"One Eyed Jacks" 1961
"One Eyed Jacks", Marlon Brando’s one and only directorial effort, is often cited as one of the milestones on the actor’s road to decline; a decline that seemed irreversible until his glorious resurrection and redemption with "The Godfather" in 1972. The film was a box office catastrophe and critics were unimpressed.
In 1961 the Western was still the entertainment industry’s genre du jour, and apparently “Jacks”—as a face-off of nihilistic anti heroes—was an unwelcome departure from the canon. The film didn’t quite break the mold, but it certainly cracked it. Ironically, only five or so years later Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah would obliterate the mold and everybody was cool with that.
"One Eyed Jacks" holds up well today, and from our vantage point of long-lost innocence, the nihilistic edge that was off-putting in 1961 seems quite mild. Brando did alright as a director, and (of course) shone as an actor. And Carl Mauldin, one of the best journeyman actors we’ve ever had, gave his usual strong performance. "One Eyed Jacks" is slightly less than a masterpiece, but definitely not the fiasco it was deemed at the time. Certainly worth seeing…repeatedly.
A ‘what if’ footnote: Initially Stanley Kubrick was slated to direct and Sam Peckinpah was to write the screenplay, but scheduling and contractual conflicts precluded that.
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The Sexiest Man in the World is a great dancer. Of course.
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An animated short film and a succinct lesson in Capitalism.
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Santana/Laurel and Hardy; “Oye como va”