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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

As originally conceived by Walter Bernstein 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." 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

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

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User Reviews

 
Good-looking but unconvincing
12 January 2001 | by dinky-4See all my reviews

Not quite big enough to be an "A" movie, not quite small enough to qualify as a "B" movie, this version of the Jesse James story is too indecisive in its attitude toward its central character to have much impact. The Jesse depicted here is neither good nor bad, and the same thing could be said about the movie itself.

It is a very good-looking movie, though it's completely out of touch with the times it's meant to portray. Every set, every costume, every hair-do says "Hollywood 1950s" rather than "Missouri 1870s."

Robert Wagner seems too clean-cut to be a frontier outlaw but 20th Century-Fox was trying to push him toward stardom at the time, making use of his "hunk" appeal. He's thus given a few bare-chest scenes. Jeffrey Hunter, another would-be star, fits more easily into the western milieu as Jesse's brother, but his part has clearly been subordinated to keep the attention on the Jesse James character. One wonders how the movie might have been improved had these two actors exchanged roles.

Agnes Moorehead and John Carradine lend interest to a better-than-average supporting cast.


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