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One-Eyed Jacks (1961)

Duration2h 21m
RatingsUK: PG, USA: YV-PG, Spain: 13 
Source of storyIt started off being based on “The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones” by Charles Neider
DirectorMarlon Brando
Writers/ScriptGuy Trosper, Caider Willingham
StarringMarlon Brando, Karl Malden, Katy Jurado, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Pina Pellicer, 
RatingsIMDb: 7.1 by 11,273 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 61% by 18 reviewers. Review2view: 5/10.

Elevator Pitch: Rio (Marlon Brando), Dad Longworth (Karl Malden) and Doc rob a bank in Mexico and are chased by the Rurales who kill Doc and capture Rio. Dad has escaped with the proceeds of the robbery. After five years in prison Rio escapes with Chico and with a new gang tracks down Dad to a town where he is now sheriff. Rio falls for Dad’s stepdaughter and they get together on the night of a fiesta. Later dad finds out and supported by his deputies, ties Rio up and whips him. The gang retreat to a beachside hacienda run by some Chinese, and unbeknown to Rio the others kill Chico and in a bodged bank robbery, kill the teller and a girl. Rio is captured and accused of the robbery and murder, and from the window of his cell can see the scaffold to hang him being erected. 

Content: A various time sex is implied to be going to take place, or has taken place, but no nudity. The scenery is dramatic, much of the film taking place within the sight and sound of the Pacific Ocean. Rio generally looks inscrutable, no matter what it happening. He is supposed to fall in love with Louisa, well  you could have fooled me. There are a number of gunfights and one scene where Dad whips Rio. Rio spends time in jail, at one point with a dog in his cell, and at other times he is just sort of hanging around.

A View: For film buffs this is quite an important work, the only film directed by Marlon Brando. Sufficiently important to have been restored by Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. But it seemed to me that Brando never looked quite comfortable in the role, and unfortunately the music grates a bit. It is also quite a long film, in which not too much happens, so really only a film for those who interested in the career of Marlon Brando.

Other 1960s Westerns you might like a bit more: The Magnificent Seven, The Wild Bunch, A Fistful of Dollars

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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