My generation might recognize him from this viral gif, but most know Hollywood icon Marlon Brando from quintessential films “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now.” Brando’s prolific career spanned 6 decades and earned him two Best Actor Oscars, but, as you’ll see below, it wasn’t without its road bumps.
“One-Eyed Jacks” is Marlon Brando’s directorial debut and the only film he has ever directed. The western follows outlaw Rio (Marlon Brando), who unintentionally falls in love with the stepdaughter (Pina Pellicer) of the very enemy he seeks to destroy. From its inception to its release, “One-Eyed Jacks” was riddled with complications. The Paramount Pictures feature was originally meant to be directed by Stanley Kubrick, but Kubrick left the project to work on his adaptation of “Lolita.” Production brought additional challenges; shooting took months longer than expected and the film went over budget by millions. Furthermore, postproduction was delayed due to Brando’s inexperience as an editor. By the time release date rolled around, “One-Eyed Jacks” had run itself into a monetary deficit.
Though “One-Eyed Jacks” wasn’t received well by critics upon its initial release, it has garnered more positive attention in recent years. The western was hand-picked by filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg to be included in the Cannes Classics section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Additionally, in 2018, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
“One-Eyed Jacks” is proof that initial reception isn’t always indicative of future appreciation, and that decades can turn a commercial flop into a cult favorite.