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The True Story of Jesse James (1957)

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 ... 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 Jesse indicates the award for him has reached $30,000, in fact the arrangement with Robert Ford made by Missouri Gov. Crittenden included a pardon for a previous murder and payment of $10,000. Only part of that $10,000 was received by the Ford brothers. See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the movie the sheriff and his men wait to attack the James gang do to heavy rain. Once the rain stops the posse proceeds by crossing a bridge over a completely dry, dusty stream bed and dirt road. See more »

Connections

Features Jesse James (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Spectacular as well as colorful Western dealing with the last eighteen years in the life of Jesse and Frank James
6 January 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is a slight and plain biopic about Jesse James who ranks with Billy the Kid as the most famous of Western outlaws . Legend and folklore have cast him as a Robin Hood , a good boy forced by circumstances to follow a criminal life . The picture provides a simple portrait of Jesse and his band , as they move from Civil War to there territory becoming into semi-legends . As showing his home life in Missouri, his experiences with Quantrill's raiders and his career of banditry . As Jesse (Robert Wagner) and Frank (Jeffrey Hunter) joined the Confederate guerrillas of Quantrill and learned to kill in ruthless company . Jesse and Frank along with cousins Cole (Alan Hale Jr) , Bob and Jim Younger (Biff Elliot) return from War to find mommy (Agnes Moorehead) and family threatened by Northern people . As detective Barney Remington (Alan Baxter) was hired by the railroad company to hunt down Jesse and Frank . So James Brothers commence to robbin' banks and trains to help out the poor folks who been done wrong . In the course of their revenge , they will become the object of the biggest manhunt in the history of the Old West . Along the way , Jesse courts attractive young , filly Zee (Hope Lange) . As their fame grows, so will the legend of their leader, a young outlaw by the name of Jesse James.

This is a sprawling and glamorous Western with acceptable performances from Rober Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter. The film gets spectacular shoot em'up , thrills , exciting horse pursuits ; it's entertaining , although nothing new but displays an ordinary pace and with no originality . A glimmer Western with a wild bunch look-alike that ends up into a fateful final . Packs colorful scenarios, moving pace and slick edition by means of flashbacks .Footage from the original 1939 production was used when Frank and Jesse go over a cliff on horseback into a river and when they crashed, on horseback, through a store window during the "Northfield Minnesota Raid." Features various passable acting by a popular group of today's known stars . This is a decent look about the known story of the West's greatest bandit , Jesse James , along with Frank , Cole Younger and brothers with acceptable performances and professional direction by Nicholas Ray who creates some good action scenes . As originally conceived by Walter Newman and Nicholas Ray, the film had a non-linear plot with flashbacks, but studio boss Buddy Adler couldn't understand it and forced Ray to recut it with the scenes in chronological order ; Bernstein said the recut rendered the film "pointless." Taut excitement throughout , beautifully photographed by Joseph MacDonald and with spectacular bloodletting but realized with some flaws . Atmospheric and evocative musical score by Leigh Harline . The motion picture was well realized by Nicholas Ray who displays enough off-beat touches to keep .

Other films about this legendary outlaw are : The classic version (1939) titled ¨Jesse James(1939)¨ with Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda, ¨The return of Frank james(1950) by Fritz Lang with Henry Fonda ; ¨I shot Jesse James¨ by Samuel Fuller with John Ireland as Bob Ford ; and ¨Jesse James vs the Dalton(1954)¨ by William Castle with John Ireland . And contemporary-style Western such as ¨Frank and Jesse¨ by Robert Boris with Rob Lowe as Jesse James , Bill Paxton as Frank James and Randy Travis as Younger ; ¨American outlaws¨ by Les Mayfield with Colin Farrell , Gabriel Macht , Terry O'Quinn , Harris Yulin and Ali Larter ; and ¨The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford¨ (2007) by Andrew Dominik with Brad Pitt , Sam Shepard , Mary Louise Parker , Casey Affleck and Sam Rockwell.

The picture was based on actual events , these are the following : At the war's end in 1865 , Jesse rode in to surrender and was shot and seriously wounded by a Union soldier . It is believed that Jesse took part in his first robbery in 1866 when a dozen men held up the bank in Liberty , Missouri . A bank cashier was killed in the raid and a reward was offered for each of the James brothers . In 1873 Jesse and his band derailed and robbed a train on the Rock Island line . Jesse married his cousin Zerelda , who bore him two children . Pinkerton detectives were contracted to chase Jesse and Frank , the agents surrounded the home , believing they to be there , tossed a bomb and the explosion killed Jesse's young half-brother . This outrage brought much sympathy for the brothers . On 1876 Jesse and Frank in company the three Younger Brothers , attempted a bank robbery at Northfield , Minnnesota , and walked in disaster . The alerted citizens opened fire on the raiders , of the eight bandits involved , three were killed and three Younger brothers were captured . On 3 April 1882 Bob Ford , a new member of the gang , treacherously shot Jesse dead in back of the head in his home at St Joseph , Missouri .


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