Another actor, I suppose, would have understood at once what Brando was saying, but I found him difficult to follow. “It’s what happens inside you on the third take,” he said, with a careful emphasis that did not lessen my incomprehension. One of the most memorable film scenes Brando has played occurs in the Kazan-directed “On the Waterfront;” it is the car-ride scene in which Rod Steiger, as the racketeering brother, confesses he is leading Brando into a death trap. I asked if he could use the episode as an example, and tell me how his theory of the “sensitive moment” applied to it.
“Yes. Well, no. Well, let’s see.” He puckered his eyes, made a humming noise. “That was a seven-take scene, and I didn’t like the way it was written. Lot of dissension going on there. I was fed up with the whole picture. All the location stuff was in New Jersey, and it was the dead of winter—the cold, Christ! And I was having problems at the time. Woman trouble. That scene. Let me see. There were seven takes because Rod Steiger couldn’t stop crying. He’s one of those actors loves to cry. We kept doing it over and over. But I can’t remember just when, just how it crystallized itself for me. The first time I saw ‘Waterfront,’ in a projection room with Gadge, I thought it was so terrible I walked out without even speaking to him.”
- To mark the occasion of 24 New Yorker writes and contributors being named to N.Y.U’s list of the 100 outstanding journalists in the United States in the Last 100 Years, we went through our archives and matched each New Yorker writer with one of his or her best-known pieces. Click through to read Truman Capote’s 1957 Profile of Marlon Brando: http://nyr.kr/HMQaKe