Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 23rd, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: USA, March 30th, 1961
Director: Marlon Brando
Writers: Guy Trosper, Calder Willingham
Cast: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Timothy Carey, Elisha Cook Jr.
DVD Released: October 7th, 2003
Approximate Running Time: 141 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Brentwood
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $4.98
“You may be a one eyed jack around here, but I’ve seen the other side of your face.” – Rio
On the run after robbing a bank in Mexico, Rio (Marlon Brando) and Dad Longworth (Karl Malden) are surrounded by Mexican soldiers. Dad Longworth comes up with a plan in which one of them can get away on the only horse they have left. Dad Longworth leaves with the gold and promises Rio that he will be right back with another horse for Rio. Dad Longworth double crosses Rio who is captured and sentenced to fifteen years in a Mexican prison. Rio escapes from prison with only one thing his mind revenge. He searches high and low for Dad Longworth who is now a respected law man. Will Rio gets his revenge or will Dad Longworth double cross him again?
Rod Serling wrote the first draft of One Eyed Jacks and Sam Peckinpah was brought in to do a re-write. The films original director Stanley Kubrick would have a falling out with the films star Marlon Brando who would take over as director for the remainder of the film. One Eyed Jacks is Marlon Brando’s one and only film as a director. Marlon Brando’s preferred cut of One Eyed Jacks is rumored to have been five hours long before Paramount would take the film out of his hands and re-cut the film to its now two hour twenty one minute length. Marlon Brando made of career out of playing complex and emotionally charged characters like Terry Malloy “On the Waterfront” and Don Vito Corleone “The Godfather”. Brando gives another moody performance as Rio in One-Eyed Jacks. There is an intensity and calmness about Rio that he balances through out the film.
For the movie One-Eyed Jacks he would wear two hats as the director and star of the film. Brando as a first time director would be blessed with a solid cast that included Karl Malden, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Elisha Cook Jr. and Timothy Carey. Hugo Friedhofer’s score compliments the epic feel of the film giving it more scope. The screenplay for despite many re-writes does have some dull moments and the film drags at times especially during the times when Rio is licking his wounds after the whipping he receives from Dad Longworth. One of Hollywood’s most celebrated cinematographer’s Charles Lang Jr. beautifully captures the Monterey’s picturesque landscapes. One-Eyed Jacks is an engrossing revenge film that is filled with rich character development and a tour-de-force performance from Marlon Brando.
One Eyed Jacks is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The non-anamorphic image lacks sharpness at times. The colors are in strong and the flesh tones look natural. The transfer is in great shape and it is virtually free of any debris or artifacts. The source material used for this transfer most likely Paramount’s One Eyed Jacks laserdisc.
The only audio option included for this release is a Dolby Digital stereo English language track. The audio is free of any hiss or distortion. The action sounds full and the dialog is easy to follow. Considering the fact this film in over forty years old the audio sounds really good.
It is no surprise that there are no extras for this release and like most budget titles it is about getting the most bang for your buck.
One Eyed Jacks was a troubled production and the story behind the making of the film would make for some interesting extras. Finally a DVD of One Eyed Jacks in its original aspect ratio at an affordable price that can tide fans of the film over until a proper Special Edition DVD is released by Paramount.