IMDb > Jesse James (1939)
Jesse James
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Jesse James (1939) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
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Director:
Writer:
Nunnally Johnson (original screen play)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Jesse James on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 January 1939 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
The Epic Story of the most Colourful Outlaw who ever lived See more »
Plot:
After railroad agents forcibly evict the James family from their family farm, Jesse and Frank turn to banditry for revenge. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
"The prodigal son came home" See more (43 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Tyrone Power ... Jesse James

Henry Fonda ... Frank James

Nancy Kelly ... Zerelda (Zee)

Randolph Scott ... Will Wright

Henry Hull ... Major Rufus Cobb

Slim Summerville ... Jailer
J. Edward Bromberg ... Mr. Runyan

Brian Donlevy ... Barshee

John Carradine ... Bob Ford

Donald Meek ... Mc Coy
Johnny Russell ... Jesse James Jr. (as John Russell)

Jane Darwell ... Mrs. Samuels
Charles Tannen ... Charles Ford
Claire Du Brey ... Mrs. Bob Ford
Willard Robertson ... Clarke
Harold Goodwin ... Bill
Ernest Whitman ... Pinkie
Eddy Waller ... Deputy
Paul E. Burns ... Hank (as Paul Burns)
Spencer Charters ... Minister
Arthur Aylesworth ... Tom Colson

Charles Middleton ... Doctor
Charles Halton ... Heywood
George Chandler ... Roy
Harry Tyler ... Farmer
Virginia Brissac ... Boy's Mother
Edward LeSaint ... Judge Rankin (as Ed Le Saint)
John Elliott ... Judge Mathews
Erville Alderson ... Old Marshall
George P. Breakston ... Farmer Boy (as George Breakston)

Lon Chaney Jr. ... One Of James Gang
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Carol Adams ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Donald Douglas ... Infantry Captain (uncredited)
James Flavin ... Cavalry Captain (uncredited)
Sam Garrett ... Rider / Roper (uncredited)
Wylie Grant ... Barshee's Henchman (uncredited)
Harry Holman ... Engineer (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp ... Union Soldier (uncredited)
Leonard Kibrick ... Boy (uncredited)
Sidney Kibrick ... Boy (uncredited)
Ethan Laidlaw ... Barshee's Henchman (uncredited)
Tom London ... Soldier (uncredited)
George O'Hara ... Teller (uncredited)
Paul Sutton ... Lynch - Barshee's Henchman (uncredited)
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Directed by
Henry King 
Irving Cummings (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Nunnally Johnson (original screen play)

Gene Fowler  contributing writer (uncredited)
Curtis Kenyon  contributing writer (uncredited)
Hal Long  story contributor (uncredited)

Produced by
Nunnally Johnson .... associate producer
Darryl F. Zanuck .... producer
Ben Silvey .... associate producer (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
George Barnes (photography)
W. Howard Greene (photography) (as W.H. Greene)
 
Film Editing by
Barbara McLean  (as Barbara Mc Lean)
 
Art Direction by
William S. Darling  (as William Darling)
George Dudley 
 
Set Decoration by
Thomas Little (set decorations)
 
Costume Design by
Royer (costumes)
 
Makeup Department
Robert Cowan .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Buddy King .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Ray Lopez .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Ben Nye .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Webster C. Phillips .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Doris Rowland .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Dot Snyder .... body makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Sid Bowen .... unit manager (uncredited)
William Koenig .... production manager (uncredited)
V.L. McFadden .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Otto Brower .... second unit director (uncredited)
Hal Herman .... assistant director (uncredited)
Robert D. Webb .... assistant director (uncredited)
Henry Weinberger .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Joe Behm .... props (uncredited)
G.L. Cooper .... painter (uncredited)
Charles Fremdling .... props (uncredited)
Tom Gillette .... carpenter (uncredited)
L. Paul Haines .... carpenter (uncredited)
Frank E. Hughes .... set dresser (uncredited)
Frank Patterson .... carpenter (uncredited)
Jack Stubbs .... props (uncredited)
Al Withers .... carpenter (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Roger Heman Sr. .... sound (as Roger Heman)
Arthur von Kirbach .... sound
Hal Lombard .... boom operator (uncredited)
Jack Miller .... cable person (uncredited)
Roy Potts .... boom operator (uncredited)
W.R. Snyder .... assistant sound (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
William F. Mittlestedt .... photographic effects (uncredited)
Ben Southland .... photographic effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Cliff Lyons .... stunt double: Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Charles Bohny .... assistant camera (uncredited)
A.C. Bumpus .... additional grip (uncredited)
James Cairns .... electrician (uncredited)
Duke Callaghan .... camera technician: Technicolor (uncredited)
Robert Campbell .... electrician (uncredited)
R.M. Harmon .... additional grip (uncredited)
J. James .... electrician (uncredited)
W. Harry Jones .... additional grip (uncredited)
Wendell Jones .... additional grip (uncredited)
Phil Mandella .... additional grip (uncredited)
W. Nugent .... electrician (uncredited)
Hugh C. Peck .... additional grip (uncredited)
Jack Percy .... head grip (uncredited)
Bobby Petzoldt .... best boy electric (uncredited)
Edward Petzoldt .... gaffer (uncredited)
R. Pipes .... generator operator (uncredited)
Frank Powolny .... still photographer (uncredited)
C.E. Richardson .... second grip (uncredited)
Irving Rosenberg .... camera operator (uncredited)
William Russell .... generator operator (uncredited)
Gordon Sandsberry .... electrician (uncredited)
Sheridan Smith .... generator operator (uncredited)
W. Stewart .... electrician (uncredited)
Paul Uhl .... film loader: Technicolor (uncredited)
S. Warn .... electrician (uncredited)
Paul Woods .... electrician (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eddie Armand .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Sam Benson .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Steve Brandt .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Ollie Hughes .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Josephine Perrin .... wardrobe (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Richard Billings .... assistant cutter (uncredited)
Robert Fritch .... assistant cutter (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Louis Silvers .... musical director
Cyril J. Mockridge .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Alfred Newman .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Louis Silvers .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Jo Frances James .... historical data assembler
Natalie Kalmus .... Technicolor color director
Rosalind Schaeffer .... historical data assembler
Teresa Brachetto .... script clerk (uncredited)
Edwin H. Curtis .... dialogue director (uncredited)
Paul Hill .... assistant: Technicolor (uncredited)
Henri Jaffa .... associate technicolor color director (uncredited)
Max Larey .... script clerk (uncredited)
R.C. Moore .... location manager (uncredited)
Joe Noecker .... technician: Technicolor (uncredited)
Cliff Shirpser .... assistant: Technicolor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Darryl F. Zanuck's Production of Jesse James" - UK (complete title), USA (complete title)
See more »
Runtime:
106 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:G | Finland:K-16 | Norway:16 | Spain:13 | UK:U (passed with cuts) | USA:Approved (certificate #4590) | West Germany:12 (f)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
While shooting his role in the Ozarks, Lon Chaney Jr. fell off his horse during a chase and was trampled by the horse behind him. He was not injured badly - he managed to finish his scenes that day. But director Henry King, blaming Chaney's nightly drinking for the mishap, fired him, and he was dropped by his studio (20th Century Fox.)See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Frank comes to rescue Jesse from the jail at midnight. When they get outside, it's broad daylight.See more »
Quotes:
Bob Ford:[masked and holding a gun on train passengers] If you don't know what this is, folks, it's a hold-up!
[a woman screams]
Bob Ford:Stay in your seats, keep your hands in sight, and the gent who just threwed his pocketbook in the spittoon will kindly take it out and wipe it clean before we get to him.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
The Battle Cry of FreedomSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
"The prodigal son came home", 18 July 2011
Author: Steffi_P from Ruritania

The strict enforcement of the production code from 1934 onwards put the kibosh on that popular series of heroic gangster movies which dealt with charismatic lawbreakers in the modern era. However, the code was far more lenient when it came to outlaws from days gone by. This is perhaps one of the reasons why the Western made such a popular comeback, and why crime and vengeance became such common themes in it. This, the earliest entry in the 1939 Western revival (it even predates Stagecoach, the movie often touted as the revival's flagship) tells a vaguely accurate history of the Robin Hood of the Old West, a man to justify criminal activity if ever there was one.

Fox Studios judged this an ideal vehicle for their top swashbuckling star and Errol Flynn rival, Tyrone Power Jr. Power was never a great actor but he was slowly shaping up into a decent and charismatic leading man. This is perhaps his most serious role to date, shedding his boyish cheerfulness for a more authoritative demeanour. Henry Fonda, playing brother Frank, was already the better actor, possessing a mean, brooding presence that Power could never quite grasp. The finest performance here though is that of leading lady Nancy Kelly. She is powerfully dramatic yet believable, really bringing out Zee James as the marginalized wife and adding a layer of poignancy to the movie. On a lighter note, Henry Hull plays a lovable comic relief part that is effectively funny but is separate enough from the narrative that he doesn't detract from what is essentially a Western drama.

Jesse James has the hallmarks of its writer-producer Nunally Johnson and its director Henry King, who collaborated on a number of tight and atmospheric productions. At a time when background scores were becoming ever more elaborate and intrusive, Johnson oversaw productions that sometimes contained no music at all between the opening titles and the end credits. Here we have stirring dialogue scenes in which we don't have to have our emotions patronised by sweeping strings. Chase scenes are accompanied only by the thunder of hoof beats and the eerie twitter of birdsong. In complement to this muted styling, Henry King encourages slow, thoughtful performances from his cast, often holding players in long take, such as that powerful scene of Nancy Kelly lying on the bed clutching her baby and telling of her fears. Under King's guidance, the acting is understated and naturalistic. Even that unashamed ham John Carradine is at his most restrained, and Henry Hull though a comedy character does show dramatic presence when required.

But what is perhaps most striking about Jesse James, is that it doesn't actually look like a Western. Rather than opening with a shot of the wide open plain or some dusty cow town, we begin on a resolutely small-scale, in mid-shot with a farmhouse filling the background. Throughout the movie the saloon halls are dark and oppressive, and even the outdoor scenes are a maze of fences and overhanging trees. This is typical Henry King, whose emphasis on stark, tight shot framing gave an ominous and highly individual look on the movie's world. When he does widen the shot, it is for startling effect, such as the angle change in the opening sequence where the young boy is roughed up by the railroad men. This isn't to say King doesn't understand the outdoors. It's just that whereas, say, John Ford gives the broad landscape a character, King gives every tree, rock and fence post a character. His is a Wild West as gritty and claustrophobic as the mean streets of New York, making Jesse James in more ways than one an heir to those classic gangster movies. This is a world away from the light, cheery cowboy flick, a picture of great dramatic intensity, that just as much as Stagecoach announced that the Western had arrived as a serious genre.

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