Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bonjour Brando

Brando and friend
Young Françoise Sagan’s novel, “Bonjour Tristesse,” was an international sensation in 1954 when she toured America. Friends wanted to introduce her to French-speaking denizens of Hollywood, and two of those were MGM producer John Houseman and his wife, Joan.
“We liked her and decided to combine our house-warming with a party for her,” Houseman recalled. He asked Sagan whom she particularly wanted to meet, and the 19-year-old novelist had only one request: Marlon Brando.
For Houseman, who had cast Brando controversially and with great success as Mark Antony in the film version of “Julius Caesar,” that was no problem.
“Brando arrived early in a white shirt and neat dark-blue suit — embarrassed that he did not possess a tie. Joan took him upstairs and loaned him one of mine. He met Miss Sagan and they became friends, but he bitterly disappointed those who had expected to encounter an American primitive with bulging biceps and a torn t-shirt.
“Among those who telephoned the next morning was Salka Viertel, who enjoyed the party but regretted that Marlon Brando had not shown up. It was difficult to convince her that the quiet, civil, well-spoken, intelligent and rather small young man in the blue suit with whom she had had such an interesting conversation was none other than Stanley Kowalski.”
Source: “Front and Center” by John Houseman

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