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Listen to Me Marlon 

Wednesday, Aug 5 2015
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An interesting modern trend in documentaries is that of dead people narrating the story of their lives via audio recordings, such as Chuck Workman's Magician: The Astonishing Life & Work of Orson Welles or Mark Mori's Bettie Page Reveals All. Stevan Riley's Marlon Brando doc Listen to Me Marlon isn't quite up to the entertaining standards of those two films — possibly because Riley's subject was much more brooding and opaque, and ultimately hated the trappings of success and fame that eventually led to the tragic deaths of his children. The audio is culled largely from hundreds of hours of tapes Brando recorded for his own purposes, and the images from seemingly every time a camera was pointed at him. Why he's considered one of the best actors is never made clear, mostly because his performances can't be summed up in sound bites — not even just "Stella!" — and the picture largely ignores many of his later roles, the most obvious absence being his part in the making and unmaking of the 1996 Island of Dr. Moreau. As it happens, David Gregory's recent documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau fills in some those gaps. Between the two may well lie the truth.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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