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The Return of Frank James (1940)

Approved | | Crime, History, Western | 16 August 1940 (USA)
Frank James continues to avoid arrest in order to take revenge on the Ford brothers for their murder of his brother Jesse.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writer:

Sam Hellman (original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Fonda ... Frank James
Gene Tierney ... Eleanor Stone
Jackie Cooper ... Clem
Henry Hull ... Major Rufus Cobb
John Carradine ... Bob Ford
J. Edward Bromberg ... George Runyan
Donald Meek ... Mc Coy
Eddie Collins Eddie Collins ... Station Agent
George Barbier ... Judge
Russell Hicks ... Prosecutor
Ernest Whitman Ernest Whitman ... Pinky
Charles Tannen ... Charlie Ford
Lloyd Corrigan ... Randolph Stone
Victor Kilian ... Preacher
Edward McWade ... Colonel Jackson
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Storyline

Frank James, the brother of Jesse James, has been laying low, living as a farmer and taking care of Clem, the son of one of the members of the James gang. He gets word that Jesse was killed by Bob and Charlie Ford, he hoped that the law would deal with them but when he learns that the railroad man whom he and Jesse terrorized contracted them to kill Jesse and helped them get off, he goes after them. Clem whom he told to remain on the farm goes with him and when it's impossible for him to do so, Frank has no choice to let him tag along. Now in order to cover their tracks they start telling people that Frank James is dead and that they saw it. Eleanor Stone, a female reporter, who wants to write about it interviews them and they are both taken with each other. But eventually she learns who Frank is from the Pinkerton detective who is tracking them but doesn't turn them in. But eventually Frank learns that his farm hand, Pinky has been arrested as his accomplice and is about to be hung. ... Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Even greater than Jesse James. See more »

Genres:

Crime | History | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La venganza de Frank James See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The studio bought the rights to the James Brothers, but changed the facts for entertainment. Although Frank surrendered and stood trial for several robberies without being convicted, he never sought revenge on the Ford Brothers. Charlie committed suicide in 1884 and Robert was murdered in Colorado in 1892. See more »

Goofs

Heard 3 rounds fired, but 4 appear to have been used. See more »

Quotes

Prosecutor: You say you didn't kill the watchman Wilson?
Frank James: Had no reason to.
Prosecutor: You always need a reason for killing?
Frank James: [annoyed] Don't you?
Prosecutor: [curtly] I am not on trial! Your accomplice could've shot Wilson.
Frank James: Yeeeeah... could have...
Prosecutor: Ahhh...!
Frank James: ...but he didn't. Shot from the outside got Wilson.
Prosecutor: I suggest that you *caused* the death of the watchman... either directly, or by using him as a shield in making your escape!
Frank James: Can't arrest ya for suggestin' but 'tain't so.
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK versions are cut by 5 seconds to edit horse falls. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Ring de Banjo
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Arranged by David Buttolph and Herbert W. Spencer
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This is just a western, not a history lesson.
3 November 1999 | by FISHCAKESee all my reviews

Don't allow the fact that this film is pure fiction (aside from the murder of Jesse by Robert Ford) to mar your enjoyment of it as a bang-up good revenge western. Just as in JESSE JAMES, the writers here preferred to stick to the things that never happened! There is plenty of truth in the background, though, depicting the rapaciousness of the burgeoning railroad industry and the yankee carpetbaggers. As to what really happened to Frank and Bob, the facts about Bob are just as dramatic as the fiction of this film. Frank did retire from crime, surrendered to the law after Jesse's murder and was either never charged, or was acquitted of complicity in Jesse's many crimes. He tried various things, including farming, and a short stint as a "floor walker" in Sanger Brothers department store in Dallas, Texas. Apparently he died with his boots "off". "Little Robert Ford" did go into show business, dramatizing how he shot down the dangerous outlaw bravely in a showdown gunfight(!). Eventually, he wound up as the owner of a saloon in Creed, Colorado. Here he was murdered much the same way he had murdered Jesse (in the back) by a man who held a grudge against him. Some say the man did it in revenge for Jesse's murder, but that is likely just speculation. Gene Tierney and the scenery are beautifully photographed in gorgeous technicolor throughout.


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