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Description - Somebody by Stefan Kanfer

Marlon Brando will never cease to fascinate us: for his triumphs as an actor ("On the Waterfront", "The Godfather", "Last Tango in Paris"), as well as his disasters; for the power of the screen portrayals he gave, and for his turbulent, tumultuous personal life. Seamlessly intertwining the man and the work, Kanfer takes us through Brando's troubled childhood, to his arrival in New York in the 1940s, where he studied with the legendary Stella Adler, and at the age of twenty-three became the toast of Broadway in "A Streetcar Named Desire".Kanfer expertly examines each of Brando's films - from "The Men in 1950" to "The Score in 2001" - making clear the evolution of Brando's singular genius, while also shedding light on the cultural evolution of Hollywood itself. And he brings into focus Brando's self-destructiveness, his lifelong dissembling, his deeply ambivalent feelings towards his chosen vocation, and the tragedies that shadowed his final years. This is a never-before-seen portrait of one of the most extraordinary talents of the twentieth century.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780571244126
ISBN-10: 0571244122
Format: Hardback
(241mm x 162mm x 31mm)
Pages: 368
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publish Date: 6-Nov-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Somebody by Stefan Kanfer

US Kirkus Review » History of the legendary actor's life.Kanfer (The Voodoo That They Did So Well: The Wizards Who Invented the New York Stage, 2007, etc.) portrays Brando as a man unconsciously at war with himself. He hated his profession but was unable to do anything else. Compelled by his gluttonous appetite for women, he indulged in numerous sexual conquests but was unable to maintain a long-term relationship. He was so uncomfortable with his physical beauty that he eventually destroyed it with junk food - induced obesity. The actor could be enormously difficult to work with, a moody, spiteful troublemaker, exacting swift vengeance for any perceived slight. Yet despite his hang-ups, Kanfer joins the ranks of biographers and fans who believe that Brando was the greatest actor of the 20th century. He had an irresistible intensity, and the force of his stage and screen presence warped many a script into orbit around his character, most famously with his portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. His influence on younger actors such as James Dean and even Elvis Presley - indeed, on an entire generation of young men eager to emulate his tough, rebellious charm - was unmistakable. Still, after covering the initial years of rapidly rising stardom, this biography becomes a detailed register of Brando's many successive failures: theatrical, financial, emotional and romantic. Kanfer's thesis wavers little; he traces all of Marlon's woes back to his malignant relationship with his father, whose praise Brando sought and never gained, leading to his notorious disrespect for acting in general and his own accomplishments in particular. Swift, witty prose keeps the narrative moving through a chronicle of every production with which Brando was involved. Kanfer skillfully weaves in Broadway and Hollywood history, and his behind-the-scenes analysis of Brando's films will send you running to rent the classics, the reluctantly acknowledged cult favorites and even the bombs.An inspiring, depressing, riveting story. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Stefan Kanfer

Stefan Kanfer was the first by-lined cinema critic for the New York Times, and is the author of the best-selling biographies Groucho and Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball. He has also written Stardust Lost: The Triumph, Tragedies, and Mishugas of the Yiddish Theater in America, The Eighth Sin, A Summer World, The Last Empire, and Serious Business. He was a writer and editor at Time magazine for more than twenty years. A Literary Lion of the New York Public Library and recipient of numerous writing awards, Kanfer is currently a contributing editor for City Journal.

Books By Stefan Kanfer

Somebody by Stefan Kanfer
Paperback, July 2011
Tough Without a Gun by Stefan Kanfer
Paperback, February 2011
Essential Groucho by Stefan Kanfer
Paperback, August 2008
Ball of Fire by Stefan Kanfer
Paperback, July 2005