BRANDO FOR BREAKFAST by Anna Kashfi & E. P. Stein Brando

BRANDO FOR BREAKFAST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An angry, pathetic, often sordid, but unmoving memoir of Kashfi's miseries as Marlon Brando's wife (1957-1961) and ex-wife--with some half-hearted, second-hand attempts at being a full Brando biography. Anna was a reserved, Indian model-turned-actress when they met in '55; she didn't know who the great Brando was, and--as she tells it now--was hardly bowled over: ""He balanced a steatopygous form on squat, sturdy legs"" and ""His seduction technique showed all the subtlety of a guillotine."" What's more, ""He imparts a selfish type of sex,"" is not ""well appointed"" genitally, and ""his sexual appetites ran to unseasoned fare."" So why did Anna stick around (even after finding Rita Moreno's wig--""It's her or me!""--on Brando's bed) long enough to get pregnant and then married to this ""sick person?"" That's never clear, but it didn't take long before Marlon's cruelties and flagrant, bisexual infidelities with such as France Nuyen (""I'll give you thirty seconds to get her out of this house!"") made her realize they were ""irreconcilable opposites."" And divorce only led to worse wrangles: a 14-year, back-and-forth battle for custody of their son, with raw charges and kidnap attempts on both sides--plus nasty mischief by Marlon, like sneaking in to make holes in Anna's diaphragm with an ice pick. Result: Anna's alcoholic, depressive decline, only recently abated with a new marriage. All this is strangely unaffecting, but at least it's firsthand--which isn't the case with Anna's eclectic movie-by-movie rundown on Brando's career. And her stabs at psychological analysis (""If he sometimes explored his psyche on the psychiatric couch, he refused to do so with me"") are the familiar Oedipal clich≤s. For the rest, it's a goulash of angry swipes, watered down by Anna's pretentious vocabulary, bad grammar, and factual errors. A heap of Hollywood dirt, but no emotional grab and not even much nasty fun.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1979
Publisher: Crown