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In His Pink Negligée

Colm Tóibín: The Ruthless Truman Capote, 21 April 2005

The Complete Stories 
by Truman Capote.
Random House, 400 pp., $24.95, September 2004, 0 679 64310 9
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Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote 
edited by Gerald Clarke.
Random House, 487 pp., $27.95, September 2004, 0 375 50133 9
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... In Cold Blood, it is possible that he would now be famous merely for his New Yorker profile of Marlon Brando, ‘The Duke in His Domain’, which is a masterpiece, and maybe the movie of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The letters, on the other hand, are superb. He is funny about his fame. He is only 22 when he writes: ‘There is a morbid photograph of me ...

Who’s in charge?

Chalmers Johnson: The Addiction to Secrecy, 6 February 2003

Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers 
by Daniel Ellsberg.
Viking, 498 pp., $29.95, October 2002, 0 670 03030 9
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... Now, John Milius, has said that the character of Kurtz, the maniacal American officer played by Marlon Brando, was inspired by Rheault. Ellsberg was enraged by all the lies Resor proffered in his defence and by the comments of various Congressmen on how bad it would be for morale should American troops face criminal charges ‘just for killing one ...

So Hard to Handle

John Lahr: In Praise of Joni Mitchell, 22 February 2018

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell 
by David Yaffe.
Farrar, Straus, 420 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 0 374 24813 0
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... was a stand-up comedian who never set one loafered foot on a Broadway stage. And then there’s Marlon Brando who, according to Yaffe, came to prominence with On the Waterfront (1954), missing by the best part of a decade his volcanic performance as Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), which made him a household name. Speaking of the emotional ...

Always the Same Dream

Ferdinand Mount: Princess Margaret, 4 January 2018

Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 423 pp., £16.99, September 2017, 978 0 00 820361 0
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... that not to meet the Snowdons was ‘like being in the Garden of Eden without seeing God’. Marlon Brando persuaded Kenneth Tynan to ask her to dinner à trois and then was so tongue-tied that he couldn’t address a word to her except through Tynan: ‘Would you ask the princess what she thinks of …’ Tynan himself wanted to postpone his ...

The Raging Peloton

Iain Sinclair: Boris Bikes, 20 January 2011

... labourers, schoolchildren, office workers, and street gangs pretending they are riding with Marlon Brando in The Wild One. Patrick Wright, in Passport to Peking, quotes the Labour politician Morgan Phillips, who visited China as part of a delegation in 1954. ‘As I saw the great mass of cycles on the road I was reminded of a day in Bedford during ...


Stephen Frears: That's Hollywood, 20 December 1990

... Hare’s dialogue for Saigon, Year of the Cat. When I asked him why, he said: ‘Can you imagine Marlon sticking to the text?’ Forrest had been in Apocalypse Now, and had watched Brando climbing palm trees in the Philippines and throwing coconuts at Coppola. When in the heat of filming I asked Forrest what Coppola would ...

Cutty, One Rock

August Kleinzahler: My Big Bad Brother, 21 August 2003

... mug: good bones, a nicely shaped head, straight nose, brown eyes, full mouth. A bit like the young Marlon Brando, in fact, especially around the eyes. In this good fortune, he took after the men on my mother’s side of the family. Me, I got stuck with the other. In retrospect, for someone that good-looking and wild, he didn’t have a lot of girlfriends ...

‘I’m glad what I done’

Gavin Millar, 13 October 1988

A Life 
by Elia Kazan.
Deutsch, 848 pp., £17.95, June 1988, 0 233 98292 2
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... now to express that resentment in the films, particularly in On the Waterfront (1954). ‘When Brando, at the end, yells at Lee Cobb, the mob boss, “I’m glad what I done you hear me? – glad what I done!” that was me saying, with identical heat, that I was glad I’d testified as I had.’ Kazan and Schulberg befriended the ‘stoolie’ docker Tony ...

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