Live by Night
The key question behind Live by Night isn’t so much “Why did they bother?” as “What went wrong?”
The last frame of "Night of the Following Day" is a stop-motion photograph of Marlon Brando. He is smiling the same curious smile he used in the last shot of "The Wild One" (1954), the movie that made him famous. This is probably not a coincidence. "Night of the Following Day" seems designed to resurrect the old Brando image of an inarticulate tough.
It is partly successful. Brando comes over in the old way, and we remember him in "One Eyed Jacks" and "The Young Lions." But Brando has not done any acting in the last ten years to equal his magnificent performance in "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967) a box office flop. That film proved Brando does know what he's doing, despite the critics who tear him apart with dreary regularity in the 1960s.
Brando is caught in the same vise as other big name stars (Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds). He demands the big salary, but producers have discovered in the last few years that his appeal is unpredictable.
My notion is that Brando should retrench. He should abandon attempts to resurrect the "old" Brando and begin a series of small pictures designed to exploit his acting ability.