The Fugitive Kind - 3 Stars
Burn! - 3 Stars
The Missouri Breaks - 4 Stars
A Dry White Season - 3 Stars
Four lesser-known Brando vehicles get bare-bones DVD treatment
While there was always a hint of aloof distance in Marlon Brando’s performances (a quality that no doubt added to his mystique), it intensified as time wore on.
In his mediocre films, it came off as disinterest, as if he was too bored by the material to care. But in the more interesting work, his languid eccentricity made for impossibly compelling portrayals. These four titles (arriving on DVD for the first time), while not essential, had enough merit to get Brando’s dander up. The Fugitive Kind
(1959), while not as nuanced as his career-launcher—A Streetcar Named Desire
—is still an engaging Tennessee Williams adaptation. Burn!
(’69) was a disappointing follow-up to Gillo Pontecorvo’s masterpiece The Battle of Algiers
, but Brando dives in with conviction as the British apparatchik sent to exploit rebellion on a Caribbean island. The best of the bunch is Arthur Penn’s The Missouri Breaks
(’75), a deconstructionist Western with Brando as a ruthless (and subtly psychotic) “regulator” brought in to eliminate a gang of horse thieves led by Jack Nicholson. A Dry White Season
(’89) finds Brando in a cameo turn as a wry but principled South African lawyer. All four discs are devoid of special features, which is truly a missed opportunity to explore worthy performances by one of film’s most enigmatic stars.