HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Hellboy
Pond Life
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The
Third Wife, The
Shazam!
Follow Me
Leto
Fugitive Girls
Missing Link
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The
Pet Sematary
Oh... Rosalinda!!
Dumbo
Kaleidoscope
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, The
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Klute
Meow
Killer Crocodile
Nutcracker Prince, The
Secret World of Og, The
Benjamin
Fifth Cord, The
Man Could Get Killed, A
Cyborg 009: Kaiju War
Heavy Trip
Nightmare Weekend
Blue Ice
Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, The
Incident, The
Hell's Angels
Heaven and Earth
Flatliners
Us
mid90s
Holiday
Lovin' Molly
Manhunt in the City
Click: The Calendar Girl Killer
   
 
Newest Articles
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
   
 
  True Story of Jesse James, The Print The LegendBuy this film here.
Year: 1957
Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, Hope Lange, Agnes Moorehead, Alan Hale Jr, Alan Baxter, John Carradine, Rachel Stephens, Barney Phillips, Biff Elliot, Frank Overton, Barry Atwater, Marian Seldes, Chubby Johnson, Frank Gorshin, Carl Thayler, John Doucette
Genre: Western
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The place is Northfield Minnesota and the notorious gang of outlaws led by Jesse James (Robert Wagner) might have met their match when a bank raid they have planned has gone very badly, leaving them not only with no money after the cashier refused to open the safe, but some of the gang dead when the townsfolk trap them. The surviving members escape, but there's a posse in hot pursuit, and not even leaping off a cliff into the local river will help them now. Jesse and his brother Frank (Jeffrey Hunter) mull over their predicament as the law close in, but Jesse won't admit defeat...

The True Story of Jesse James took its script from the earlier 1939 Tyrone Power film version, refashioned by Walter Newman into more of a work fitting auteur Nicholas Ray. The familiar tale of a young man twisted by society into breaking its rules is what he evidently saw the famous James story as, so Wagner must play one of Ray's rebels, but there's a tension between the folk hero side of the tale and the "true" aspect that depicts the outlaw as essentially a thug who caught the popular imagination.

What is it about the Jesse James story that so captures that American imagination anyway? Even as late as 2007 there was yet another version of the well worn events, with the Brad Pitt-starring The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and yes the most notorious picture straightening incident of all time is featured at the climax of this fifties telling. Perhaps it's the romanticising of the Old West, when men were men and women did as they were told, combined with the glamour of the legendary and daring rogue that appeals.

Whatever, the Jesse James in this film is by no means held up as a laudable figure, and any ambiguity about his character is down to the way his public persona contrasts with his actual personality. After he and his brother choose the losing side in the Civil War, they find themselves the victim of vindictive Northeners, which, we are led to believe, resulted in a serious lack of money for the James farm leaving them no choice but to turn to crime. However, Jesse prefers this life to honest work.

In a revealing sequence, after a train robbery the gang hole up in an old widow's farmhouse. One of the robbers has stolen a magazine that tells a Robin Hood style version of Jesse's life, which is noticeably at odds with reality. Flattered, Jesse pays off the widow's mortgage as if trying to live up to this image, but when made fun of by his fellows, he goes over to the bank representative who has collected the money and holds him up, stealing it back. Subversively for such a figure that fictionalisations have treated in the very way that magazine could be accused of, this time the protagonist, with Frank acting as his conscience, is a nasty piece of work deep down and it's only at the end he feels regret for the path he's taken and a wish for the more fairytale life that might have been available to him. Music by Leigh Harline.

[Optimum's Region 2 DVD has the film in its proper Cinemascope ratio, with a trailer as the only extra.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3363 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: