In the wake of Marlon Brando?s death in 2004, Entertainment Weekly posted a list of seven essential Brando films. The Ugly American, The Appaloosa, A Countess From Hong Kong and Night of the Following Day, now out in a boxed set from Universal, were not on it. To his credit, Brando, not one to rest on his mythic status, challenged himself in these diverse projects, with wildly varying degrees of success. In the sincere, but plodding (and all too timely) The Ugly American (Unrated, 120 mins., 1963), Brando?s well-intentioned new ambassador promotes America?s “unfinished world business” in a Communist-threatened Asian country. He?s bearded and brooding in The Appaloosa (Unrated, 98 mins. 1966), the only new-to-DVD title in the set. The revenge saga trots when it should gallop, but John Saxon livens thing up as the bandit chief who steals Brando?s prized horse. He is further upstaged by two poisonous scorpions who figure in the memorable arm wrestling set piece. Brando is really out to sea in A Countess From Hong Kong (G, 108 mins., 1967), Charlie Chaplin?s sad swan song, a hopelessly out of date shipboard farce (released the same year as Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate) only somewhat redeemed by an enchanting Sophia Loren as the ravishing stowaway in ambassador Brando?s cabin. Night of the Following Day (R, 93 mins., 1969) is a nasty piece of work about a kidnapping gone awry, but, according to director Herbert Cornfield?s grave-dancing commentary, it is no more nasty than Brando was to work with. In his ravaged voice, he relates how Brando “belittled me”?”ruined the love story”?”tried to seduce my wife.” Spoiler alert: Twice within the first 15 minutes, Cornfield reveals the film?s surprise ending. Neither misunderstood, unjustly neglected nor graced with cult status, this unfortunate quartet catches Brando at a fallow period in his career that makes his 1970s resurrection with The Godfather all the more triumphant. But this two-disc set is an offer even his staunchest fans can refuse. EXTRAS Original theatrical trailers on all. Ugly: B- Appaloosa: C Countess: D Night: C-
Marlon Brando: 4-Movie CollectionIn the wake of Marlon Brando?s death in 2004, Entertainment Weekly posted a list of seven essential Brando films. The Ugly American, The...Marlon Brando: 4-Movie CollectionIn the wake of Marlon Brando?s death in 2004, Entertainment Weekly posted a list of seven essential Brando films. The Ugly American, The...2005-05-31
Posted May 31 2005 — 12:00 AM EDT
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