The last eighteen years in the life of Jesse James, showing his home life in Missouri, his experiences with Quantrill's raiders, his career of banditry with his brother Frank and the ... See full summary »
The last eighteen years in the life of Jesse James, showing his home life in Missouri, his experiences with Quantrill's raiders, his career of banditry with his brother Frank and the Younger brothers, and his attempt to lead a peaceful life after the disastrous attempt to rob the bank at Northfield, Minn. Written by
Although Nicholas Ray was initially reluctant to remake the 1939 film, he became intrigued by the idea of casting Elvis Presley - whom he thought had the potential to be "a new James Dean" - as Jesse James. After he had signed his contract, it became speedily clear that the studio had always intended to cast Robert Wagner, who was under contract and being built by the studio into a star. However, Ray did have his way in casting Hope Lange as James's wife - the studio had wanted Joanne Woodward. See more »
About the only thing I can say about The True Story Of Jesse James is that it's invested with a little less star glamor than the 1939 version with Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda as the James Brothers. Here Jesse and Frank are played by Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter with a bit more of a realistic style rather than it being substantially true.
Otherwise a lot of the same ground covered in flashbacks rather than a straight narrative is used. In fact Nunnally Johnson who wrote the 1939 screenplay for 20th Century Fox is given a screen credit here. The same theme is used here, Jesse might have turned outlaw for good and sufficient reason, but was getting a real taste for it by the time the Ford Brothers did him in.
There is a harbinger of the Oscar nominated performance that Casey Affleck gave a few years ago in the most recent Jesse James film in Carl Thayler's brief appearance as Bob Ford. Thayler hints at what Affleck spent a whole film doing, showing that Ford was a mixed up kid who thought he would gain public approval shooting down a notorious outlaw. However a sadly neglected Jesse James film was done in the Nineties by Rob Lowe as Jesse.
For better or worse many consider Jesse James as the last Confederate out there when he died in 1881. He certainly was a hero to many of the defeated Confederates doing what he did to the banks and railroads who were controlling a lot of the agrarian south and west.
Not true, but The True Story Of Jesse James is a passable retelling of the events that made him the legend he became.
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