While reading through the Elia Kazan Facebook thread that I mentioned yesterday, I came upon a story about a chat between director Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Marlon Brando on the set of Julius Caesar. It was April of 1952, and news about Kazan having named names in front of HUAC was just getting around. (Not “fresh” names though — Kazan confirmed names that the committee already had.) Brando was aghast, devastated. “What will I say when I see him again?” he asked Mankiewicz. “I truly loved that man, but look what he’s done.” Mankiewicz said something to the effect of “don’t judge or shun him…open your heart and give him a hug…he’s the same man you knew before, and I’m sure he had his reasons.”
In his autobiography A Life, Kazan wrote “I don’t hold people’s faults against them [and] I ask their tolerance for mine.” In the winter of late 1953 and early ’54, or roughly 20 months after Kazan’s testimony, he and Brando joined forces on On The Waterfront, which came to be regarded in some quarters as Kazan’s explanation for the occasional righteousness of testifying against former friend and colleagues. Brando was around when Kazan has given his honorary Oscar in 1999, but he never said a word for or against. They never worked together again after Waterfront.
(l. to r.) Elia Kazan, Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, James Dead on the set of East of Eden, sometime in mid to late 1954.