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One-Eyed Jacks The Criterion Collection
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A western like no other, One-Eyed Jacks combines the mythological scope of that most American of film genres with the searing naturalism of a performance by Marlon Brando (On the Waterfront, The Fugitive Kind), all suffused with Freudian overtones and male anxiety. In his only directing stint, Brando captures the rugged landscapes of California s Central Coast and Mexico s Sonoran Desert in gorgeous widescreen, Technicolor images, and elicits from his fellow actors (including Karl Malden and Pina Pellicer) nuanced improvisational depictions of conflicted characters. Though overwhelmed by its director s perfectionism and plagued by production setbacks and studio re-editing, One-Eyed Jacks stands as one of Brando s great achievements, thanks above all to his tortured turn as Rio, a bank robber bent on revenge against his one-time partner in crime, the aptly named Dad Longworth (Malden). Brooding and romantic, Rio marks the last, and perhaps the most tender, of the iconic outsiders Brando imbued with such remarkable intensity throughout his career.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- New 4K digital restoration, undertaken with the support of The Film Foundation and supervised by filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- New introduction by Scorsese
- Excerpts from voice-recordings director and star Marlon Brando made during the film s production
- New video essays on the film s production history and its potent combination of the stage and screen icon Brando with the classic Hollywood western
- PLUS: An essay by film critic Howard Hampton
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Like other reviewers here, I am thrilled with this Criterion remaster. The technical quality of the visual and sound content could not be better. I never dreamed this great film would find a savior to improve on all of the cheap, crummy dvd's that are out there. Whoever is running Criterion is doing one terrific job. One point where I have a difference of opinion with one the other reviewers on this page who called One-Eyed Jacks "a minor classic": I consider this to be one of the best westerns ever made, along with McCabe and Mrs. Miller and The Big Trail, John Wayne's first starring role, on blu-ray. The Appaloosa, also starring Marlon Brando is pretty good too; it is a minor classic.
Great cast, with the likes of Marlon Brando, Karl Malden and others, with a well written screenplay that provides some memorable lines by just about every actor in it.
Beware of the many bad video versions of this movie on DVD and even Blu ray that are out there. This new 2017 4K digital restoration is done by The Criterion Collection, and the results are stunning!
It's always been one of my favorite Westerns and Brando movies, and I am so glad it received this restoration so it can be totally enjoyed. The Blu ray version has tremendous clarity and sound is vastly better than any other version on the market. Truly this is the way to see it.
What's more, the disc has interesting supplemental material such as Brando's voice notes on script development, a fine video essay on how the film was (or almost wasn't) made, and an introduction by Scorsese, who oversaw the transfer with Spielberg.
I have only one minor criticism: the jewel box contains a six-leaf written essay by Howard Hampton, "Zen Nihilism." How this unreadable, tortured mess got into such an otherwise wonderful package is beyond me, but don't worry, you'll skip it after trying to read it anyway.
Based on the novel The Authentic Death Hendry Jones, Brando originally hired Rod Serling to write a treatment for the film but, ultimately, went back to the drawing board hiring Peckinpah to write the adaptation from scratch. After conflicts over casting among other things, it became clear to Kubrick that Brando wanted to direct the film himself and left. Peckinpah's script was rewritten by Caluder Willingham and, again. Guy Trosper to pen the final version that was used for shooting. After editing the film to a five hour length, the studio interceded and had it edited down to its current length of two hours and twenty-one minutes while Brando was out of the country shooting "Mutiny on The Bounty".
The Universal restoration completed at the behest of Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg (the film had fallen into public domain with inferior prints used as the source for various DVD releases) and looks exceptional. Colors are bold especially compared to the previous versions available (the film had faded and had to be restored from the Vista Vision negative along with the 35mm Y-layer separation master--the latter to bump up the faded blues). The audio, a weak point of the best print found in France, sounds exceptionally good as it was remixed and mastered from the 3 strip magnetic master.
The supplements are quite good for this release. Martin Scorsese provides the introduction to the film while video essays
looking at Brando's career and the turmoil filled production of the film. We also get selected scenes followed by stills from the scenes presented along with Brando's 1958 tape recordings discussing the development of each scene. Evidently Brando would use this process for many of the films he starred in. Be aware the volume is very low during these sections. We also get a essay written by Howard Hampton on the film.
Considering that I never imagined "One Eyed Jacks" would ever get a restoration much less an offical release in collaboration with Universal (who bought the rights to the Paramount film along with many other films for distribution to TV stations), this Blu-ray release is an unexpected thrill for this minor classic.
Brando plays Rio a bank robber who, with his partners "Dad" (Karl Malden) and "Doc", rob a Mexican bank. Pursued and found by Mexican rurales (somewhat like U.S. Marshals), Rio fights them off sending Dad to get them fresh horses from a nearby village. Rio is captured and Dad betrays him keeping the gold. When Rio gets out of prison, he pursues Dad for revenge.