Apr 6, 2010

The Fugitive Kind

For most individuals, it seems the biggest drawl to the movies for them is the cast. Whether it be middle aged women looking to drool over George Clooney’s salt n’ pepper hair, not to mention pseudo-suaveness, or 90 pound Wiggers looking to see bling-bling-baboon 50 cent trying to get rich with money he can’t even count, people seem most magnetized to a film for whose on screen as opposed to who concocted what is on screen. Personally, I usually look to see who the director or auteur of the film is, before I waste my time watching another banal flick. After all, I do not want to accidentally catch myself watching another film directed by Hitchcock-clone/Hollywood Hack Brian De Palma.

I do like a couple actors however, although they tend to have been from Hollywood’s less blatantly degenerate days. Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani happen to be two of my favorite silver screen stars. Before Brando was bloated and too overly belligerent, he was the best rebel to catch on screen. In her cinematic prime, Italian actress (with a surprisingly aesthetically successful mix of Egyptian and Judaic blood) Anna Magnani was a woman aggressive for what she wanted just as much as any man. It was a brilliant idea for these two stars to play lovers in Tennessee William’s The Fugitive Kind directed by the extremely overrated filmmaker Sidney Lumet. It is apparent that Mr. Lumet understood nothing of the Southern Gothic, but with the chemistry of Brando and Magnani, plus with the perfectly dramatic play writing skills of Tennessee Williams, The Fugitive Kind still ends up coming out as one of the best southern Gothic films that I have had the extreme pleasure of passionately enjoying.

In The Fugitive Kind, Marlon Brando plays a man that excretes coolness. He is not cool because he wears a snake skin jacket (certainly more cool than Nicholas Cage wearing one however) or plays the guitar, but because he lives life the way he wants to wherever he wants to, even if that makes him homeless. When he meets an eccentric Italian woman who happens to own a shop with her “more than a little red in the neck” husband, Brando’s character starts a relationship with a woman he never expected. Brando uses the Italian woman because he needs work and the Italian woman uses Brando because she needs a potent man unlike her bed-ridden hick husband. The Fugitive Kind differs (or more like the complete opposite in convention) from most Hollywood love stories in that the man is uninterested in love and the woman is doing everything she can to catch the man’s fancy.

Apparently, back in the good ol’ days in the South, if you sold bootleg alcohol to Negros, it could result in a personal holocaust via being burnt alive by angry rednecks. The poor Italian lady in The Fugitive Kind lost her father due his altruistic willingness to diversify his customer base. Magnani no doubt does a splendid job playing a woman hurt and letdown by all the men around her, from the father that left her too soon to the rednecks that inhabit the town she lives in to the men she fornicates with that drop her because of olive-colored skin, she cannot find a man she can truly trust. Who else then, but Marlon Brando to fill her void for a new kind of man? Not only is Brando his own man, but he’s willing to wage war on all other men, including the ones that Anna Magnani’s character despises. The ending of The Fugitive Kind may not be the ideal happy ending for the mindless masses, but it is certainly appropriate for the unconventional true love found between manly Marlon Brando and alpha-aphrodisiac Anna Magnani. I rarely find middle aged women attractive personally, but Anna Magnani in The Fugitive Kind is certainly a lady I would have brought home to Mom.

Marlon Brando did a little more than a good job portraying a polack barbarian by the name of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire so I only had to assume he would also be brilliant in another silver screen adaption of a play written by Southern Queen Tennessee Williams. I just wonder why The Fugitive Kind has not gotten the recognition it deserves like just like A Streetcar Named Desired receives. The Fugitive Kind also certainly deserves more praise than Brando’s performance in the iconic The Wild One. I guess The Fugitive Kind maybe just a little “too gothic” for a southern Gothic, especially for the undeserving American audiences that saw the film for the first time in 1959.

-Ty E


Simon said...

I think directors might be getting a comeback. With Quentin Tarantino, at least. But actors are the charisma of the film.

Anyway, good review.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Joanne Woodward looks so sexy in that picture, i bet Brando was thinking "i`d love to bugger that chick senseless".

Phantom of Pulp said...

Excellent film of a fascinating flick.

Perhaps still for an undeserving audience.

willy jerk-off said...

Strickly speaking the vast majority of the time i couldn`t give a toss whos in a film (with one obvious exeption...oh Heather...oh Heather) or who directed it, all i want to see is non-stop incredible special effects and an endless parade of gorgeous nameless naked chicks.