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The True Story of Jesse James (1957)

Approved | | Action, Biography, Crime | March 1957 (UK)
Biopic loosely based on the last 18 years of Jesse James' life and focused on the relationship between brothers Jesse and Frank James.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

Walter Newman (screenplay), Nunnally Johnson (earlier screenplay)
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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Wagner ... Jesse James
Jeffrey Hunter ... Frank James
Hope Lange ... Zee James
Agnes Moorehead ... Mrs. Samuel
Alan Hale Jr. ... Cole Younger (as Alan Hale)
Alan Baxter ... Barney Remington
John Carradine ... Rev. Jethro Bailey
Rachel Stephens Rachel Stephens ... Anne James
Barney Phillips ... Dr. Samuel
Biff Elliot ... Jim Younger
Frank Overton ... Maj. Rufus Cobb
Barry Atwater ... Attorney Walker
Marian Seldes ... Rowena Cobb
Chubby Johnson ... Arkew
Frank Gorshin ... Charley Ford
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Storyline

The last eighteen years in the life of Jesse James, showing his home life in Missouri, his experiences with Quantrill's raiders, his career of banditry with his brother Frank and the Younger brothers, and his attempt to lead a peaceful life after the disastrous attempt to rob the bank at Northfield, Minn. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They didn't dare tell this story before!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1957 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Jesse James See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,585,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As originally conceived by Walter Bernstein and Nicholas Ray, the film had a non-linear plot with flashbacks, but studio boss Buddy Adler couldn't understand it and forced Ray to recut it with the scenes in chronological order. Bernstein said the recut rendered the film "pointless." See more »

Goofs

Modern buildings are visible in the background during the Northfield, Minnesota robbery. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Samuel: Jesse... They drove my son to it. The Yankees drove him to it. He's a good boy. You're his wife, Zee, you know how kind he is.
Zee James: Try and sleep, Mother Samuel.
Mrs. Samuel: You know, once, he brought home a bird that had fallen from its nest. His father was alive then, and little Jesse wouldn't be comforted until Reverend James gave the little bird a funeral service. Jesse always was a gentle boy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

All UK versions are cut by 9 secs to remove stock footage of the same fatal cliff-top jump that resulted in the death of a horse in the 1939 Jesse James. See more »

Connections

Remake of Jesse James (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The truest Jesse?
14 September 2005 | by tmwestSee all my reviews

Nicholas Ray' s objective in this film was to tell the true story of Jesse James, since so many other films were made where facts and characters were changed. He achieved this objective, not only with the facts but with the characters. If I had to choose how to portray Jesse James more like I would imagine him to be in real life, it would be not like a hero but as a man looking for survival, glory and who did not think twice before killing. Robert Wagner is an excellent Jesse also Jeffrey Hunter as Frank and so is Alan Hale Jr. as Cole Younger. From photos I have seen Hale Jr. and Younger had the same physical type. The film starts at the turning point for the James gang, Northfield, Minnesota and there are many flashbacks to tell the story. There is a good comic moment when both Cole Younger and Jesse act like Robin Hood to an old woman. When Hope Lange(Zee) says that all Jesse wanted was to give a good life to his family, it inspires a lot of thinking. Nicholas Ray did not apply himself too much in making this film, he kind of neglected it, because he didn't really get his way with the producers. Even though, it came out OK, but it pales in comparison with "The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford".


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