The “thrusting, jabbing eroticism” that Pauline Kael found so fascinating in her review of the film will look erotic only to those who can’t spell the word “sex.” And if Schneider was saying the truth when she told journalists that Brando was the one who came up with the idea for the butter scene, then the actor should have asked a body double to perform it in his place. And someone to dub his voice as well, for the dialogue delivery of the soon-to-be two-time Oscar winner sounds like nails on a chalkboard.
Unsurprisingly, both performances feel appallingly stilted — even though Schneider claimed her tears were real.
And to think that something as artificial as this scene remains one of the most indelible film sequences ever made. Not because of the psychology involved (and that leaves a lot to be desired), but because of a stick of butter.
Personally, I find it hard to imagine anyone not yawning at this. Or perhaps looking at their watch. Which makes me think that people in the early ’70s must have led rotten sex lives if they found the Brando-Schneider act even remotely erotic, arousing, and/or revoltingly “explicit.” (Do those people actually know what the word “explicit” means?) As far as I’m concerned, touching, disturbing, haunting, and/or heart-rending it isn’t, either.
So, be forewarned: Those who are offended by phony sex scenes involving dairy products, and in which people keep all their clothes on, talk philosophical gibberish, and cry tears of shame, should not click on the "play" button below.