The Return of Frank James (1940)
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as Ben Woodson/Frank James
as Eleanor Stone
as Clem/Tom Grayson
as Maj. Rufus Cobb
as Bob Ford
as Station Agent at Eldora
as Ferris the Judge
as Pinky Washington
as Charles Ford
as Randolph Stone
as Col. Fentridge Jackson
as Man at Wagon Sale
as Sheriff Daniels
as Nellie Blane
as Wilson the Watchman
as Mose the Bellboy
as `Jesse James' Actor
as Pappy the Old Actor
as Jury Foreman
as Court Clerk
as Old Man on Rocker
as Mrs. Edna Stone
as `Frank James' Actor
as Courtroom Extra
as Confederate Veteran/Juror
Critic Reviews for The Return of Frank James
As a snapshot of what mindless popcorn cinema looked like in 1940, it's a flattering example, still watchable and breezy even if it's not remotely challenging on any level.
The abstruse stylization of Rancho Notorious is still a decade away, though the frontier is already a severe plain enlivened by intimations of hellfire
Fine Fritz Lang telling of Frank James (Fonda) in sequel to Jesse James.
Gets by with its remarkable photography (an early attempt at color for Lang), crisp action sequences and breezy storytelling.
Audience Reviews for The Return of Frank James
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.
A Fritz Lang Western sounds mighty strange, but it is good.
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.
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