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I Shot Jesse James (1949)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,377 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 23 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 ...
...
...
J. Edward Bromberg ...
Kane
Victor Kilian ...
Soapy
...
...
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 ...
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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:

I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND FOR THE LOVE OF A WOMAN! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

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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

Director Samuel Fuller said that he wanted to make this picture because, unlike many filmmakers in Hollywood, he did not see the real Jesse James as a "folk hero" or someone to be admired. Fuller saw him as a cold-blooded psychopath who shot down women, children, the elderly, the helpless (his gang once stopped a Union hospital train and executed every wounded federal soldier on it) and, in Fuller's words, Bob Ford "did something that should have been done quite a bit earlier in the life of Jesse Woodson James". 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

John Kelley: Miss Waters, don't be worried about me losing any money in your show. I don't have any, but I'd still like to talk to you again.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in The Typewriter, the Rifle & the Movie Camera (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Some Day
Written by Albert Glasser
Sung by Margia Dean
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Samuel Fuller's directorial debut is a B-western...
3 July 2009 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

There's nothing in I SHOT JESSE JAMES to raise it above the level of a B-western. JOHN IRELAND has given some good performances in certain roles but he approaches this one in an almost zombie-like mode, especially during the first half of the movie where he ponders thinking about killing Jesse James (REED HADLEY). The film is a fictionalized version of the events surrounding the killing of Jesse James by the coward Bob Ford.

BARBARA BRITTON is attractive as the worried miss who is afraid to tell Bob Ford (Ireland) that she no longer loves him after the James killing. PRESTON FOSTER is the rugged man she tales a shine to after realizing that Bob Ford is jealous of their relationship.

There are obvious signs that the film was made quickly and on the cheap, making good use of small sets and big close-ups of the actors. None of the acting is inspired, so there's little that can be said about the performances in stock roles.

It's a strictly by-the-numbers sort of script that tells what ought to be a taut tale in a slow and cumbersome way with occasional bursts of dramatic music on the soundtrack to make up for the lack of compelling drama in the script.

Nothing distinctive about this one.


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