Marlon Brando will never cease to fascinate us: for his triumphs as an actor (On the Waterfront, The Godfather, Last Tango in Paris), as well as his disasters; for the power of the screen portrayals he gave, and for his turbulent, tumultuous personal life. Seamlessly intertwining the man and the work, Kanfer takes us through Brando's troubled childhood, to his arrival in New York in the 1940s, where he studied with the legendary Stella Adler, and at the age of twenty-three became the toast of Broadway in A Streetcar Named Desire. Kanfer expertly examines each of Brando's films - from The Men in 1950 to The Score in 2001 - making clear the evolution of Brando's singular genius, while also shedding light on the cultural evolution of Hollywood itself. And he brings into focus Brando's self-destructiveness, his lifelong dissembling, his deeply ambivalent feelings towards his chosen vocation, and the tragedies that shadowed his final years. This is a never-before-seen portrait of one of the most extraordinary talents of the twentieth century.
Stefan Kanfer was the first by-lined cinema critic for the New York Times, and is the author of the best-selling biographies Groucho and Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball. He has also written Stardust Lost: The Triumph, Tragedies, and Mishugas of the Yiddish Theater in America, The Eighth Sin, A Summer World, The Last Empire, and Serious Business. He was a writer and editor at Time magazine for more than twenty years. A Literary Lion of the New York Public Library and recipient of numerous writing awards, Kanfer is currently a contributing editor for City Journal.