The Godfather

The Anniversary You Can’t Refuse: 40 Things You Didn’t Know About The Godfather

From early on in his legendary career, Marlon Brando used cue cards for his lines, which he felt increased his spontaneity. His lines were printed and placed in his character’s line of sight; stills from the production show that they sometimes required clever placement. In one photo, a cue card is taped on the wall behind a lamp. In another, Robert Duvall is seen holding Brando’s cue cards up to his chest. In the scene above, they are held just beyond the view of the camera.

Some thought Brando used the cards out of laziness or an inability to memorize his lines. Once on The Godfather set, Brando was asked why he wanted his lines printed out. “Because I can read them that way,” he said. And that was the end of the cue-card discussion.



Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola on the set of The Godfather Part II (1974)

Bernardo Bertolucci

"I remember being young in the 1960s… we had a great sense of the future, a great big hope. This is what is missing in the youth today. This being able to dream and to change the world."
(Bernardo Bertolucci)


Marlon Brando and Bernardo Bertolucci on the set of" Last Tango in Paris". In the background, Maria Schneider.

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando, 1950 (photo by Philippe Halsman)

“I have read the play [Orpheus Descending] three times since yesterday and am going to read it again. I think that it is the best play that you have done so far. I have been afraid for you sometimes, because success sings a deadly lullaby to most people. Success is a real and subtle whore, who would like nothing better than to catch you sleeping and bite your cock off.

You have been as brave as anybody I’ve known, and it is comforting to think about it. You probably don’t think of yourself as brave because nobody who really has courage does, but I know you are and I get food from that.”

-Brando, in a 1955 letter to Tennessee Williams (full letter here)(via)