach. You either have it or you don’t and Bogart had plenty of it. Bogart did it his way and for that he’ll always have a special place in our hearts.