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The True Story of Jesse James (1957)

Approved | | Action, Biography, Crime | March 1957 (UK)
Biopic loosely based on the last 18 years of Jesse James' life and focused on the relationship between brothers Jesse and Frank James.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

Walter Newman (screenplay), Nunnally Johnson (earlier screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Wagner ... Jesse James
Jeffrey Hunter ... Frank James
Hope Lange ... Zee James
Agnes Moorehead ... Mrs. Samuel
Alan Hale Jr. ... Cole Younger (as Alan Hale)
Alan Baxter ... Barney Remington
John Carradine ... Rev. Jethro Bailey
Rachel Stephens Rachel Stephens ... Anne James
Barney Phillips ... Dr. Samuel
Biff Elliot ... Jim Younger
Frank Overton ... Maj. Rufus Cobb
Barry Atwater ... Attorney Walker
Marian Seldes ... Rowena Cobb
Chubby Johnson ... Arkew
Frank Gorshin ... Charley Ford
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They didn't dare tell this story before!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1957 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Jesse James See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,585,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 quickly 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 »

Goofs

Modern buildings are visible in the background during the Northfield, Minnesota robbery. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Samuel: Jesse... They drove my son to it. The Yankees drove him to it. He's a good boy. You're his wife, Zee, you know how kind he is.
Zee James: Try and sleep, Mother Samuel.
Mrs. Samuel: You know, once, he brought home a bird that had fallen from its nest. His father was alive then, and little Jesse wouldn't be comforted until Reverend James gave the little bird a funeral service. Jesse always was a gentle boy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

All UK versions are cut by 9 secs to remove stock footage of the same fatal cliff-top jump that resulted in the death of a horse in the 1939 Jesse James. See more »

Connections

Referenced in What's My Line?: Robert Wagner (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Definitely NOT the True Story of Jesse James
22 September 2007 | by vitaleralphlouisSee all my reviews

20th Century-Fox and screenwriter Nunnaly Johnson's belated follow-up to their high-spirited and excellent 1939 smash hit JESSE JAMES has returned on DVD to annoy and bore another generation.

The 1957 True Story of Jesse James isn't such a bad movie, but it's inferior in every way to the 1939 movie as well as the 1940 sequel Return of Frank James. Also, the "true story" is no more historically factual than the revisionist history original. Just do a Google search and see what I mean.

Robert Wagoner and Jeffery Hunter were the pretty boys of 1957 but can't hold a candle to the excellent portrayals of Frank and Jesse by Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda. Screenwriter Nunnally Johnson wrote both, but was obviously more fired-up with inspiration in 1939, as that film had nary a dull 5 seconds. It was brilliantly staffed with one rich characterization after another, good guys as well as bad. Even the Technicolor was better in the original. They used 3-strip Technicolor and those cameras which were 1/2 the size of a Pontiac --- to produce a brilliantly rich color still unmatched in 2007.

The 1939 Jesse James was the obvious inspiration for 1972's great hit, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The 1957 version inspired only a Z-session.


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