Albert Maysles (b. 1926), known for his important documentaries on Muhammad Ali, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, pioneered the documentary style known as Direct Cinema. He helped create techniques still widely used in modern documentary production, as well as many of the techniques used in reality TV.
In 1966 I got a call one day from a big Hollywood production company saying that they thought it might be a good idea if we did some filming of Marlon Brando who was the star of their film that was about to come out- a film called "Morituri" and they said that normally what they do when Brando is interviewed, as he will be interviewed the next day by people who've come from all parts of the country to, to interview him, because they want to get information for their show on television in different parts of the country. So that people from Pittsburgh, from Boston, from Chicago, Los Angeles, maybe- I think at least a dozen such interviewers- and they thought wouldn't it be interesting if my brother and I came to the Hampshire Hotel where Marlon Brando would be interviewed- and -not by us but by these people from their local TV stations- wouldn't it be interesting if we could film them and then edit each piece down so that each one of these local people from these cities all over the country would have a little two-minute piece of the interview, of their own interview with Brando. So we said- oh, yeah, that's a good idea, especially since we were getting paid well for it. And so we went to the Hampshire Hotel and started filming and right away my brother and I looked at one another and- oh, my goodness, this is so interesting, we'll put it all together and have a film about all this as well. And that's what we did. And so we came up with this wonderful half hour film which we hope to be putting on DVD one of these days. It hasn't shown anywhere on television as yet. But now some- almost 40 years later it's time- it's time for Brando to be seen and heard in this wonderful little expose of, of the tête-à-tête between the interviewer and this famous guy who was asking more questions of the interviewer than the interviewer was asking of Brando. He's in- Brando was in full charge and it's a charming piece of a charming person.
Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.
Sara Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is currently doing her BA in East Asian Studies at Columbia University, and working as an Archivist of the photographs and photographic material at Maysles Films Inc., Albert‚s film production company. She spent ten months out of two years working with Tibetan refugees at a center in Nepal, and continues to travel back and forth between America and Asia.
Rebekah Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is an artist living between New York and Philadelphia. She has her own line of clothing, Blackberryrose, and co-runs the store Sodafine in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York, a vintage and handmade store that sells clothing, books and other products made by artists.