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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful: took a few times, but...., 10 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I first saw this film, either with my Dad, or possibly at a local theater with my brother while Mom shopped nearby. The reason I remember it, quite frankly, is the magnificent cinematography described by almost every previous poster. Absolutely stunning, words really won't describe.

If anyone chooses to view this flick after reading through some reviews here, be sure to watch it on a big screen, full wide.

I didn't like this film when I was a kid, but I did like Blakes character. I tried watching it again about 10 years ago, and, for whatever reason, I found some of the disjointed scenes distracting. I didn't really care for the somewhat surreal scenes featuring Elisha Cook, the waitress, or the Zipper character at his mobile home. I also still believe the Bob Zemko character could have benefited with a real actor playing him, although the guy from Chicago was adequate. He just didn't have much film 'presence'.

OK, all of that said, I viewed the film yesterday, and it worked for me. It really, really did. The reason I gave it a 7 as opposed to an 8, is because It took three tries to really 'get it'. But it finally took, and I was able to get involved with the Wintergreen character, and why the more disjointed scenes weigh heavily onto his character development.

The waitresses scene is awesome. The Zipper scene showed the desperation of that character, and how much he looked up to Wintergreen. It almost reminded me of Harvey Keitels confessional scene in "Bad Luitenant", as in, he'd like to do the right thing, but he was just too weak. I found the 'Harve' character operates more as a benchmark for how 'big' the Wintergreen character is.....and always was. And without spoiling too much, it was just a story choice to give it the ending which speaks of the uselessness and randomness of it all. The film (as I interpreted it today) would have even worked with a 'nothing special' ending wherein Wintergreen could have split the force, become a great detective, whatever. It wouldn't have effected the 'meat' of the story for me.

But is was well filmed.

My opinion on the 'flaws' of this movie., 19 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wrote this up in the context of a message board topic. I wound up getting a bit comprehensive, so I figured I would post it here, as well. For the record, I really like this movie, but I must be 'in the mood' for it. One of Brandos best performances, equally good are Malden, Johnson and Pellicer. Even the lesser roles and semi cameos (ex., Timothy Carey), are good, and the cinematography....just WOW. Here's where my 'message board blog' begins.....

Wow. I've had a good print of this for 2-3 years, and just decided today to watch it 'big screen'. For no reason whatsoever, I decided to attempt to understand what Brando was looking to make, as opposed to what Paramount finished, or Kubrick was involved with. For the record, Kubrick leaving makes this the 'missed opportunity' of All-Time Hollywood, IMO. As others have stated, clearly there are entire chunks of storyline missing. I believe Marlon went in there and tried to fully develop 6-7 characters in this film. (example...the Tim Carey character. He's well known to Dad, and at the 'Chili Scene' he has a nice big shiner...from where?) It seems to me a few of the characters (as edited) enter the film already developed. His Mexican partner, Dad's wife, even Lon. Luisa seems to 'grow' emotionally in between the scenes we see her. I believe Brando's cut of this would have been four hours long. This was because he was developing a common theme for them all. The film is called "One Eyed Jacks"....plural! What Marlon was 'directing', through all of the scenes, day in, day out, was the idea every character had two faces to show. Take the business of Rio sleeping with Luisa. Luisa (pure) lies to Dad and her mother (also played fairly pure). Dad asks Mom to find out the truth, and tell him. The girl lies to Mom, Mom KNOWS IT, and in turn lies to her husband. Everyone, even the good guys, are full know what. In fact, the film, as cut, purest characters are the gang. Amory, the other guy, and Rio's jail pal. But, as the film is edited, you know there was a ton of back story with Rio's jail pal, as well. I mean, yeah, I grasp that they escaped from jail together, but through their interaction, it is clear there were more scenes between them on the floor. Flawed? How about this train of thought. Kubrick was planning his 'duality of man' theme we saw developed later in "Full Metal Jacket". Marlon stepped in and tried to 'flesh out fully' every major character. This would have somewhat contradicted Kubricks style of coldness towards 'dramatic stereotypes'. Also, bare in mind, it has been said that Brando intended the ending to be completely ambiguous. Then, when Marlon couldn't stand the pressure of editing, Paramount had to 'create' a cohesive story out of all this. I think Marlons 4 hour 'drama' would have been a fascinating bit of film history for film geeks, but would have been DOA at the box office. Paramount probably tried to put the ambitious vision together, but couldn't come up with a cohesive version that moved. So what they wound up doing was this: They decided to attempt two dramatic character arcs. The Brando/Malden characters are given coinciding arcs, and all the other film/characters become plot aids. The Pina Pellicer character becomes the device that 'changes' Rio, even though her character was probably much fuller on script. And because she is the pivotal change device, she garners more film time then feels right....because there always seems to be something missing, owing to interactions involving the other characters, all of which we don't see, as they've been edited out. Paramounts other choice would have been to edit together a simple revenge movie. This may have even played better at the box office. I'm glad they went the way they did. For's an edit I can imagine being done. The film opens much the same as it does, up until Rio gets captured. Now spend about another 10 minutes in the jail, where Rio is brooding with his com padre, steaming inside. They plan their escape. He meets Amory, goes up to Monterey. You can do the whole 'Dinner at Dads, Town Party' segue way without affecting the film. Rio seduces Luisa, the following morning, he tells her he's shamed her...and FADE THERE. She has no response. She is now just a plot tool to show Rio getting even with Dad. Now splice in either the bank robbery or the killing of Tim Carey....any reason to put Rio in jail. Get the gun on the table....get a distraction to get Lon out of the room, you can do the whole 'tension scene' involving Rio getting the gun. He gets out, Dad and Rio shoot it out. I'm sure versions were shot with both dying. Or it wouldn't surprise me. No love interest, not much focus on Amory, no whipping, broken hands, recovery. Or maybe get the whippings in there, somehow. But my point is, it seems to me Paramount made an attempt to give us something other than a simple revenge/shoot 'em up, which they could have. OK, my very flawed writing style gives all sorts of 'flaws' in this film. BTW, I love this movie....I really do, one of my favs. Peace

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Cashing in on a hot property., 24 October 2009

First off, I rated this flick a '7' because I like the old Hollywood stuff. From that, my first real fascination was with the "Universal" monster stuff, particularly 1936 and before. With that in mind, here is my review. Quite simply, this is a Warner Brothers 'knockoff' of the Whale/Karloff Frankenstein films, with a particularly strong nod to 1935's "Bride". The entire time I was watching, including the 'scientific' scenes, I kept seeing the 'Monster'. A couple of very 'telling' things: the Karloff character removes his dentures after the re-animation sequence. There is a silver streak in his hair at the same height as the 'monsters' flat head. He is dressed in the same dark outfit, and lumbers around. The imagery is strong. While the over the top Jack Pierce make-up is absent, the lighting, etc, and the above things mentioned create a more 'human monster' visual, but it is there. Next the first "Frankenstein", one could be forgiven for not finding the monster altogether sympathetic. After all, despite Whale/Karloff's sympathetic presentation, the thing is a child killer. He also ends the film in murderous rage directed at Henry. However, in "Bride", there is no such ambiguity. With the exception of the first murder (Maria's father underneath the mill), we are clearly shown who the 'victim' is in the film. The film score in "Bride" is exquisite as well, a slow pulse throbbing underneath a majestic arrangement. Enough of the set-up. In "The Walking Dead", I saw the sympathetic reanimated Karloff character (looking much like the 'monster' in the shadows) lumbering around while some really bad 'know it all characters' get their comeuppance, one by one. There is a similarly soaring film score delivered over an insistent bass pulse. Where this film differs is, instead of the "Universal" staples of 'mad doctor', Una O'Conner type comic relief/character actors, you get the Warners staples. Cynical lawyers, DA's and gangsters, etc. All of that said, I enjoyed this film. I probably hadn't seen it in 35 years, if at all. All of those things that may seem like negatives, as written above? I like the Warners 'stock characters' and love the "Universal" monster stuff. I just saw all the similarities, and noted the year of 1936. This film definitely was targeting a particular audience...the "Universal Audience". Ms. Churchill even appeared in that sexy scene from "Dracula's Daughter" featuring Gloria Holden that very year. I thought Cortez did his "Warners thing" well in this flick, and Mr. Glenn was good. If you like the kind of flicks I do, you'll enjoy seeing this as a curio. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I do not see this as some type of 'forgotten classic'. Far too many plot holes. (the most famous guy in the world, being watched by everybody, seems to effortlessly disappear and reappear without anyone noticing, and in the most OBVIOUS of places). But again, for what it is (a genre knockoff), it is well directed, well filmed, and has all of the right people in all of the right places.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Just saw this on, 20 February 2008

This is a basic TV "Armstrong Playhouse" production from 1953. Needless to say, I watched it to see young Dean. He plays a down on his luck warehouse worker with a sick child at home. He's trying to win at poker during his lunch break, but isn't too lucky there either. Gene Lockhart plays a kindly old worker that only gambles on the "Newspapers Dollar Lotto". He dreams of one day winning and going back to Ireland. He's a kindly old sort; always taking time to advise the Dean character who is basically mad at the world, and his lot in life. There is an interesting scene in which Dean's wife shows up during the poker game, probably to get his pay. When Dean gets up to leave, another player starts a little brawl to keep him there, as Dean has won the others money....and he wants a chance to win it back. You do see flashes of what we'd later see here. Just a fascinating little thing....less than a half hour watch. The ending is kind of predictable. It's really just worth seeing for the young Dean. He was probably still in training at the Actors Studio in NYC, as I'm sure this was taped in NY. It probably fed him for a month or two while in NY trying to make a break.