One-Eyed Jacks (1961)

141 mins | Western | 30 March 1961

Director:

Marlon Brando

Producer:

Frank P. Rosenberg

Cinematographer:

Charles Lang Jr.

Editor:

Archie Marshek

Production Designers:

Hal Pereira, J. McMillan Johnson

Production Company:

Pennebaker, Inc.
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HISTORY

Originally titled Guns Up, One-Eyed Jacks was based on Charles Neider’s 1956 novel, The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones. In an article he wrote for the 26 Mar 1961 NYT, producer Frank P. Rosenberg stated that he purchased screen rights to Neider’s novel in 1957 after having lunch with the novelist in Pacific Palisades, CA. The two agreed Marlon Brando would be the perfect leading man, but considered his casting unlikely due to Brando’s incredible popularity at the time. By Apr 1958, Rosenberg had commissioned a screenplay from Sam Peckinpah, and sent one of two copies to Brando, who responded with enthusiasm. As noted in the 24 Apr 1958 DV, Brando’s production company, Pennebaker, Inc., optioned rights to Neider’s novel and Peckinpah’s screenplay for $150,000. Rosenberg was brought on to produce, with Paramount Pictures set to finance and distribute the picture. Brando considered making his directorial debut with the project at that time, but decided to hire Stanley Kubrick instead, according to the 13 May 1958 DV.
       Production was initially slated to begin in late Jun 1958, but the script was not completed in time. The 9 Jul 1958 DV noted that although the shoot was scheduled to begin in mid-Aug 1958, it would likely be further delayed. The project was still stalled when the 20 Nov 1958 DV announced that Stanley Kubrick had left the project to begin work on Lolita (1962, see entry). While the “official reason” given for Kubrick’s departure was a scheduling conflict, the 20 Nov 1958 NYT reported rumors that Kubrick and ... More Less

Originally titled Guns Up, One-Eyed Jacks was based on Charles Neider’s 1956 novel, The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones. In an article he wrote for the 26 Mar 1961 NYT, producer Frank P. Rosenberg stated that he purchased screen rights to Neider’s novel in 1957 after having lunch with the novelist in Pacific Palisades, CA. The two agreed Marlon Brando would be the perfect leading man, but considered his casting unlikely due to Brando’s incredible popularity at the time. By Apr 1958, Rosenberg had commissioned a screenplay from Sam Peckinpah, and sent one of two copies to Brando, who responded with enthusiasm. As noted in the 24 Apr 1958 DV, Brando’s production company, Pennebaker, Inc., optioned rights to Neider’s novel and Peckinpah’s screenplay for $150,000. Rosenberg was brought on to produce, with Paramount Pictures set to finance and distribute the picture. Brando considered making his directorial debut with the project at that time, but decided to hire Stanley Kubrick instead, according to the 13 May 1958 DV.
       Production was initially slated to begin in late Jun 1958, but the script was not completed in time. The 9 Jul 1958 DV noted that although the shoot was scheduled to begin in mid-Aug 1958, it would likely be further delayed. The project was still stalled when the 20 Nov 1958 DV announced that Stanley Kubrick had left the project to begin work on Lolita (1962, see entry). While the “official reason” given for Kubrick’s departure was a scheduling conflict, the 20 Nov 1958 NYT reported rumors that Kubrick and Brando parted ways over creative differences. Brando and actor Karl Malden were named as candidates for Kubrick’s replacement. A 20 Nov 1958 DV brief stated that Malden, who had been receiving a salary on the picture since 1 Sep 1958, declined an offer to direct, and the 21 Nov 1958 NYT confirmed that Brando had taken on the duty.
       On 1 Aug 1958, DV announced that Brando was set to receive one-hundred percent of the film’s profits (in addition to a $150,000 salary) “in the only deal of its kind thus far.” In exchange for financing the entire budget, Paramount would own “distribution rights, amounting to around 27% of the gross.”
       Rosenberg aided in the casting process by traveling to Mexico in search of unknown actresses for the role of “Louisa.” Pina Pellicer was ultimately chosen, and made her American film debut in the picture, as stated in the 15 Oct 1958 DV. According to the 12 Sep 1958 DV, actress Carol Leveque was tested for a leading role. An announcement in the 11 Dec 1958 DV listed Shichizo Takeda and Myoshi Jingu as recent additions to the cast, and the 1 and 10 Apr 1959 issues of DV noted that sixteen-year-old dancer Lolly Gohl and stuntman Jack Bellin would make their feature film acting debuts – with Bellin set to play the leader of a lynch mob. Chinese actress Lisa Lu was also cast as the “niece of a Chinese fisherman,” according to the 25 Aug 1959 LAT; however, Rosenberg’s 26 Mar 1961 NYT article indicated that Lu’s section of the film, “a transient love story between Brando and a Chinese girl,” was excised during post-production. According to an 11 May 1959 NYT article, Steven Marlo served as Marlon Brando’s stand-in.
       Principal photography began on 2 Dec 1958, as stated in a 26 Dec 1958 DV production chart. Although Mexico was mentioned as a starting location in the 21 Nov 1958 NYT, filming commenced in the Northern CA towns of Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur. The 22 Dec 1958 DV cited recent delays due to foggy weather, and reported that Brando had offered to fly cast and crew home for Christmas. On Monday, 5 Jan 1959, production moved to Paramount Pictures studios in Los Angeles, CA, where interiors were shot, according to the 2 Jan 1959 DV. When filming at Paramount was completed, desert exteriors were shot in Death Valley, CA. There, desert storms blew down some sets, the 20 Apr 1959 DV noted .
       The original budget was cited as $1.8 million in the 20 Feb 1961 NYT. A protracted shooting schedule, caused by Brando’s exhaustive, improvisational directing style, upped production costs to an estimated $6 million. Initially scheduled for sixty days, the shoot ultimately lasted six months, according to Rosenberg’s account in the 26 Mar 1961 NYT.
       A 24 May 1959 NYT article described the script as “rewritten beyond recognition” due to actors’ improvisations, and indicated that at least one of three screenwriters on set was regularly making complaints to the Writers Guild of America (WGA). In addition to improvisations, Brando used “tricks” to elicit performances, as noted in the 19 May 1960 LAT. In one instance, he secretly asked Karl Malden to fake a heart attack during a scene, and in another, he offered background actors prize money for the best reaction in a flogging scene. In a 27 Dec 1959 LAT interview, Brando expressed dissatisfaction with the cast’s acting abilities, stating, “Of my cast, Karl Malden, of course, knew all the mechanics of acting. Miriam Colon, too. But with the majority I had to be with them, on them, handling them all the time.” According to the 2 Apr 1959 DV, the production switched from a five-day schedule to a six-day schedule to complete shooting in time for Brando to begin work on The Fugitive Kind (1960, see entry). Brando was also reportedly living on the Paramount studios lot to save time. In the meantime, assistant director Francisco Day had to leave the project for a prior commitment to The Magnificent Seven (1960, see entry).
       Problems that arose during filming included an injury endured by Brando during a jail escape scene, in which actor Slim Pickens accidentally struck Brando’s head too forcefully with a rifle butt, as noted in the 16 Jan 1959 LAT. Brando was treated with several stitches in his forehead, and only one side of his face was shot while the wound healed, according to the 20 Feb 1961 NYT. Another incident, in which Brando allegedly hit an unnamed actor too hard during a fight scene, prompted that actor to quit. He was replaced by an extra. The 26 Feb 1959 DV reported that Brando, whose “method acting” style entailed extreme absorption in his character, got actually drunk for one scene, and made actors Sam Gilman, Ben Johnson, and Larry Duran drink Old Crow bourbon for a “drunken card game scene.” The 4 Mar 1959 DV stated that Brando had recently “passed out” on the set and blamed exhaustion.
       When filming was still underway, the 17 Mar 1959 LAT reported that Brando’s wife Anna Kashfi sued him for divorce on the grounds of cruelty, stating that Brando inflicted upon her “grievous mental suffering, distress and injury.” The 23 Apr 1959 LAT noted the divorce was finalized and Kashfi would be paid a settlement fee of $500,000.
       Principal photography concluded on 2 Jun 1959, as stated in the 26 Mar 1961 NYT. Brando was said to have shot more “takes” than any director in Hollywood history, in an article in the 8 Nov 1959 LAT. Rosenberg claimed that over one million feet of film were exposed, and 250,000 feet were printed, as opposed to the average for a similarly budgeted picture: 150,000 feet exposed and 40,000 printed. The initial rough cut was around four hours and forty minutes long. Brando eventually decided to re-shoot the ending, and an additional day of filming took place in Monterey on 14 Oct 1960. The 17 Oct 1960 LAT noted that in the new ending, Pina Pellicer’s character, Louisa, lived instead of died.
       The picture opened to mixed reviews on 30 Mar 1961 in New York City. Although the 15 Mar 1961 DV review predicted it would be a box-office success, an item in the 23 Oct 1961 LAT suggested it was unlikely the film would earn the necessary $13 million in ticket sales for Paramount to break even. Advance tickets were initially made available at Sun Ray Drug Stores, according to the 24 Mar 1961 DV; however, the 19 Apr 1961 Var indicated Paramount would likely cancel the promotion because it was causing confusion at oversold showings.
       Charles Lang, Jr. was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, and the film was awarded the Golden Seashell (Best Picture) at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain, as noted in a 19 Jul 1961 DV news item.
       One-Eyed Jacks was the only motion picture directed by Marlon Brando, and the last film to be shot in VistaVision, according to the 16 May 2016 PR Newswire, which announced that “the original 35mm VistaVision negative” had been “digitally scanned in 6K and restored in 4K.” The restoration was advocated for and overseen by filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. The updated version debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, as part of the “Cannes Classics” series, on 16 May 2016. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Apr 1958
p. 1, 5.
Daily Variety
9 May 1958
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 May 1959
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1958
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Aug 1958
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
12 Sep 1958
p. 13.
Daily Variety
18 Sep 1958
p. 4.
Daily Variety
8 Oct 1958
p. 2.
Daily Variety
15 Oct 1958
p. 7.
Daily Variety
20 Nov 1958
p. 1, 3.
Daily Variety
20 Nov 1958
p. 2.
Daily Variety
21 Nov 1958
p. 1, 3.
Daily Variety
11 Dec 1958
p. 11.
Daily Variety
22 Dec 1958
p. 2.
Daily Variety
26 Dec 1958
p. 6.
Daily Variety
2 Jan 1959
p. 5.
Daily Variety
2 Feb 1959
p. 6.
Daily Variety
26 Feb 1959
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Mar 1959
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Apr 1959
p. 4.
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1959
p. 2.
Daily Variety
10 Apr 1959
p. 3.
Daily Variety
20 Apr 1959
p. 2.
Daily Variety
24 Mar 1961
p. 23.
Daily Variety
30 Jun 1961
p. 1.
Daily Variety
19 Jul 1961
p. 1.
Daily Variety
15 Mar 1961
pp. 3-4.
Los Angeles Times
21 Nov 1958
Section A, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
16 Jan 1959
Section B, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
17 Mar 1959
Section B, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
23 Apr 1959
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
25 Aug 1959
p. 27.
Los Angeles Times
8 Nov 1959
Section I, p. 26, 29.
Los Angeles Times
27 Dec 1959
Section D, p. 1, 4.
Los Angeles Times
19 May 1960
Section B, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
17 Oct 1960
Section C, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
12 Nov 1960
Section B, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
29 Jun 1961
Section C, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
23 Oct 1961
Section C, p. 10.
New York Times
20 Nov 1958
p. 43.
New York Times
21 Nov 1958
p. 24.
New York Times
11 May 1959
p. 31.
New York Times
24 May 1959.
---
New York Times
20 Feb 1961
p. 33.
New York Times
26 Mar 1961.
---
New York Times
31 Mar 1961
p. 21.
PR Newswire
16 May 2016.
---
Variety
11 Nov 1959
p. 20.
Variety
19 Apr 1961
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Technicolor col consultant
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Marlon brando's makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Tech adv
Tech adv
Dialogue coach
STAND INS
Stand-in for Marlon Brando
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones by Charles Neider (New York, 1956).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Guns Up
Guns Up!
Release Date:
30 March 1961
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 30 March 1961
Los Angeles opening: week of 29 June 1961
Production Date:
2 December 1958--2 June 1959
re-shoots on 14 October 1960
Copyright Claimant:
Pennebaker, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1960
Copyright Number:
LP19590
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
VistaVision
Duration(in mins):
141
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1880, while fleeing from the Mexican police, two bank robbers, Rio and Dad Longworth, have one of their horses shot out from under them. Rio agrees to remain behind while his friend rides off to get a new mount from a nearby ranch, but, motivated by self-preservation and greed, Longworth abandons Rio and rides off alone with the gold. After spending five years in the Sonora prison, Rio escapes with a cellmate, Modesto, and makes his way to the California border. There he learns that Longworth has become the sheriff of Monterey and has married a Mexican woman who has a grown daughter. Consumed by his passion for revenge, Rio joins forces with two outlaws, Amory and Harvey, who are planning to rob the Monterey bank. By feigning friendship and denying that he was ever caught, Rio wins the trust of the guilt-ridden Longworth. As part of his plan, Rio seduces his arch-enemy's virginal stepdaughter, Louisa, and then brutally tells her the truth about himself. A short time later, Rio kills a drunken bully in self-defense, and Longworth uses the incident as an excuse for publicly whipping Rio, smashing his shooting hand, and driving him out of town. For several weeks Rio practices firing with his hand in a sling and once more returns to Monterey, but his growing love for Louisa, who is pregnant, has become stronger than his hatred of Longworth, and he decides to call off his vendetta. However, Amory and Harvey rob the Monterey bank; Longworth blames Rio, has him imprisoned, and arranges for a hanging. With the aid of a gun smuggled to him by Louisa, he overpowers the sadistic deputy sheriff, Lon, ... +


In 1880, while fleeing from the Mexican police, two bank robbers, Rio and Dad Longworth, have one of their horses shot out from under them. Rio agrees to remain behind while his friend rides off to get a new mount from a nearby ranch, but, motivated by self-preservation and greed, Longworth abandons Rio and rides off alone with the gold. After spending five years in the Sonora prison, Rio escapes with a cellmate, Modesto, and makes his way to the California border. There he learns that Longworth has become the sheriff of Monterey and has married a Mexican woman who has a grown daughter. Consumed by his passion for revenge, Rio joins forces with two outlaws, Amory and Harvey, who are planning to rob the Monterey bank. By feigning friendship and denying that he was ever caught, Rio wins the trust of the guilt-ridden Longworth. As part of his plan, Rio seduces his arch-enemy's virginal stepdaughter, Louisa, and then brutally tells her the truth about himself. A short time later, Rio kills a drunken bully in self-defense, and Longworth uses the incident as an excuse for publicly whipping Rio, smashing his shooting hand, and driving him out of town. For several weeks Rio practices firing with his hand in a sling and once more returns to Monterey, but his growing love for Louisa, who is pregnant, has become stronger than his hatred of Longworth, and he decides to call off his vendetta. However, Amory and Harvey rob the Monterey bank; Longworth blames Rio, has him imprisoned, and arranges for a hanging. With the aid of a gun smuggled to him by Louisa, he overpowers the sadistic deputy sheriff, Lon, and escapes from jail. Just as he reaches the street, Longworth arrives. In the final meeting between the two enemies, it is Longworth who is killed. Rio says goodbye to Louisa, promises to return, and rides away. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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