Books: Brando Rides Alone
"In Gifford's fundamentally twisted world, Jesus and Peckinpah seem like a natural pairing."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"Gifford's manner is mandarin; he doesn't waste words, preach, or point out
morals ... there is a wild streak of black humor running through nearly
everything [he writes].... There's no one like Barry Gifford, which is the
best reason to read him."
-- Richard Dyer
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In Brando Rides Alone, poet, novelist, and screenwriter Barry Gifford sets
his sights on Marlon Brando's directorial debut, One-Eyed Jacks (1961).
Marlon Brando and Karl Malden fill the boots of Rio ("The Kid") and Dad
Longworth in what reviewers dubbed "one of the first anti-hero Westerns."
Real cowboys, ageing starlets, and a twenty-nine-year-old Stanley Kubrick
complement the film's Technicolor cast of characters.
Critics strung up the movie upon its release, lambasting Brando's breezy
bandit hero and lack of directorial experience, as well as the movie's
violent content and melodramatic characters. Gifford offers an alternative
to the critics' condescending analysis, dismissing any distinction between
high and low art. He praises the film's diverse cast, beautiful coastal
scenery, and epic proportions. Gifford concludes with scenes from his
original western screenplay, Black Sun Rising (co-written with Sam Peckinpah
crony James Hamilton), incorporating cinematic elements reminiscent of Vera
Cruz, The Wild Bunch, and yes, One-Eyed Jacks.
Copyright © by Barry Gifford, 2004. All rights reserved.
May not be reproduced without the permission of the author.