Behind the Scenes: Marlon Brando and One-Eyed Jacks

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The 1961 western One-Eyed Jacks marks the lone directorial effort of Marlon Brando. A morally bleak yet visually lush revenge yarn, the film is now considered a classic of the genre and counts among its admirers Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino.

But at the time of its release the movie was a costly albatross for Paramount and the beginning of a downward spiral of excess by Brando that tarnished his career to the point that Francis Ford Coppola had to jump through a myriad of hoops in order to cast Brando in The Godfather (1972).

One-Eyed Jacks‘ troubled production history includes the firing of screenwriter Sam Peckinpah and original director Stanley Kubrick. Brando took over as director following Kubrick’s departure and the film’s original 12 week shooting schedule and $1.8 million budget ultimately ballooned into a six-month shoot with a $6 million price tag.

Brando’s initial cut of the film ran nearly five hours. When Paramount requested substantial changes, Brando walked away from the movie and the studio sliced One-Eyed Jacks down to two hours and 21 minutes and altered the ending to a happier one.

Below is a collection of behind the scene stills from the film. The images come from a trio of sources – the blog Cinephilia and Beyond, the website Selvedgeyard.com and the blog Fifties Westerns. Toby Roan, the gentleman behind the blog Fifties Westerns, is also working on a book about Brando’s oater titled A Million Feet of Film: The Making of One-Eyed Jacks.
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