The True Story of Jesse James (1957)
as Jesse James
as Frank James
as Zee James
as Mrs. Samuel
as Cole Younger
as Barney Remington
as Rev. Jethro Bailey
as Anne James
as Dr. Samuel
as Jim Younger
as Maj. Rufus Cobb
as Charley Ford
as Sheriff Trump
as Sheriff Yoe
as Bill Stiles
as Deputy Leo
as Deputy Ed
as Bob Younger
as Sam Wells
as Dick Liddell
as Bill Ryan
as Archie at Age 4
as Attorney Walker
as Rowina Cobb
Critic Reviews for The True Story of Jesse James
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.
A fine Western, the only regret being Robert Wagner. Imagining Dean in the central role makes it one of the great might-have-beens.
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.
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.
Obviously the pair have a hard act to follow, but they manage it perfectly well, with Hunter particularly good in the brotherly sidekick role.
Audience Reviews for The True Story of Jesse James
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.
The performances and direction feel totally phoned in. The few nice moments it does have are outweighed by a really lack luster effort.
A remake of Henry King's "Jesse James" which introduces the Younger Brothers, ups Jesse's Robin Hood-like philanthropy and blames treacherous Yankees, rather than the railroad, for turning a good man into an outlaw. Some scenes are almost identical to the earlier film but the narrative is told in flashbacks this time around. John Carradine, who originally played Robert Ford, returns as a preacher in this, Nicholas Ray's version. Despite wooden acting throughout, this is a solid, good-looking western. I especially liked the idea of the souvenir-hunters taking trophies from the 'Howard' home after Jesse's death.
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