Marlon Brando’s Acting Style Was Ahead of Its Time

In the 1970s, Marlon Brando was unforgettable as “The Godfather” and shocked filmgoers with his powerful performance in “Last Tango in Paris.” The two-time Oscar winner, who would have turned 97 on April 3, made the role of Colonel Kurtz his own in “Apocalypse Now” and negotiated a stunning payday to play Superman’s father Jor-el.But long before those marquee roles, 1950s critics sometimes had a hard time embracing the young stage performer who developed his highly naturalistic style of acting after training with Stella Adler and being guided by director Elia Kazan, who founded the Actor’s Studio.

He modeled his Stanley Kowalski character in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” on Broadway after boxer Rocky Graziano, and the rawness of his performances were sometimes confusing to observers more attuned to formal, old-fashioned acting.

Long before “mumblecore” became a film genre, critics complained about Brando’s speech patterns until it

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