Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
I got Lucky!
James Wells | Kooskia, ID | 12/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found this disc (the VINA Distributor brand) at a discount clearence type store for $2.99. I had an OK full screen copy of One Eyed Jacks, but it had washed out color, and bad sound (I got it at a dollar store). This disc has Brando in profile on the front with some bad cut-and-paste clip art playing cards, the jack of spades, and the jack of hearts. Both have some digital flames on the top edge. There is "***Leonard Maltin" under the title, and " Never Double-Cross A Partner!" in some stupid looking font. This disc is in widescreen letterbox (not anamorphic) and claims on the box to have Dolby Digital sound. It is the cleanest picture of this movie I have ever seen. My other copy has scratches in a lot of scenes, this one has no scratches that I could see. The sound was very clear, and had no hiss or pops, like the other one. There are no features exept a chapter menu. A lot of reviewers on Amazon for this Awesome movie say that the disc they bought is bad, but never give the name of the distributor. I got lucky I guess, two DVD's only $3.99 invested and I got a good one.
Movie = Ten Stars (out of Five)
DVD = Four Stars (out of Five)"
One of the GREAT Westerns
- Durrkk | Ohio/PA border USA | 07/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Theatrical Release: March 30, 1961
Director: Marlon Brando
Runtime: 2 hours and 21 minutes
Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Pina Pellicer, Katy Jurado, Slim Pickens, Ben Johnson, Sam Gilman and Larry Duran
DVD INFO: Since "One-Eyed Jacks" is public domain it has been released by numerous dvd companies with varying levels of quality. One version I saw was so bad it was unwatchable, but I can highly recommend two: Digiviw (which is available for a buck at Wal-Mart) and Platinum Disc Corporation (or PDC Home Entertainment). Both of these versions are WIDESCREEN (despite the fact that the Digiview version erroneously says on the back cover that it's full frame) and the picture quality is very good. So don't let the fact that these versions are usually sold for a buck fool you; these are quality dvds worthy of your video library. Other reviewers here at Amazon testify that the Front Row version is very good as well.
THE STORY: Dad Longworth (Malden) literally "takes the money and runs" as he leaves his young partner in crime, Kid Rio (Brando), behind to rot in a Mexican prison. Rio escapes 5 years later with only vengeance on his mind. He finds Dad in Monterey, California, now a respectable town Sheriff with a Mexican wife (Jurado) and step-daughter Louisa (Pina), living the American Dream on the beautiful Pacific coast. The situation is complicated by Rio's teaming up with two lowlife criminals whose only intent is to rob the Monterey bank, as well as Rio's romantic dallyings with Louisa.
"One-Eyed Jacks" was Brando's only stab at directing and his original cut of the film was twice as long (!). I would love to see this director's cut, which HAS been shown on TV, but this 141-minute cut is fine as is.
Not only is "One-Eyed Jacks" one of the best Westerns of all time, it's also one of Brando's top films, along with "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1962), "The Young Lions" and the underrated "The Missouri Breaks," not to mention "Apocalypse Now."
What makes it so great? Numerous things. Brando is at his most captivating here, but the story is entrancing as well, even though it's much more of a slow drama than an action/adventure film. When it comes, however, the action is quick and realistic.
There are numerous themes running through the long story. One of the major ones is the clash of the misfit with conventional society. Since society is composed of a bunch of conformist misfits, the misfit must learn to conform if s/he wants to fit in and succeed. In other words, if you want to 'make it' in conventional society it's necessary to hide your problematic past & flaws and put on a front of respectability. Dad Longworth has figured this out and he's not about to allow Rio to ruin it for him. (I'm not saying I completely agree with this as I don't believe in being fake, just that it's one of the major themes of the story).
I would like to offer a word of defense for Dad Longworth here. Although it was wrong for him to take the money and leave Rio to be captured, one can't help but empathize with him and the reasons why he gave in to the temptation. If he went back for Rio there was a high risk of getting captured or killed. The safest and most promising route was the selfish route. The good thing is that Dad wisely took advantage of this opportunity and made a good life for himself in Monterey. He was obviously sick of his criminal lifestyle and wanted a real life, a real job and real family. He was getting on in years and knew that this may well be his final opportunity, so he took it.
The problem is that one's past always has a way of haunting us, which is another theme of the film; hence, Rio walks back into Dad's life 5 years later and his American dream is seriously threatened. Notice Dad's rage when he whips/beats Rio to an inch of his life; he's doing everything in his power to kill the ugly phantoms of his past, which is why he tries to get Rio hung on false charges later in the story.
Another theme is redemption and how love is tied to any such positive transformation. Both Dad and Rio are criminal scumbags, but both desire redemption and a better life. The love of Dad's wife and the Monterey general populace brings this out in Dad, whereas Louisa's love for Rio slowly changes him. Near the end we plainly see that Rio no longer wants to kill Dad, he doesn't even want to see him; all he wants is to run off with his lady love. If Rio remained the same person he was at the beginning of the story "One-Eyed Jacks" wouldn't be half the film it is.
In addition, Dad's love for Katie, his Mexican wife, is what delivered Katie and Louisa "from the beanfields," as Dad puts it.
Love goes hand-in-hand with loyalty or faithfulness. We see this in Rio's likable Mexican sidekick, Chico (Larry Duran).
One of the best qualities of "Jacks" is that it's refreshingly realistic. There's no goofiness, unbelievable one-liners, over-the-top action or excruciatingly dated aspects.
Speaking of dated, although the opening credits sequence and score are dated and boring, the rest of the film isn't. So don't let this sequence cause you to tune out. The rest of the score (by Hugo Friedhofer) is great.
"One-Eyed Jacks" was the obvious precursor to the Spaghetti Western. For instance, the protagonist is a dyed-in-the-wool "cool" anti-hero (like, say, Eastwood or Bronson). The main difference between "Jacks" and most Spaghetti Westerns, however, is that "Jacks" has a truly worthwhile story wherein numerous gems of wisdom can be gleaned, which can't be said about films like "The Good, the Boring and the Ugly" (don't get me wrong, I love the music and style of that film, it's just that the plodding story and scumbag characters leave much to be desired); also the anti-hero in "One-Eyed Jacks" slowly transforms into a potentially positive member of society.
The film's influence goes well beyond just the Spaghetti Westerns. Take, for instance, Brando's crucifixion-style beating and long restoration. The film "Conan the Barbarian" pretty much ripped-off this entire sequence; Arnold Schwarzenegger even admits to it.
Pina Pellicer does an outstanding job as Rio's girlfriend Louisa (Dad's step-daughter). Although she's definitely good-looking she's too skinny for my personal tastes. Spiritually-speaking, however, she's incredible. Although she commits a foolish error by sleeping with Rio after the festival (she probably had too much to drink -- another error), on a whole she's the epitome of love, virtue and spirituality. Again, this love is the key factor in Rio's positive metamorphosis.
Unfortunately Pina committed suicide three and a half years after "Jacks" was released. Thankfully we have this film to remember her beauty and virtue. She deserves to be honored.
"Jacks" was filmed entirely in California with all the coastal sequences photographed on the Monterey Pennisula, including Pebble Beach. This is one of the only Westerns where you'll see the Pacific Ocean, and it's truly glorious! Other locations include Big Sur and Death Valley.
CONCLUSION: Don't miss out on "One-Eyed Jacks," Brando's only directorial effort. It's truly one of the GREAT Westerns, as well as one of Brando's most captivating performances.
Hopefully they'll release the 5-hour "Director's cut" one day."