The Return of Frank James 1940

The Return of Frank James

Critics Consensus

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83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 6

48%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 460

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Movie Info

When Jesse James's murderers are set free, his brother Frank vows revenge and, accompanied by his gang, sets out to track them down. To fund his manhunt, he robs an express office and is subsequently wrongly accused of the clerk's murder, but a newspaper reporter is determined to find out the truth.

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Critic Reviews for The Return of Frank James

All Critics (6) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for The Return of Frank James

  • Apr 29, 2010
    Average western, sequel to "Jesse James" with none of Lang's more familiar mood touches. Still not bad with Fonda strong in the lead. Gene Tierney is very green, lovely but a bit stiff and missing the sense of concealed hysteria under the placid exterior that the years and tragedy would bring to her best work.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Jul 02, 2008
    A Fritz Lang Western sounds mighty strange, but it is good.
    Anthony V Super Reviewer
  • Apr 30, 2008
    This sequel to the 1939 Jesse James sees his brother Frank hunting down those responsible for his death. And I must say I've never seen such a bloodless warpath. We are are used to the way films can romanticise outlaws, but this one really takes the cake; Henry Fonda's Frank makes Robin Hood look like Charles Manson! The only crime he commits is a robbery (for very good reasons of course) and the of the men he is hunting, one (or rather the most unconvincing dummy in cinematic history!) falls off a cliff and the other dies before he gets a chance to shoot him. For most of the film Frank is far more interested in romancing Gene Tierney than revenge (although who could blame him for that...) Fritz Lang is clearly not comfortable with this genre; it all feels very static and the wishy washy technicolor does not suit his visual style. But it is the overly simplistic script that is by far the biggest handicap of this film. It's kept watchable by the amiable cast, but it's hardly the finest moment of anyone involved.
    xGary X Super Reviewer
  • Dec 16, 2007
    [font=Century Gothic]"The Return of Frank James" starts in 1882 with the murder of outlaw Jesse James by the brothers Ford(John Carradine and Charles Tannen). Jesse's brother, Frank(Henry Fonda), is hiding out in the Ozarks with his ward, Clem(Jackie Cooper), but he has no interest in revenge since he believes the courts will find the brothers guilty. But he is proven wrong when they are immediately pardoned and given the reward money to boot. Sensing trouble, they head west. Frank is swiftly on their trail but first he has to make an unauthorized withdrawal from the local railway office.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]Directed by Fritz Lang, "The Return of Frank James" is an entertaining technicolor western. Having recently seen "Fury," I was disappointed not to see more on the nature of revenge. And the very dated views on race(although there is one late sequence that tries to reverse this) are offensive, even with an early attempt at feminism. I know this may not be fair but I prefer the recent "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."[/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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