A look at Brando’s best ’60s films
One Eyed Jacks (1961)
Brando signed his only film as a director when he replaced Stanley Kubrick at the helm of a troubled Western in which he stars as an outlaw seeking revenge on an ex-partner (Karl Malden) who has become a corrupt sheriff. It’s long and slow-moving, though not without flashes of searing violence, most of them initiated by the toweringly cruel Malden character. Brando proves to be one of his own best directors, letting his scenes build with a gradual accumulation of detail rather than going for spectacular single moments.
The Chase (1966)
Though Brando receives top billing in Arthur Penn’s portrait of class and race conflict in a small town in Texas, he is only one member of a sprawling ensemble cast that includes a young Robert Redford. The film’s most powerful sequence features Brando again taking a hideous beating and continuing to march forward to do what’s right — an echo of ”Waterfront”’s Terry Malloy, or evidence of a growing martyr complex?
A Countess From Hong Kong (1967)
Charlie Chaplin’s last film — he wrote, directed, and plays a bit as a ship’s steward — casts Brando as a suave American diplomat who falls in love with a Russian stowaway (Sophia Loren). This beautiful, underrated film is a throwback to the sophisticated romantic comedies of the ’20s and early ’30s, with Brando in the role that once would have been played by Adolphe Menjou. His genuine gifts as a light comedian are on glorious display.