Video of the Week: “One-Eyed Jacks” trailer

This week’s video offering is another one from the archives. It’s a rather unusual trailer for Marlon Brando‘s sole directorial effort, One-Eyed Jacks (1961). It differs from most trailers in that it mixes stills with film footage, and in its length (almost 5 minutes).

Naturally, a major highlight is Timothy’s fight with Brando. “Get up, you tub of guts.” Enjoy!

Quote of the Week

Alex Cox, director of Repo Man (1984) and Sid and Nancy (1986), talks about almost hiring Timothy for his debut student film Edge City (aka Sleep is for Sissies) (1980). Part 2 of his tale next week!

‘If you’re looking for a really out-there actor,’ Michael Miner said one day, ‘there’s always Timothy Carey.’ Timothy Carey was a powerful actor with an outstanding history: he’d worked for Kubrick in The Killing and Paths of Glory, Brando in One-Eyed Jacks, and Cassavetes in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.

Michael had a number for him, and I called it. It was an agricultural feed store, out in the desert somewhere. They had another number, where a woman answered, and I had a long conversation with a madman, to whom I promptly mailed a copy of the script. Timothy Carey liked it, liked the character of Beauregard, and so we met. Unlike some actors, Carey was more imposing in person than on film. He looked about six foot six, and had a powerful voice, black-and-white hair, and staring eyes. He talked constantly, a little bit about the script, but mostly about farting, about the importance of not suppressing the breaking of wind, about how Western society was doomed, due to its suppression of the fart. On and on like this he went, in the same way as Harry Dean [Stanton] was apt to get into a longish diatribe about the Jews, not that Harry was anti-Semitic – he thought the Christian culture every bit as bad and stupid as the Jewish one – but he did tend, given a trapped interlocutor, to go on about the Jews. Timothy’s obsession, expressed in public, in a much louder voice, was the beauty and importance of the fart.

For all that Timothy Carey seemed nuts, he was a very fine actor, putting on a performance for me and everyone else in Dairy Queen. He was the most egomaniacal thespian I’d yet met, and thus, I suspect, one of the most insecure and damaged. He was also a director, having authored and starred in a feature of his own, The World’s Greatest Sinner.

– Alex Cox, X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker (I.B. Tauris, 2008)

Edge City (1980) in four parts on YouTube

 

Pic of the Day: “The Boy and the Pirates” revisited

Today’s pic takes another look at Bert I. Gordon‘s children’s adventure tale The Boy and the Pirates (1960). Disgruntled pirate crew members Peake (Mickey Finn), Hunter (Than Wyenn) and Morgan do some plotting.

The Boy and the Pirates

Finn and Wyenn were busy character actors throughout the 1950s and 60s. They had both previously worked with Gordon, Finn in Earth vs. the Spider (1958) and Wyenn in Beginning of the End (1957). Wyenn was the more prolific of the two, working steadily until the mid-1980s. Finn’s credits end in the late 1960s; he passed away at the relatively young age of 55 in 1989. He turned up in an uncredited bit as a blacksmith in One-Eyed Jacks (1961). In spite of Gordon’s misgivings about hiring Timothy for the role of Morgan, I do believe Tim was born to play a pirate.

Quote of the Week

GL: Who else did you have trouble with?

TC: With Marlon [Brando] on The Wild One [53]. When I shook up a bottle of beer and let the foam go into his face, he didn’t like that. But he would be up-front about it. When I worked with him on One-Eyed Jacks, he told me, “I hope you’re not going to throw any more beer at me.” Marlon was great, but Karl Malden was kind of skittish. In our scene when he kicked me, he kicked me a lot, so I said, “Marlon, if this guy kicks me again I’m gonna clobber him.” But he kept doing it. He had a touch of Richard Widmark in him. Widmark stomped me bad in a Western we made in Arizona, The Last Wagon [56]. He stomped me while I was down, kept going at it for five minutes, just because I reacted when he mock-stabbed me in the scene. He apologized later, but I wouldn’t accept it.

Grover Lewis, “Cracked Actor: Timothy Carey”, Film Comment Jan/Feb 2004; interview conducted in 1992

One-Eyed Jacks

Quote of the Week

Born in Brooklyn, in 1929, Carey went to acting school and was a full-on believer of always being “in the moment” – a tendency that led to sudden, sometimes enraging improvisation (that beer he throws in Marlon Brando‘s face in “The Wild One” was not planned). But Kubrick saw something, and rescued Carey from years of bit parts to cast him first as the gunman in “The Killing,” and then as one of the railroaded soldiers in “Paths of Glory.”

It was a good match. Kubrick understood the importance of actors but didn’t have the slightest understanding of how they did what they did, or even how to guide them. It was one of the director’s few artistic failings, and it could lead to hundreds of frustrating takes or over-the-top performances. But some actors – like Malcolm McDowell, like Peter Sellers – saw this as a freedom.

So did Carey. His most memorable scene in “Paths of Glory,” in fact – with the sentenced soldier moaning “I don’t want to die” – was made up on the spot.

There’s something of a John Turturro in the young Carey, and those two movies with Kubrick suggested the kind of long collaboration that Turturro would later have with Spike Lee, or the Coen Brothers. And, in fact, Carey later had a part in “One-Eyed Jacks,” a film Kubrick had been signed to direct, before star Marlon Brando took over. But Kubrick went on to other projects, and he and Carey never worked again.

Stephen Whitty, “The World’s Wildest Actor”; The New Jersey Star-Ledger (October 21, 2008)

One-Eyed Jacks

Quote of the Week

You remember Timothy Carey, don’t you? Didn’t you see The Wild One? He’s the crazy guy who shook up the beer and squirted it in Marlon Brando‘s face. Did you see East of Eden? He was the surly bouncer at the brothel where James Dean‘s mother worked. Poor Tim mumbled his lines so badly that Elia Kazan had to have Albert Dekker re-dub all his dialogue. Tim thought Kazan missed the whole point. “That’s the way pimps talk,” he explained. How about The Killing, by Stanley Kubrick? He was the racist rifleman who shoots the horse at the racetrack to create a diversion for the heist. You must have seen Paths of Glory, another great Kubrick film – Carey is one of the three court-martialed soldiers sentenced to execution.

All his characterizations seem to inspire a common reaction: “What the hell’s the matter with this guy?” Tim Carey had a uniquely twisted screen presence that many great directors tried, and often failed, to harness. He was the only man that Kazan ever physically attacked on the set. Brando cast him in One-Eyed Jacks, and ended up stabbing him with a pen in exasperation. Carey didn’t seem to care; he went on being Tim Carey. When new friends, like the maverick actor/director John Cassavetes, came to Carey’s house for the first time, he made them wear a bulky, padded suit. He then turned his attack dog loose on them. “It’s not you,” Carey would howl. “He just hates that suit.”

Eddie Muller and Daniel Faris, Grindhouse: The Forbidden World of “Adults Only” Cinema (St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, 1996)

Eddie Muller and Marisa at Noir City Portland, 2014

Meeting Eddie Muller, “the Czar of Noir,” at Noir City Portland at the Hollywood Theatre, 09/19/2014

Quote of the Week

THE KILLING

Carey was called ‘Kubrick’s good luck charm’ by one critic, but just made two blinding appearances in his films, as a doomed private in Paths of Glory and the ace sharpshooter in The Killing. Their relationship ended when Kubrick left One Eyed Jacks with Brando taking over and the pen-stabbing not far away. The scene here with TC holding a puppy is particularly intense and weird, while his interaction with the African-American parking lot attendant is almost too much to stomach. Carey was upset when Kubrick fled to England and left him behind. A shame, he would have been amazing in Strangelove.

Dale Shaw, “Five Reasons to Love Timothy Carey”; Sabotage Times, 5 June 2012

The Killing