The True Story of Jesse James (1957)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Actually, this retelling of the life of outlaw Jesse James is only as true as its predecessor, the highly fanciful 1939 Tyrone Power-Henry Fonda starrer Jesse James. Generous chunks of stock footage from the earlier film are reused here, albeit reframed to accommodate the CinemaScope process. Robert Wagner makes an interesting James, though he is upstaged throughout by Jeffrey Hunter as his brother Frank. Adhering to the Canon, the film insists that the James boys were forced into a life of crime by greedy railroad men -- hence, their ongoing vendetta against trains. Director Nicholas Ray adds a few psychological nuances not found in the more prosaic 1939 film. John Carradine, who played "dirty little coward" Bob Ford in the original Jesse James, appears in the remake as Rev. Jethro Bailey.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Classics , Western
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation

Cast

Jeffrey Hunter
as Frank James
Hope Lange
as Zee James
John Carradine
as Rev. Jethro Bailey
Agnes Moorehead
as Mrs. Samuel
Robert Wagner
as Jesse James
Frank Overton
as Maj. Rufus Cobb
Frank Gorshin
as Charley Ford
Alan Hale Jr.
as Cole Younger
Tom Pittman
as Hughie
Alan Baxter
as Barney Remington
John Doucette
as Hillstrom
Robert Adler
as Sheriff Trump
Biff Elliot
as Jim Younger
Marian Seldes
as Rowina Cobb
Barry Atwater
as Attorney Walker
Rachel Stephens
as Anne James
Anthony Ray
as Bob Younger
Barney Phillips
as Dr. Samuel
Aaron Saxon
as Wiley
Clegg Hoyt
as Tucker
Joe Di Reda
as Bill Ryan
Clancy Cooper
as Sheriff Yoe
Tom Greenway
as Deputy Leo
Sumner Williams
as Bill Stiles
Mike Steen
as Deputy Ed
Kellogg Junge, Jr.
as Archie at Age 4
Mark Hickman
as Sam Wells
Adam Marshal
as Dick Liddell
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The True Story of Jesse James

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (4)

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.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Ray is one of the great natural filmmakers, a master of moral ambiguity and jittery mise-en-scene.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A fine Western, the only regret being Robert Wagner. Imagining Dean in the central role makes it one of the great might-have-beens.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | August 30, 2009
EmanuelLevy.Com

Obviously the pair have a hard act to follow, but they manage it perfectly well, with Hunter particularly good in the brotherly sidekick role.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Film4

Audience Reviews for The True Story of Jesse James

½

I normally like movies on the James Gang but this is not as good as I expected ecspecially with the cast the had, Robert Wagner as Jesse James, and Alan Hale Jr. as Cole Younger.

Anthony Petry III
Anthony Petry III
½

Average western with a haircut performance by Robert Wagner and a rather bland one by Jeffrey Hunter. Even the usually excellent Hope Lange and Agnes Moorehead are given very little to work with here.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

½

The performances and direction feel totally phoned in. The few nice moments it does have are outweighed by a really lack luster effort.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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