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USA 1961
Directed by
Marlon Brando
141 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

One-Eyed Jacks

Marlon Brando's one-and-only directorial effort (Stanley Kubrick was originally slated to direct but departed after falling out the big B) and the final major release shot in Paramount's wide-screen format, VistaVision, is a legendary Hollywood debacle that bombed at the box office under the weight of bad publicity about the director's unbridled egoism.

Adapted from a slim novel "The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones", by Charles Neider and based on the character of Billy the Kid, Brando, apparently obsessing about every aspect, turned it into Oedipal battle royal. The result, 6 months and 1,000,000 feet of film later, was a print that ran 4 hours 42 minutes that Paramount cut neatly in half to 2 hours 21 minutes.

Despite its critical drubbing it's got an off-beat quality, thanks to Brando's exaggerated Method School anti-hero approach, some strangely atypical features such as the Monterey locations and the dark story. Karl Malden (who had also appeared with Brando in the Elia Kazan classics,  A Streetcar Named Desire and On The Waterfront) is excellent as the villain whilst Pina Pellicer, who plays Louisa, was an untrained actor, never appeared in another film, and committed suicide several years later. If there is one insistent shortcoming it's the cut-and-paste editing particularly in the one-on-one scenes.




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