I was never sure who had the biggest impact on modern acting. I have just re-seen “Red River” and Clift was as brazen and confident as Brando in anything. I love them both but I don’t know, for sure, who is the forefather.
I like both of them as well, but I think Brando is probably more influential because he’s more of a household name (not to imply that Clift is obscure). But they both were ahead of their time, two very talented method actors.
Directly? Brando as he was the bigger force, had more of a cultural impact, but indirectly Clift by being there first and acting as something as a transitional force deserves notice, particularly since he was uniquely brilliant as well. One can’t set aside though that both were influenced by forces beyond them, both in the shift of tone in moviemaking throughout the world after the war and in ideas being promulgated in theater via ideas about “method acting”. So, Brando and Clift were possibly better seen as popularizers of a sort of style or force that reached far beyond them rather than being thought of a having an absolute cause/effect relationship with the changes they are associated with.
I’ve never seen Clift do anything to come close to the explosiveness of Brando in Streetcar. Brando was just a lot more noticeable. Although, if I could choose one scene from either of them, it would be Clift’s scene in Judgement at Nuremberg
Greg X is right. Brando shook the world on stage, and it was his good fortune to be a young actor when Elia Kazan was interested in getting that new style and energy of the stage onto a motion picture screen.
And while Clift was an intriguing, beautiful young presence, Brando was a straight-up sex symbol.
So it was inevitable that Brando’s popularity would assist him in influencing more actors (and perhaps directors) more often.
On the other hand, I wonder if James Dean and Richard Burton (who openly praised Clift’s “potentially explosive” quality) have more Clift in their bones, at certain times, than they ever did Brando.
Also, consider that Clift and Sinatra were inseparable during the making of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY,
(Burt Lancaster had to ride herd on the wild pair).
Watch Sinatra in his best moments post that picture and notice certain Clift-like moves, inflections, and tics, especially in YOUNG AT HEART.
Oh, yeah, Sinatra is sooo damn good in Young at Heart that it hurts. If it wasn’t for Frank asking for a happier ending, which really doesn’t gel with the rest of the film, that movie would be perfection on a stick. Sinatra was a heck of an actor when he put his mind to it, that is to say, up until the rat packery really took hold and Frankie started to coast.
Where Brando comes closest to Clift is in his propensity to push his masculinity beyond “manly” and allowing more “feminine” traits to come through in a way that was surprising for the sorts of roles they undertook. The type and depth of vulnerability and their manner of showing or accepting desire seem of a different order than existed previously.
He isnprired Brando -who is of course much flaier and macho. But he also inspired James Dean - who’s a lot closer to him than he is Brando, and not just because like monty he was gay.
Monty’s clam thoughtfulness continuies to impress. I was watching “The Search” on TCM just the other day and his performance is as fresh as if the film were shot yesterday. His aim was a naturalism that wasn’t stuied — as many of the “Method” performers were.
It should be kept in mind that he was a child star on the stage and entered the movies with a ton of theatrical fame behind him. He was never tied down to a single studio and thus chose his projects with some came.
Sadly he took les care with his life.
Clift was the greater actor, but Brando was undoubtedly more influential.
Monty all the way. He is the better actor, completely natural, and there was never anyone quite like him on the screen.
EVERYBODY knows Brando, he is the most known actor ever.