Low-budget doesn't always mean bad, but in this case it most certainly does
Donald Barry stars in, co-wrote, co-produced, directed and probably did the catering, landscaping and janitorial work on this cheesy, badly shot, ineptly written, amateurishly acted and poorly made low-budget-- VERY low-budget--western purporting to be about infamous western outlaw Jesse James. If you're going to make a movie about a real person, it would probably help if you stuck at least a few actual facts in it, and that's what you get in this stinker--few actual facts. Other than showing that Jesse had a brother Frank and that he and fellow outlaw Bob Ford didn't get along, there isn't much about this movie that has any basis in fact. The short and paunchy Barry wrote Jesse as being completely irresistible to women--and makes sure that his henchmen mention that fact every so often--and plays him like a Vegas lounge-lizard in the vein of Wayne Newton (but even smarmier) who has scads of beautiful women just throwing themselves at him. To give Barry credit he did pick some absolutely gorgeous women like Peggie Castle, Lita Baron and Joyce Barrett to fight over him, but whatever efforts they try to make at giving this film some kind of professional touch are ruined by the juvenile and pedestrian script and Barry's completely botched attempt at directing. He smirks his way through the picture and doesn't really have much chemistry with his cast, most of whom are amateurs whose "performances" consist of haltingly reciting their lines and trying to stay on their marks (a few of them even have trouble trying to stay on their horses). The whole project reeks of someone getting a little money together and telling his friends, "Let's make a movie!". Castle and Betty Brueck have a rather long catfight in a saloon, which is actually done fairly well, and there's a sequence with Barry engaged in a boxing match with a traveling prizefighter that is handled tongue-in-cheek and is mildly amusing, but other than those small pluses Barry, Castle (who is far and away the best thing about this picture) and Baron have done far better work, and I wouldn't doubt that at least those two women didn't bring up this picture in any discussion of their careers, as well they shouldn't have.
- May 17, 2017
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