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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

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 »

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

Remake of Jesse James (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Missed opportunities all round
16 June 2008 | by MOscarbradleySee all my reviews

Although the ending of this Nicholas Ray movie is very similar to Andrew Dominik's much, much finer version, (or should that be vice-versa?), there is no comparison between the two films. This is mostly a dull affair with very little of the psychological insights into troubled personalities that have distinguished Ray's best films; all the more mystifying considering the complexity of the central character.

Perhaps it was the weak casting. Robert Wagner is pretty as in pretty vacant and is totally out of his depth. (Contrast his performance with that of another 'pretty boy', Brad Pitt, in the most recent version). As his brother Frank, Jeffrey Hunter has little to do but growl on the sidelines while Hope Lange is hardly even a pretty presence as Jesse's wife. Ray also misses the opportunity to use the widescreen for dramatic effect so the movie is handsome without engaging us in any way. No one's finest hour.


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