Despite being one of the most written-about actors in American film history, a certain mystique continues to surround Marlon Brando. The Hollywood Icon rose to fame in the 1950s and would go on to establish himself as one of the most important method actors working in America. In this footage, we’re granted access to the On The Waterfront actor’s home in the Hollywood Hills.
By 1955, Brando had already appeared in some of his most iconic roles. In 1953, he starred in The Wild Ones, riding his very own Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle. Then, a year later, he earned critical acclaim for his role in On The Waterfront. After gaining a reputation as a serious actor, he decided to throw the critics off the scent and take on the role of Sky Masterson in the musical Guys and Dolls.
This footage was taken while Brando was living in Los Angeles for the making of Guys and Dolls. During the interview, in which Brando communicates with the host via a satellite link from outside his home, he takes us on a tour around the luxurious abode. Though the interview is filmed in black and white at nightfall, it’s possible to make out the incredible views Brando’s lofty home afforded: “It’s really quite lovely at night,” he begins, guiding the cameramen to the promontory. “I’m up in the hills you see, way above the city, and I have a good vantage point up here and its awfully nice to come out here in the evenings, to have dinner at this little nook here, especially on warm nights when the desert wind comes up from the hills.”
Walking up a curved flight of white steps, Brando enters the house itself, where he begins by showing off the Academy Award he received just the night before for his role in On The Waterfront. He then makes his way down into a grand living room with tall ceilings, where he sits down to discuss his ambitions as an actor: “Last year I sort of regarded acting as a means of making a living and not much more. I’ve taken a pretty active interest in it and, since I don’t do anything else well and up ’till this time haven’t decided what else I would like to do, I might as well put all my energies into being as good an actor as I can.”
Brando then introduces his father, who has been hiding out in a back room while the interview has been taking place. The stern Mr Brando describes the “trouble” his son gave him as a parent, making Marlon squirm with embarrassment. Make sure you check out the full interview if you haven’t already. It’s well worth your time. Oh, and look out for some fabulous footage of Brando playing the bongos around eleven minutes in.