Directed by Marlon Brando
Running from the law after a bank robbery in Mexico, Dad Longworth finds an opportunity to take the stolen gold and leave his partner Rio to be captured. Years later, Rio escapes from the prison where he has been since, and hunts down Dad for revenge. Dad is now a respectable sheriff in California, and has been living in fear of Rio's return.
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★★★½ review by Cinemonster on Letterboxd
An unevenly directed and edited film, One-Eyed Jacks shows Marlon Brando at both his best and worst. A lovely unsung performance by Karl Malden and solid cinematography from Charles Lang are the highlights. Supporting cast, including Slim Pickens and Ben Johnson, are also solid. No one takes a beating onscreen like Brando. David Webb Peoples clearly saw this film before writing Unforgiven. Not too many projects can claim to have canned talent the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Calder Willingham and Sam Peckinpah.
★★★½ review by rischka on Letterboxd
most interesting as a sort of bridge between trad westerns and spaghetti westerns which soon came to dominate the form; production began in the late 50s but it wasn't released til '61. kubrick was fired cuz he wanted spencer tracy and brando insisted on malden (he was right). you can also see how an early draft by peckinpah made it's way into pat garrett and billy the kid. reportedly brando did not want to play the psychotic killer peckinpah had in mind. also brando's preferred ending had malden accidentally shooting his stepdaughter as she chases after brando but the studio nixed it. it's a tad overlong and the romance a little maudlin (esp the studio ending i think) but shockingly good for a first time director who never directed again? he wasn't happy with the experience apparently and complained for years it wasn't the film he intended. of course his cut was 5 hours long lol
★★★½ review by Juan Castillo on Letterboxd
Weird western atravesado por la saeta del melodrama sobre lo oneroso que puede resultar ajustar cuentas con el pasado. La huella aciaga y melancólica de Sam Peckinpah, autor del guión original, se advierte en un relato que alza el dedo acusador contra el traidor —poco menos que fratricida— aferrado a la respetabilidad y no contra el fuera de la ley, como sucederá muchos años después en su 'Pat Garrett...'
Karl Malden está, como siempre, sublime; el Brando actor, en su registro intransferible, y en cuanto al Brando director, supera la prueba holgadamente: integra elementos inéditos en el género, en especial la constante presencia de un océano que subraya el impasse en el que se hallan los personajes; maneja con soltura las secuencias multitudinarias, y hace brillar tanto los duelos verbales como los físicos.
No puede decirse lo mismo de su limitada capacidad como narrador, que da como resultado un metraje a todas luces excesivo.
One-Eyed Jacks es una rareza que hay que celebrar, aunque, ya puestos, sigo prefiriendo la de Charles Laughton.
★★★★★ review by Will on Letterboxd
In spite of all the production problems - from revisions to downright destruction - I can't help but feel this remains an absolutely stunning view of the American western, both strange and knowingly familiar at the same time, and palpably infused with Brando's ideals right down to the very core - inescapably so, and transcending whether not it turned out the film he set out to make originally. And boy, vistavision has never looked so good.
★★★★½ review by John Charles on Letterboxd
Marlon Brando’s sole directorial effort is a magnificent looking oater that mixes familiar and contrasting elements in a stylistic manner that occasionally anticipates Sergio Leone’s work. He combines the more realistic and violent direction the genre was heading with romantic scenes shared by Brando and Pina Pellicer (a talented Mexican actress who committed suicide at a young age) seemingly dropped in from a more innocent age of the western. The blend works surprisingly well, and Brando’s performance is complimented by a first-rate selection of character actors (including an unusually sleazy and double-dealing Slim Pickens). ONE-EYED JACKS’ quality and enduring interest are even more notable when you consider that Brando was not involved in the final edit, the studio reducing his four hour version by almost half. The movie also seems to have confused the motion picture code as a couple of its chief no-no’s were allowed through.
The Film Foundation, in association with Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg (presumably a financial necessity, given the picture’s public domain status), has done an outstanding job restoring ONE-EYED JACKS, providing clarity, color, and image depth levels unseen in this title’s home video history.
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