Friday, January 30, 2015

Marlon Brando Takes His Own Oral History

This is classic Marlon Brando.  The legendary actor known best for his portrayal of Vito Corleone in The Godfather died in 2004.  So how was he able to narrate Listen to Me, Marlon, a 2015 documentary about his life and career?  

Well, it turns out that Brando made about 300 hours of audio recordings chronicling his life from the 1940s through the final years of his life.

Here is a taste of an article on Listen to Me, Marlon from vulture.com:

Marlon Brando when he was alive wasn’t known for being particularly open; indeed, for much of his life, he was considered fairly reclusive. And yet here he is, in the fascinating documentary Listen to Me Marlon, taking us on a journey into his life and his deepest, most intimate thoughts. The film, which premiered at Sundance this week, was produced and developed by Showtime and will premiere on the network later this year. It turns out that Brando — starting in the 1940s and right through to his later years — had been creating private audio recordings in which he discussed his life. “Probably about 300 hours of it,” says director Stevan Riley. “When we finally got it all transcribed, we had a pile of paper about four feet off the ground.” Using those recordings, and supplementing them with clips from interviews and other appearances, Riley was able to construct Listen to Me Marlon as a film narrated by Brando. The result is unusually eerie — a trip inside the head of one of the most elusive and unusual stars in Hollywood history.

There must be an oral history lesson in this somewhere.