On celluloid Jesse James has had more lives than a cat, and The True Story of Jesse James suggests it's time screenwriters let him roll over and play dead for real and reel.
Though hardly Nicholas Ray's sturdiest effort, this 1957 'Scope western began as one of his more ambitious conceptions, with an unorthodox narrative structure and deliberately theatrical sets.
Ray is one of the great natural filmmakers, a master of moral ambiguity and jittery mise-en-scene.
One of Nicholas Ray's weaker films, this mythical Western displays his thematic concern with protagonists that are outsiders but suffers from the performances of pretty boys Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter.
| Original Score: B-
Ray's pacing builds some good excitement, and as a western alone the film works nicely. But there are deeper things going on, some not entirely and successfully worked out.
| Original Score: 3/4
A fine Western, the only regret being Robert Wagner. Imagining Dean in the central role makes it one of the great might-have-beens.
Obviously the pair have a hard act to follow, but they manage it perfectly well, with Hunter particularly good in the brotherly sidekick role.