I Coulda Been A Conten-dah…I Coulda Been Somebody…

I have a confession.  I accidentally discovered that I have a huge celebrity crush last weekend.  Marlon. Brando.  But you know, young Marlon Brando, not the hot mess that he became later in life.

So ridiculously cool, right?

I’m taking a Screenwriting course right now, and every week we have to watch a different film.  Each time I find out the movie we’re watching, I mentally groan, wondering why on earth we have to watch all of these “dumb-dumb movies” as I like to call them.  I guess I signed up for this course thinking we were going to be watching films like “Casablanca” or “Gone With the Wind,” but that hasn’t been the case.  We’ve been watching these sort of peculiar little films, sometimes foreign, black and white films, that I always think are going to be terrible, but then turn out to be unexpectedly awesome.

Anyway, last week we had to watch “On the Waterfront” with Marlon Brando, and again I thought I was going to hate it.  I thought, “Why can’t we watch ‘The Godfather’ or something that I’ve actually heard of with Marlon Brando?”  I was skeptical as I popped the movie into my DVD player, but I have to tell you, within the first three minutes I was awestruck by one of the most iconic actors ever…Mr. Marlon Brando.  I sat there stunned as I watched him completely embody his character.  All I could think was, “That kind of talent cannot be taught.”  He just had that “it” factor, that captivating, special something, that all great actors have.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, not because of his good looks (but obviously that, too) but because there is just something so enchanting about him as an actor.

Throughout my life I have heard people quote the famous line, “I could’ve been a contender.  I could’ve been somebody,”  but I never had any idea where this quote came from.  That is, until I suddenly heard it roll right off Brando’s tongue while I was watching “On the Waterfront.”  I couldn’t help myself, I had to watch it one more time, and then another time, and then another.  I must have watched it four or five times.  There was something so sincere about the way he said that line that makes it so identifiable, and might even leave you questioning your own life’s path.

Here’s the scene if you’ve never seen it.


After watching “On the Waterfront” I went on a bit of a Brando binge and watched “A Streetcar Named Desire” and swooned over him even more as Stanley.  If you’ve never seen “A Streetcar Named Desire,” trust me, you need it in your life.  Everyone needs to hear Brando scream, “Hey Stelllllllaaaaaaaa!!!” at least once, because well, it’s thrilling.  Trust me.

So tell me, who are your favorite iconic actors?

~The End

30 thoughts on “I Coulda Been A Conten-dah…I Coulda Been Somebody…

  1. Cary Grant: Holiday and Only Angels Have Wings. Check those out if you haven’t already. Clark Gable, James Dean, even Paul Newman (did you see The Hustler? Gotta love Jackie Gleason too in that one!

    Just to name a few…

  2. I’ll just go ahead and say I have a major girl crush on Ingrid Bergman. Casablanca, of course, is perfection but Notorious is another amazing film. (I perhaps spent too much of college watching old movies instead of attending raging frat parties and such.)

  3. Don’t you just ache when you watch him long to be the person he wants to be but can’t quite get there … both characters: in On the Waterfront and Streetcar? Powerful performances. So true… that talent is not taught. It is just there! And doesn’t he just exude sexual power?

    I agree with the previous posters: Check out the films of all of the fabulously talented actors.

    Are you studying the Hitchcock films in your class?

  4. Sir Derek Jacoby, Carrie Fisher, Brian Blessed, Sir Alec Guinness and Harrison Ford come to mind, but there are many more! 🙂

    God Bless!


  5. Brandon. Absolutely beautiful!
    I love him later too, as Colonel Kurtz. Not many actors could carry that character.
    But that movie has my favourite male icon- Martin Sheen. His performance in Apolcalypse Now, the serene veneer as they cruise into insanity is amazing.
    Love this post!
    Would be curious to hear what other films have been proscribed…

    • We’ve watched a ton…hmmm…Persona, Notorious, The Witness, The Verdict, Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Apartment, and many more!

  6. Great post…as for favorite actors, I’d have to say Cary Grant, Al Pacino, Robert Diniro, and Meryl Streep. I like them all because of their innate talent and their range of performances. To be able to do serious roles and comedic roles effectively takes real ability.

  7. Not sure who my faves are really, but I wanted to comment about finally catching up on a classic. After Liz Taylor died there were tons of stories about her iconic roles – the ones she should have won Oscars for and the ones she did. On that list of winners was “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” I was like, “I have got to check this thing out and see what the hype is all about.”

    I have to say it was not quite what I expected. A little strange actually, and I thought it felt a lot like a play due to the limited setting. But I’ll admit that Liz did her thing. She was crazy as a loon and did an excellent job playing the role.

    I’m glad I finally saw it. She was worth the hype.

    Nice post BTW.

    • I love Elizabeth Taylor. I should write a post sometime about her, because I think she is amazing and iconic too! And you’re right, she is worth the hype!

  8. I watched the Misfits (Marilyn Monroe) and Streetcar (Brando) when I was about 7 or 8 years old, and fell in love with old black and white movies. I spent my teen years swooning over Brando and James Dean. Wish I were taking that class! 🙂

    • Since taking this film class, I have a real appreciation for black and white films. I used to not care for them much at all, but now I love them!

  9. “Streetcar Named Desire” i going to be on Turner Classic Movies this Wednesday at 8pm… funny how I’m seeing the commercial after just reading this. Maybe it means I need to watch it again? 😛 My favorites are Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne. I love the old westerns and war movies, but as you can tell from MY blog, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is my favorite of all time. I connect with the character of George Bailey on a lot of levels. I drive my sons crazy with “the old movie channel”, but I’ve turned them on to some classics and even some Broadway shows as they’ve walked by and seen my watching them. Whether it’s the music, the characters, the actors playing them – something always captures their attention and they end up stopping and watching with me. These will be memories I’m sure they’ll cherish someday… at least I hope, lol.

    • Can I just say, I love that you’ve gotten your kids into some classics and Broadway, because I think it’s so important to be well rounded in the arts! I’m sure they will appreciate it someday!

      • It really is important, isn’t it? I took our 17 year old to see “Les Miz” when it came through Tampa last month, and after seeing “the Phantom” on PBS with me recently, our 14 year old asked if I would take him to see that when it comes through town next. How can you say no to that? 🙂

  10. So cool that you’re taking a screenwriting course. I’m learning from a book and from some scripts I found on the Internet, but maybe I should take a course as soon as I have a job. 🙂

  11. I know he does not date back to the Marlon Brando days but I have a crush on Sam Elliott. I know call me weird that is ok. I also love Robert Redford. In college he was doing a speaking event about 2 hours aways from where my roomate and I lived and we were going to ditch class and go see him. It never happened and I’m not sure why but it is one of things I wish I did.

  12. He may not be “iconic”…but you gotta admit, Mel Gibson in “The Patriot” and “Braveheart”… you can’t beat him on the big screen in his epic movies. Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus in “King Of Kings” and Charlton Heston as Moses in “The Tem Commandments” (as you can see I am into Biblical films) and Jim Caviezel in “The Passion”…wow…can’t even put that into words. I hope you and Matt are doing well…time is going fast…the wedding will be here before you know it! Love and miss you…xoxox

    • Oh yeah, there is no denying that Mel Gibson is an amazing actor. Sure, in real life he is, uh, different, but he can really act. I love Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus in King of Kings too, and so does my mom! You guys are just alike!! Obviously!

  13. Love Marlon Brando! Guys and Dolls was the movie I definitely swooned over him in, and I’ll definitely have to watch the other long lists that he’s in, including the ones above. 😀

  14. Loved Sidney Poitier in “To Sir with Love.” Love Alfrie Woodard in just about everything. First saw her in a couple of episodes of Hill Street Blues and never forgot her.

    Loved, loved Yul Brenner, from the “King and I” to “The Magnificent Seven.” I honestly watch “The Ten Commandments” because of his role as Pharaoh even though he was the bad guy. That man could wear the heck out of some Egyptian garments. Best line was when he told Nefertiri who would soon be his queen, “You will be like my dog or like my falcon, only I will love you more, and trust you less.”

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