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

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Overview

User Rating:
7.0/10   2,621 votes »
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Up 182% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
Power Brings Jesse James To Life 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)

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


Production CompaniesDistributors

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:
Factual errors: The movie shows a bomb killing Frank and Jesse's mother. In reality, the "bomb" thrown through the window by the Pinkertons killed their little brother and seriously wounded their mother. She survived, however, although she lost an arm in the attack.See more »
Quotes:
Major Rufus Cobb:[standing over Mrs. Samuel's body] There's no use. She's dead. This is bad! Mighty bad! I'm sure sorry!
Barshee:Well, I'm sorry too!
Major Rufus Cobb:Oh, I wasn't talking about her. She's gone. It's you I'm sorry fer.
See more »
Soundtrack:
Oh SusannaSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
20 out of 28 people found the following review useful.
Power Brings Jesse James To Life, 8 December 2001
Author: jhclues from Salem, Oregon

A real life legend of the Old West comes to life in this 1939 film, which may not be historically accurate or honest enough for purists, but nevertheless tells a good story while leaving any moral judgments up to the audience. `Jesse James,' directed by Henry King, stars Tyrone Power as the man heralded by some as the Robin Hood of cowboys. Whether or not he was actually a hero is debatable, and what this movie does is supply the motivation for the wrong-doing on Jesse's part-- at least up to a point. At the time this film was made, it was necessary for the filmmaker to present a story like this in a way that reflected a reckoning of sorts for a character engaged in any form of moral turpitude; and this film is no exception. But in this case, it's done with subtlety, and in a way that still allows the viewer's sympathies to be with the protagonist, regardless of his crimes.

At the heart of the matter is basically another version of the oft-told David and Goliath tale. In this story, Goliath is the railroad, expanding ever-westward and growing bigger and stronger by the day. When they encounter the farm on which Jesse, his brother, Frank (Henry Fonda) and their mother (Jane Darwell) reside and make their living, the railroad does what any self-respecting conglomerate would do-- they take it, pay the owners a pittance and lay their rail without giving it another thought. Only this time, the railroad messed with the wrong people. Not one to take it lying down, Jesse forms a gang-- which includes Frank-- and strikes back in the only way he knows how: By robbing the trains. And, just as Bonnie and Clyde would become, in a sense, local heroes a few years later, many began looking up to James as something of a redeemer; the man who stood up for all the others who were either unwilling or unable to do it for themselves after being wronged, as well, by the ruthless machinery of progress.

Power gives an outstanding performance as Jesse James, to whom he brings an intensity that seethes beneath his rugged good looks and determined attitude. Like Beatty did with Clyde, Power makes Jesse an outlaw you can't help but like, and actually admire. Because the James Power presents is nothing more nor less than a good man seeking reparation for the injury visited not only upon himself, but upon his family, to whom he feels justice is now due. It's a very credible and believable portrayal, though under close scrutiny his Jesse may come across as somewhat idealistically unflawed. Then again, within the time frame of this story, we are seeing a man adamant and single-minded of purpose, and the depth Power brings to the character more than accounts for what may be construed as a flawless nature.

As Frank James, Henry Fonda presents a man perhaps more laid-back than his brother, but every bit as volatile and adamant in his quest for justice. There's a coolness in his eyes and in his manner that belies the tenacity of his character. Fonda conveys the sense that Frank is a lion; he's no trouble without provocation, but once aroused he will demand satisfaction and stay with the scent until he has it. And it's that sense of dogged determination that Fonda and Power bring to their respective characters that makes them so engaging and accessible. Goliath is the real bad guy here, and you want to see him fall; and these are the guys you want to see bring him down.

In a supporting role, John Carradine gives a noteworthy performance as Jesse's own personal Judas, Bob Ford, a man who made history by demonstrating that there is, indeed, no honor among thieves. Carradine brings Ford to life in a sly and sinister way that leaves no doubt as to who the real villain of the story is.

The supporting cast includes Nancy Kelly (Zee), Randolph Scott (Will), Slim Summerville (Jailer), Brian Donlevy (Barshee), Donald Meek (McCoy), Charles Tannen (Charlie Ford), Claire Du Brey (Mrs. Ford) and Henry Hull, in an energetic and memorable performance as Major Rufus Cobb. Compared to many of the westerns made in the past couple of decades or so, this film is rather antiseptic in it's presentation; that is to say it lacks the graphic visuals of say, `The Wild Bunch' or Eastwood's `Unforgiven.' But `Jesse James' is satisfying entertainment that doesn't require or rely upon shocking realism to tell the story, but rather the talent and finesse of a great cast and a savvy director. It's a movie that will keep you involved, and Power and Fonda make it an especially enriching cinematic experience. In a very classic sense, this is the magic of the movies. I rate this one 8/10.







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