the best DVD of ONE-EYED JACKS (1961)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Richard--W, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    One-Eyed Jacks proliferates in public domain editions. Without exception, all public domain editions are ports of Paramount's laser disc. To find the best quality DVD, I surveyed 19 different editions and several duplicates with the cover art changed. It is hard to keep track of which is which because public domain labels keep reissuing the same transfer with different covers. Many, but not all, of the editions are pictured here:
    http://www.dvdaf.com/search.html?has=one+eyed+jacks%2F%2F&init_form=str0_has_one+eyed+jacks%2F%2F
    The cleanest, sharpest, steadiest print appears on FRONT ROW FEATURES, widescreen but not anamorphic:
    [​IMG]
     
    Copies can often be found on ebay, but be cautious: if the cover isn't the same as above you're buying the wrong one. So far as I know, Front Row Features is no longer in business and their best edition of One-Eyed Jacks is out of print.
    Second-best was issued by BRENTWOOD. Picture quality is very close to the Front Row Features. Brentwood issued its port in various editions, singly and in packages, usually with a still from The Missouri Breaks on the cover, showing Brando raising a gun, two of which are pictured here:
    http://www.amazon.com/Legends-West-Jack-Palance/dp/B000068TOO/ref=sr_1_64?s=STORE&ie=UTF8&qid=1282712392&sr=1-64
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Marlon-Brando-One-Eyed-Jacks-1961-new-DVD-bargain-/370287775488?pt=US_DVD_HD_DVD_Blu_ray
    Both FRONT ROW FEATURES and BRENTWOOD are ported from the laser disc. Be advised they are not state of the art transfers, nor are they progressive, but they are quite enjoyable with a nice photo-chemical look and true to the original film. There are many widescreen editions on other public domain labels, but picture quality is not as good, probably because some are porting the transfer from each other instead from the laser. I would say Digiview is one of the worst.
    PARAMOUNT released the laser disc transfer to DVD in France under the title La Veangeance aux deux visages. What does that mean? The French DVD is not a port of the American laser disc. How do I know? The picture quality is better than the laser disc (which I have). But the blemishes are the same. It's the same transfer as the laser disc in slightly better quality. It also came out under the LES FILMS DE MA VIE label. Both are out of print. Check out the PARAMOUNT here:
    http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007XT5P6/dvdaficiona01-21
    Be advised the French editions are PAL in which the 4% speed-up plays hell with the pitch of the music, raising the voices too high, and the action too fast. This bothers me, but I hear some people never notice it.
     
    On a related note, Screen Archives has announced the release of Hugo Friedhofer's soundtrack in a special 2-disc limited edition August 31. Order it here:
     
    http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/14274/ONE-EYED-JACKS-2CD-1000-EDITION-PRE-ORDER/
     
  2. AlanP

    AlanP Supporting Actor

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    CRITERION are you LISTENING !!!
    How about "TWO WOMEN" as well that is another classic OSCAR winner waiting for a LOADED extra release !!!!
    What is the hold up with these two films ??
    Classics that merit a SUPERIOR release !!!
     
  3. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    I have a feeling (and I am not clairvoyant) that Criterion will get around to ONE-EYED JACKS. The movie simply cries out for their attention, now that Paramount is licensing to them. It wouldn't surprise me if this turned up in the 2011 announcements.
     
  4. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    It would surprise me. Unless it is directed by John Ford, Criterion discriminates against westerns. For example, they acquired Ride In the Whirlwind and The Shooting from Monte Hellman six or seven years ago, but have done nothing with them. Criterion has no intention of ever releasing a western.
     
    Perhaps the best we can hope for is that Olive Films might get it in their deal with Paramount.
     
  5. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Cinematographer

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    The reason Criterion may not have done anything with the Hellmans is that it may have decided that they were played out on DVD, unlike, for whatever reason, STAGECOACH. I don't know, but it's harsh to say that Criterion "discriminates" against any genre. It may just be that the more desirable Westerns, including the previously released and never-before-released ones, are locked up by the studios.
     
    Alas, it'll take a Criterion-level presentation to stir greater interest in a PD title like JACKS, something akin to the revelatory resurrection of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. That said I'd happily pay for a no-frills Olive presentation, rather than yet another rip of my two-decade-old LD.
     
  6. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Of course, Criterion also released The Furies and Ride with the Devil, both of which I reviewed and both of them westerns.
     
  7. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    There is also the promise of Red River as a future Criterion release.
     
  8. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    MattH is entirely correct that Criterion did release two important westerns, The Furies and Ride With the Devil, this past year, which I own and have discussed here but for some reason zoned out on. Together with John Ford's Stagecoach that makes 3 westerns out of 543 titles in the Criterion catalogue. If the promise of Red River comes to pass, it will be 4 westerns in how many years of releasing DVD's.
     
    I don't see Criterion releasing sleepers like Ride In the Whirlwind, The Shooting, and One-Eyed Jacks anytime soon if ever, not when they proliferate in cheap pulbic domain editions that undersell Criterion. Access delayed is access denied. Why Criterion sit on the first two instead of letting some other company release them is a puzzle. I'd rather see the films go back to VCI, who originally issued the restorations with Hellman's commentaries.
     
  9. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    Criterion released Charade on DVD when there were several P D versions, most of which were awful. Criterion have announced Charade on Blu-ray and those public domain DVDs are still out there.
     
     
  10. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    You have a point, but Charade is not a western.
     
    3 westerns in a catalogue of 543 releases tells you what?
     
  11. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    Well, it suggests - it doesn't tell us definitely - that whoever selects material at Criterion is not a major fan of Westerns. But I doubt it's as simple as that.
     
    Small, independant DVD producers like Criterion, Olive and Eureka in the U. K. run a tight ship with minimal overheads. This enables them to finance their operations with a relatively small volume of sales but it does not mean they have broken the mould. They still have to sell enough DVDs to receive back adequate cash to pay for that minimal overhead. The fact that a handful of enthusiasts agitate on Internet forums for an obscure title to be released on DVD does not prove that more than about hundred DVDs would be sold. Almost certainly Criterion need to sell a few thousand DVDs or BRDs to be financially viable.
     
    So for Criterion and other small operators, the big question will always be: how obscure is this movie? How many enthusiasts are there who will stump up the money and buy the DVD?
     
    My guess is that a high quality One Eyes Jacks product would sell a few thousand copies world wide but a comparable product of Ride In The Whirlwind would sell about a tenth of that.
     
    For what it's worth, I've always heard that when One Eyes Jacks was made, Marlon Brando extracted an insane deal from Paramount which gave him all the long term profits. If this is correct, it may be the reason Paramount have never released the movie on DVD.
     
     
  12. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I'm aware of these and other factors. I think you underestimate the number of DVDs sold. People who buy DVDs and Blu-rays outnumber the agitators on internet forums. No company would stay in business long if all they sold were a hundred or a thousand copies.







    So far as we know Criterion has not struck any kind of deal with Paramount or Brando's estate to release One-Eyed Jacks. So all this speculation that they might release the film in 2011 is just speculation. Brando remains a major star, and the proliferation of public domain editions testify to the films' popularity. It is a respected western among film buffs and western buffs, and I'm confident the demand for a decent edition easily exceeds a few thousand people.




    The case with Ride In the Whirlwind and The Shooting is a little different, and again, I think you underestimate the numbers. Neither film is as well known as One-Eyed Jacks, although I'm sure their cult following easily exceeds a few thousand consumers. Both films are already restored, supplemented, and provided with actor-director commentaries. VCI released them in 2000 to an overwhelmingly positive response. As a result, a new audience rediscovered both films. Hellman has stated publicly that Criterion has the home-video distribution rights. They would not have paid for those rights if they did not think a Criterion edition would at least pay for itself. So there is another reason why Criterion has not released them. Truth is, the two films have been sitting on the back burner for so long they're sticking to the bottom of the pan.




    A release delayed indefinitely is a release denied.




    Criterion has released many rare and obscure films. The quality of their transfers and pressings is impeccable. They are a class act, and I've cheerfully spent a lot of money on them over the years. But a company that only issues 3 westerns in a catalogue of 543 + films inclusive of all genres over the course of ten years has a definite attitude problem / indifference to / misconception of the genre that can be likened to discrimination.
     
  13. shureman

    shureman Auditioning

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    Since this discussion started, both e-bay and Amazon seem to have depleted their Front Row editions of JACKS...
     
  14. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    Gee, I wonder why.

    I'd post some screencaps I made from the DVD but this forum doesn't seem to like the Photobucket IMG code.
     
  15. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    Zeut alors!

    A French company called Wild Side Video has released what seems to be a decent (anamorphic!) region 2 DVD of One-Eyed Jacks, under the title La Vengeance aux deux visages.

    I ordered a copy from Amazon's French site, which says it has both English and French language tracks, and French subtitles.

    Here's the cover plus two screencaps. You can see more screencaps at: http://www.ecranlarge.com/movie_image-list-10983-dvd.php

    Really looking forward to having a look at this French DVD.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    One Eyed Jacks has also been released in Germany by Voulez Vous Film under the title Noch hänge ich nicht. The price is E6.99 on Amazon Germany.

    The cover claims this to be the best version of the movie ever. One "review" by an Amazon customer says - this is a free translation - " It's a pleasure at last to see a perfect version of this film. The label has gone the extra mile to present this master work in perfect quality. A milestone in the Western genre. There's still no Blu-ray: that would be ideal. Throw away all your other DVDs of this movie. This one is definitely the best."

    I have no idea how reliable that opinion is but I'm thinking of buying the DVD.
     
  17. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    Robin, if you get the German one, could you compare to those French frame grabs and let us know how the German version stacks up against the French one? Thanks!
     
  18. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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  19. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    That settles it! I'll buy the Blu-ray disc and yes, I will report back. (My feeling is that if Voulez Vous Film are releasing this on Blu-ray, they must either be confident of their elements or they must be total scoundrels cynically releasing a product they know to be sub-standard! I'll let you know)
     
  20. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Also, let us know if the blu-ray is region-free--I am very eager to own this as well.
     

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