The Duke in his Domain (The New Yorker)


by Truman Capote (1924 - 1984)

Capote’s profile of Marlon Brando is framed by an evening in a Kyoto hotel when Brando was filming on location. Aside from Peter-Selleresque racisms, the tone is beautifully judged and captures Brando’s character as skilfully as Brando mimicked others.

Both vain and self-aware, Capote’s Brando is a broken-nosed Buddha ‘sitting on a pile of candy’ (Brando’s phrase for his celebrity). Interesting on Brando’s relationship with James Dean, Brando’s family, and the needy people surrounding a star, this is a deeply researched piece about someone whose life seemed ‘a part he was weary of portraying yet was trapped in by contract’.

Related recommendation: Kenneth Tynan’s ‘Miles Apart’ (1961)

Origin: United States

Themes: Artistic Method, Vocation and Celebrity, Manners and Conversation

Genres: Profile or character

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