One Eyed Jacks, VistaVision, & the like...

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Christopher Lee, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Christopher Lee

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    Hello, I've been trying to figure out if there has ever been a DVD version of Marlon Brando's sole directorial effort, One Eyed Jacks, released in the proper theatrical aspect ratio. I've read that it was the second to last film made using the VistaVision process, and that the process could be used to create both a 1.66:1 and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Based on information at IMDB, the film was intended to be shown at 1.85:1.

    I've looked into the available DVD versions listed at Amazon, and while there are quite a few, many seen to be described as full frame. I'm wondering if this means that the matting has been removed so the top and bottom of the image are now simply filling up the screen or if we're looking at pan & scan. In any case, it sounds like this film has yet to receive any significant release, and that issues with both the quality of the image and the presentation of the image have yet to be fully dealt with (although I think it was Technicolor and should have held up fairly well on its own). I could be completely wrong here, and would welcome any input on this seemingly forgotten classic western.

    Additionally, if anyone would like to go into an explanation of the VistaVision process and how it worked, I would love to hear about it.

    Thanks very much for any thoughts.
     
  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Marty Hart's American Widescreen Museum site has full specs on VistaVision here: http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/wide...isionspecs.htm

    Since it's likely the PD releases are from either 16mm or normal 35mm reductions, it's likely cropped on the sides.

    Using the old pan & scan North by Northwest as a reference, it might be opened up slightly on the top and bottom, but lots of cropping to the left and right.
     
  3. Bruce Morrison

    Bruce Morrison Supporting Actor

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    The fundamental problem with 'One-Eyed Jacks' on DVD is that Paramount, in their wisdom, inexplicably allowed it to become a public domain title. So several small companies have released poor-quality transfers on DVD, most being in full frame as you said. There is no existing DVD release that is even acceptable as a stop gap, and I haven't been able to locate any releases in Japan or Korea that might have been better.

    Paramount really need to give this great film the respect it deserves and do a proper job of releasing it themselves. They've left it a long time, but better late than never.
     
  4. Jeff Swindoll

    Jeff Swindoll Supporting Actor

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    I picked up a copy of the Digiview version of One Eyed Jacks at Wal-mart for $1. It's 1:85.1 (not anamorphically enhanced) and sorta blurry to my eye. I've heard that it's sourced from laserdisc. It might be a cheap alternative until a better version is available. I haven't watched the whole thing, just did some chapter searches to make sure it was letterboxed.

    BTW, loved you in Lord of the Rings [​IMG]
     
  5. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    A spokesman for Paramount mentioned some time ago on HTF that they were not interested in releasing ONE EYED JACKS on DVD because of all the cheap PD versions that had flooded the market place.

    Interesting, because, obviously all the terrible quality PD DVDs of MGM's TILL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY has not deterred Warners from releasing shortly what promises to be a brilliant re-master of that title and Paramount did release McLINTOCK while there were countless PD versions out there.

    Come on Paramount, release a Special Edition of ONE EYED JACKS.
    Forget about the cheapies, you will hold the Ace if it is a SE release.
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This past year, Paramount also released "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers" which had previously released PD DVDS so you never know what might happen in the future.





    Crawdaddy
     
  7. Ernest

    Ernest Supporting Actor

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    Platinum Disc Corporation released "One Eyed Jacks" in letterbox, 1:85x1 aspect ratio, and its not bad. The box says "Made in Canada".

    At one time I owned the Laserdisc and this sems to be a copy of that disc. This is probably as good as it will get for "One Eyed Jacks".
     
  8. Christopher Lee

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    Thanks so much for all of the input! It seems obvious to me that the consumers interested in a title such as this would gladly shell out again for a proper DVD edition, as it is somewhat of a special interest, to be sure. Since the passing of Brando, I've noticed several DVD releases of his various films come to light, and the fact that One Eyed Jacks was overlooked has been a thorn in my side.

    Thanks to Jeff and Ernest for suggesting temporary alternatives, and additional thanks to Jeff for being a Saruman fan [​IMG] Actually Lee is my middle name, and when I tried to enter my full name at registration, the last name didn't take. I suppose I shouldn't post in any Hammer threads! Thanks as well to Patrick for the link to Marty Hart's pages: sounds like the various aspect ratios seen with VistaVision boil down to matting the film in the projector? Don't worry; I'll keep at it.

    In any case, it is a crime that the powers that be have yet to do this film justice. The facts that Brando is no longer with us, that this film is the only one that he directed, and that Stanely Kubrick had been involved with the film initially are just a few points that make a SE DVD of this film a hands down winner. Never mind that the film itself is a work of cinematic art! Great film, great actors, fascinating history, etc. Perhaps those elements would conspire to raise interest for the DVD beyond special interest? What more do we, as consumers and movie lovers, look for when we have thirty dollars or so to invest in SE DVDs?

    I think that people who collect films, currently in the form of DVDs, consider titles out of two categories: what they want, and what they feel they have a duty to add to their collections based on history, or perhaps when a great film is seen in the light of its cinematic posterity, if you will. I tend to prefer thinking of great films in that manner, as greatness often begets a long line (whether that line stands up to the greatness is another matter). In my mind, this film comes out of both categories, simple want and the collector's sense of duty.

    In the meantime, I'll be buying one or more of those PD DVDs, with the hope that one fine day I'll be donating them to the library on my way home with my shiny new SE DVD!

    Thanks again,
    CLD
     
  9. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    Scorsese ranked it as the greatest western ever made.

    I wonder what state the original elements are in? (or indeed if anyone knows where they are)

    All we need is $2,000,000 and Robert Harris and we should have a nice 1080p Blu-ray version[​IMG]
     
  10. AlanP

    AlanP Supporting Actor

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    Well, there is ALWAYS CRITERION or ANCHOR BAY to pick up this title !!!!!!!!!!!
    I for one would love to see "ONE EYED JACKS" have the proper release.
    And how about SOPHIA LOREN'S "TWO WOMEN", that also needs a resstoration.
    Along with STEVE REEVES' "HERCULES" and HERCULES UNCHAINED"
     
  11. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Last year I surveyed all the public domain editions of ONE-EYED JACKS in the hope of finding a decent one. I bought over a dozen different editions of the same film -- they were all dirt cheap.

    The best one by far was Front Row Features. It has a red-tinted cover with a close-up of Brando. The cover doesn't say widescreen, but it's in the original aspect ratio of 1:85:1 with a clear sharp picture and good accurate color. It must have been sourced from the Paramount laser-disc. It's out of print now and hard to find, but a persistent buyer should be able to find it on eBay.

    Second best is Brentwood. Brentwood seems to be one of the better public domain labels. Brentwood issued ONE-EYED JACKS in three different editions: in a standard amaray case, in a laminated cardboard slipcover, and in a 4-Movie pack called LEGENDS OF THE WEST (other titles in the box-set are The Big Trees, Vengeance Valley, and The Sundowners). Cover art is the same for all editions, a sepia photo of Brando raising a sixgun (except the image is lifted from either THE APPALOOSA or THE MISSOURI BREAKS}. Brentwood's editions are also in 1:85.1 with a good clear picture and color. Good enough to enjoy, but Front Row has the edge.

    I would avoid editions issued by Alpha, Diamond, Digiview, Catcom, Genius Movie Classics, Global, Madacy, Platinum, Pro-Active / St. Clair, Unicorn, and Ventura. Since I did my survey, Diamond and Platinum have apparently released upgraded editions with new cover art that might be worth checking out. You never know what you're going to get with a public domain label until you try it. DVD Aficianado offers some of the cover art, including Front Row, if you want to know what to look for and what to avoid, but the site is not up to date.

    I was surprised to learn that Paramount France released an authorized edition in Region 2 PAL under the title La Vengeance aux deux visages (One-Eyed Jacks). Les Films De Ma Vie is the label, in their Hollywood Memories series "collection derigee par Claude Berri et Jean-Francois Davy." I found a used copy on eBay, and sent my money only after assurances from the seller that I would not be disappointed. I wasn't. It's excellent. The DVD is in full-bodied stereophonic sound, rich Technicolor, excellent picture quality, and hard-matted in an accurate aspect-ratio of 1:85.1. The only downside are burned-in French subtitles -- tiny and not obtrusive. My guess is this French edition is not sourced from the laser disc, but from the same elements as the laser disc. The DVD has a fully active menu with a supplement of promotional art, biographies, filmographies, and a trailer for ROYAL WEDDING. The cover art is the same as the theatrical poster, showing a tortured sketch of Brando in red serape. I have no idea where to buy the Les Films De Ma Vie edition, but it is certainly worth seeking out. You will of course need a multi-region player to play it.

    Richard

    ADDENDUM EDIT: After examining the French edition more closely, I don't think it's sourced from the same elements as the laser disc. It's from an entirely different source, obviously a 35mm VistaVision Technicolor print, probably an original European print from 1961. The print is impressive but less than perfect. Some reels show more age and dirt than others, but overall, it's the best I've seen. It proves there's nothing comparable to the VistaVision and IB process today. It endures, and it beats every technology in use now including, and especially, digital.
     
  12. Christopher Lee

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    Three cheers for Richard--W!!! Thanks very much for sharing your homework on this: I will seek out the Front Row disc on your advice. I'm excited to hear that the aspect ratio is the same as the theatrical 1.85:1; as you say, it must be via the laser disc. I did manage to find copies of the French version for sale as well, but all of my equipment is R1. It's exciting to hear that there are fellow enthusiasts of this film out there. Hopefully, the Lords of DVD will eventually pick up on this, and the film will get the respectful treatment that it so deserves. Thanks again for taking the time to provide your insight; it is greatly appreciated.

    CLD

    By the way, I'm just learning to appreciate VistaVision now, and I agree with you whole heartedly!
     
  13. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    If the French version has a trailer for ROYAL WEDDING on it, then it's very unlikely that it would be a legalised edition.
    Still, if the quality is good, then it's probably worth considering until an official top quality Anamorphic version surfaces. ( maybe we might have to wait until the High Definition Discs arrive )
     
  14. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Christopher Lee,

    Where did you locate the French edition?
    Can you post the url?

    Many thanks.
     
  15. eric tengren

    eric tengren Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Digital Gold edition. I found it in a bargain bin with Ride in the Whirlwind for about 3 bucks a piece. this Print is not so great but the picture is 1:85 and will have to serve me until this very underrated classic is given the respect it deserves.Brando is magnetic in this film and the camera work is brilliant.
     
  16. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    Richard

    The world needs more detectives like you

    I seems that there ARE some restorable elements lurking around

    Can you imagine what a technicolor print would look like if RAH got his teeth stuck into it:b
     
  17. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    No Technicolor print involved... One Eyed Jacks, like all VistaVision films (and nearly every post-1952 color film), it was shot in Eastmancolor, with 35mm reduction prints being dye-transfer Technicolor.
     
  18. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    An Eastmancolor print Patrick?

    Should scrub-up well under the auspices of Harris & Katz.

    Forgive me but I've just had a bottle of extremely good french wine.
     
  19. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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  20. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    It seems there are 2 contenders for the best DVD version (no pun intended)

    1. La vengeance aux deux visages

    2. The paramount region2 (cover art posted by mark)

    or are these the same thing?

    Either way I can't find either on France's Amazon site or Ebay

    Extraordinary how we can get Charlie's angels:Full Throttle on 1080p Blu-Ray but for this western materpiece by the most influential actor ever, we have to sift through trash cans on overseas websites.

    Viva America!
     

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