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I Shot Jesse James (1949)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,281 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 22 critic

Bob Ford murders his best friend Jesse James in order to obtain a pardon that will free him to marry his girlfriend but is plagued by guilt and self-disgust.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Preston Foster ...
Barbara Britton ...
...
Reed Hadley ...
J. Edward Bromberg ...
Kane
Victor Kilian ...
Soapy
Tom Tyler ...
...
Charles Ford (as Tom Noonan)
Eddie Dunn ...
Joe
...
Saloon Singer
Byron Foulger ...
Silver King Room Clerk
Jeni Le Gon ...
Veronica
Barbara Woodell ...
Phillip Pine ...
Man in Saloon (as Phil Pine)
Robin Short ...
Troubadour
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Storyline

While the law hunts him, Jesse James lives quietly in a rented house on the corner of Lafayette and Twenty-first street in St. Joseph, Missouri, under the alias of Tom Howard. His wife Zee begs him to end his association with the Ford brothers. Before they can leave on a "last" bank holdup, Bob learns that his childhood sweetheart, Cynthy Waters, now an actress, is in St. Joe and he brushes aside all caution to see her. Cynthy is beginning to realize that she is a liability to her manager, Harry Kane, because she will not leave Missouri. Meanwhile, John Kelley has come into her life. She pleads with Bob to turn honest. Cynthy tries to get a pardon for Bob, but the best offer she can get is for a 20-year stretch in prison. Then, the Governor offers amnesty and a $10,000 reward to any member of the James gang betraying Jesse. When his chance comes (April 3, 1882)Bob shoots Jesse in the back. He gets the amnesty but the reward is cut to $500. He also loses the love and respect of Cynthy,... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BLAZING with exciting romance and reckless adventure! See more »


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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 February 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ich erschoß Jesse James  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character played by Robin Short, identified in the cast merely as "Troubadour," is obviously based on the real-life traveling musician Billy Gashade, who shortly after Jesse James' death wrote the "Ballad of Jesse James" sung by Short in the film and also used as a recurring theme by composer Albert Glasser. See more »

Goofs

During the final shootout the background lighting on the closeups and master shots of John Ireland do not match. See more »

Quotes

Harry Kane: Gold is nothing but that last corruption of degenerate man. But to be a little corrupt for the sake of art, that I wouldn't mind.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown as posters hanging on a wall. See more »

Connections

Featured in Gunfighters of the Old West (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

The Minstrel Song
Written by Albert Glasser
Sung by Robin Short
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Offbeat B western with Fuller touch.
16 August 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sam Fuller's writer/ director debut foreshadows much of the quirky originality one would come to expect from his pictures in the decades to follow. Leave it to Sam to have a protagonist that cowardly shoots an infamous icon in the back as opposed to making another oater featuring Jesse James. I Shot Jesse James is a fresh approach to the western canon and from this angle makes for a more than satisfying ride for a B western with something extra.

Jesse James is living incognito in St. Joe MO with his family as well as providing shelter for the Ford brothers. When Bob Ford (John Ireland) learns he can receive amnesty as well as a fat reward for Jess dead or alive he plans his future to run off with his entertainer girl friend and start anew. After performing the dastardly act he fails to get the full reward so he agrees to go on tour re-creating the scene on stage as well as avoid a similar fate.

Fuller presents James as a decent man while Ford displays a loutish personality filled with jealousy and paranoia. Ireland does a fine job of managing to evoke sympathy for a an execrable character looking for a way out as he displays just enough sensitivity to temper his surly ways. Eventually you find yourself rooting for him and perhaps identifying with him since he is not only an assassin but a dreamer as well.


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