“One Night Only” Series Features Four Iconic Brando Films

Marlon Brando pictureIn an era where we watch stars self-destruct on too regular of a basis, the career of Marlon Brando can offer these people both lessons and hope. After bursting onto the scene in the 1950s (and our series focuses on four films released between 1952-1954), Brando’s personal life and career went off the track in the 1960s. He went ten years without making a successful film and it looked like his legacy would rest on his solid early work. Then came his second Academy Award for The Godfather in 1972 followed by another nomination for his work in the controversial Last Tango in Paris. My introduction to Brando was at the Holland Theatre (now the Knickerbocker) in 1979 when my oldest brother took me to see Apocalypse Now since he felt all 15-year-olds should see that film. It was a memorable experience as Brando slowly leans forward in the light, rubbing that bald head and mumbling.

A Streetcar Named Desire
A Streetcar Named Desire

Little did I know that the mumbling was a Brando trademark. After his explosive performance in A Streetcar Named Desire, Brando was nicknamed “the mumbler” by some in Hollywood. His body language in the movie matches his speech, as he moves from slouch to taut, from mumble to rapid-fire shouting in a heartbeat. It was just his second movie appearance and he had played Stanley Kowalski in the Broadway version just prior to the movie. He understood his character and it is seen in nuances of the film. Brando is the perfect match for all the subtexts found in all of Tennessee Williams’ work because you can see the internal conflicts in his every gesture.

Brando in Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar

While Streetcar brought him fame, Brando wanted to show he could do more than just mumble so he took on the Mark Antony role in a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar so he could show his acting skills up against the likes of John Gielgud, James Mason, Deborah Kerr, and Greer Garson. The critics agreed that he could more than hold his own, so he then went back to mumbling.

He went from Julius Caesar to The Wild One where we get the iconic Brando on the motorcycle photo. The film has great lines and Lee Marvin is good, as always, but the motorcycle gang that orders cups of coffee appears a little dated. Still, it is Brando in rare form showing a man conflicted between emotions. The tough guy falling for the nice girl, a man who wants to be more than he is but is not sure how to get there.

On the Waterfront
ON THE WATERFRONT

In our final film, On the Waterfront, Brando plays another tough guy struggling with where to go in life. If I was forced to choose a favorite film, this is easily my all-time favorite. Eva Marie Saint, who took home the Academy Award for her debut performance here, matches Brando’s intensity. Brando is the punk who could have been a great boxer (think “I coulda been a contender”) but takes a dive for his brother and his Mafia-like union group. Now he has the chance to do something right and you see the conflict in his face and body — he wants to better than he is but he lacks the courage. And then you have Karl Malden pulling off the role of a priest that is the anti-Bing Crosby version. He is pushed out from his safe church to bring Christ to the docks and his speech over the dead body of a dock worker in the belly of a ship may be the best sermon ever preached, on or off stage. The fact that his character is based on a real-life priest may have helped cement his character. The film was a huge success, winning eight Academy awards including Brando and Marie Saint for their acting, Eli Kazan for his directing, and the film itself won the best picture award.

Looking at these four films together, it is incredible what he put together in such a short time. Although he derailed his own career, nearly 20 years after these films he was back and still amazing people with his skills. As another great actor, Paul Newman, said: “I’m angry at Marlon because he does everything so easily. I have to break my [fill in the blank] to do what he can do with eyes closed.”

Make sure to catch all the films:

April 16 — A Streetcar Named Desire
April 23 — Julius Caesar
April 30 — The Wild One
May 7 — On the Waterfront

–Derek Emerson
Hope College Director of Public Affairs and Events

5 Reasons Hope Students Should Attend Knick Movies

By Amanda Dort ’17

Amanda Dort

For the past three years, I’ve been working in the Hope College’s Events and Conferences Office writing press releases. If it was not for this job, I wouldn’t have known about the Knick movies in the first place. I’m so happy that isn’t the case because attending the Knick movies is one of my favorite activities to do on campus!

The Knick Film Series? Formally known as the “Knickerbocker Film Series,” the movies are part of the theatre’s “tradition of showing new, independent and foreign films for the West Michigan community.” What does this mean? This means that these movies are not only NEW, but are also not likely to show up at a mainstream theatre. These movies aren’t your predictable, fluffy rom-coms. The films shown as part of the Film Series are engaging and entertaining, while still being thought-provoking and educational.

There’s usually one movie per month during the academic year, and my best friends and I like to attend every one we can! These unpredictable movies’ endings aren’t the only thing that surprises me — what also surprises me is the lack of attendance by other Hope students like myself. This is why I’ve created this list of 5 reasons why you should attend the Knick movies.

  1. They’re free
    FREEEE! Although it’s not advertised in the press releases, the Knickerbocker Fall, Winter, and Spring Film Series is free for Hope College students! Just make sure to bring your Hope College ID to the ticket counter at the Knick, and you will be on your way to enjoying the film.
  2. They’re shown 6 times per week
    If there is a Knick movie playing during a certain week, then it is shown Monday-Saturday of that week. So whether you have a night class on Monday, a team meeting on Tuesday or plans with friends on Wednesday, you still have three more days to attend the Knick movie. All movies begin at 7:30 p.m. and serve as a very nice study break.
  3. They’re a great activity with friends.
    Like I said before, my friends and I love to go to these movies. Bring your friends and enjoy the films together! Plus, if you’re all Hope College students, no one has to pay for their ticket. And the concessions are inexpensive and good!
  4. They’re genuinely GOOD movies
    Some of my favorite movies previously shown include Loving, Our Little Sister, Mustang, and Phoenix. You know you’ve just seen a good movie if you’re still thinking about it the next day, and that is the case with movies shown in the Knickerbocker Film Series. The movies promote conversation and deeper thinking (if you’re into that stuff), but are still fluidly captivating and moving.
  5. They’re shown on-campus
    If you’re not aware already, the Knickerbocker Theatre is located on-campus (well, right on the edge and on 8th Street). There’s no car-pooling or fuel needed to attend a Knick movie. So go ahead, take one of the new crosswalks on Ninth St to Anderson-Werkman and walk through the first floor until you hit the Knick! You won’t regret it.

 

Now that you know about the movies and are aware of five great reasons why you should attend, I hope to see you there! There are still two more movies left in this semester’s Film Series. To stay updated on which movies are playing when, visit the Knickerbocker Film Series’ website, read the press releases on the Hope College News website or follow Hope College Events and Conferences on Facebook. See you soon!

Coming Up:
The Eagle Huntress  — March 13-18

Things to Come — March 27-April 1

Welcome to the Knickerbocker Film Series Blog

130618Knickerbocker009Welcome to the Knickerbocker Film Blog!

We’ve created the blog to give us some space to explore the films we show, hear from other film fans, and, basically, find a new way to celebrate the celluloid film (or digital film — we’ll cover that in a future blog).

If you are not familiar with us, the Knickerbocker Theatre is a historic venue in downtown Holland, Michigan owned and operated by Hope College. In addition to year-round live events, we also do three film series each year (winter, spring, and fall) with four independent or international films. 7:30pm is our usual starting time.

We also have a “One Night Only” series where we focus on one actor, director,150330KnickerbockerSign003 or genre over four weeks. In the past, we’ve looked at Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman, and Famous Couples. In the summer we host four free family films on Thursday evenings where we throwback to some classics we all love, such as Indiana Jones, The Princess Bride, and The Goonies.

091013KnickerbockerTheatre007There are many great reasons to spend some time with us. Our ticket prices are reasonable and our concessions are actually delicious and inexpensive. No $40 tab when you have popcorn and soda while watching a movie with us! We have friendly students helping with tickets, concessions, and often running the movies. We also always have one of our Events and Conferences Office staff hanging around (and most of them are friendly). And, we do all this in a historic theatre!

So, this is just our way of saying welcome!

We would love your comments on our blog or our films. Suggestions? We’ll take them.

Derek Emerson
Director of Public Affairs and Events