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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One-Eyed Jacks

It was the only film that Marlon Brando directed.
Nowadays, many probably consider it a forerunner of the so-called Spaghetti-westerns that would make Clint Eastwood a familiar name all over the world.
Back then in the early '60s when I first saw the movie, as it usually happened with most films one of my interests was to find out what was hidden behind the title. ‘One-Eyed Jacks’ clearly did not translate to ‘El Rostro Impenetrable,’ a fact that kind of made it a challenge for me to settle the question.
Close but no cigar, might actually be the best way to describe the translator’s approximation to the conceptual part on the title.
As any movie fan knows, it comes from the line that Brando's character tells to the one played by Karl Malden: “You're a one-eyed jack around here, Dad, but I have seen the other side of your face." They both were, which explains the plural jacks.
The allusion is to the jack of hearts and the jack of spades in a deck of cards.
And because we know of their common history, we understand better what Brando's character is telling Malden's.
The recent controversy around the Puerto Rican-born priest Alberto Cutié brought the Brando movie to my mind.
Not that I am moralizing, condemning or absolving here. The point is, I think, that whether we like it or not, however we may approach the controversy, there is no more one-eyed jack around, we have all now seen the hidden face.
We all know too that Cutié’s story is not unique.
What may be surprising to many is the apparent link between Cutié and ‘In Mortal Sin,' the play soon to be staged at the Byron Carlyle theater in Miami Beach.
Mexican soap-opera actor Paulo Quevedo (who starred in Doña Bárbara) and Alejandra Pinzón (Colombian, one of the main characters in Sin Senos No Hay Paraíso), both pictured here, star in the drama written and directed by Puerto-Rican Wilson Blass.

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