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The True Story of Jesse James

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Director  Nicholas Ray
Music director  Leigh Harline
Language  English
6.2/10 IMDb

Genre  Action, Biography, Crime
Duration  
Country  United States
The True Story of Jesse James movie poster
Writer  Walter Newman, Nunnally Johnson
Release date  February 22, 1957
Screenplay  Nunnally Johnson, Walter Newman
Cast  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)
Similar movies  The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Long Riders, American Outlaws, Jesse James, Frank & Jesse, The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid

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The True Story of Jesse James is a 1957 American Western drama film adapted from Henry King's 1939 film Jesse James, which was only loosely based on James' life. It was directed by Nicholas Ray, with Robert Wagner portraying Jesse James and Jeffrey Hunter starring as Frank James. Filming took place during 1955. Originally titled The James Brothers in the United Kingdom, the film focused on the relationship between the two James brothers during the last 18 years of Jesse James' life.

Contents

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Plot

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Jesse (Robert Wagner) and Frank James (Jeffrey Hunter) ride with their gang into Northfield, Minnesota for a raid. While robbing a bank, gun fighting breaks out and two of the gang are killed. The James brothers and another gang member head out of town and hide out while investigators from the Remington Detective Agency search for James to receive a $30,000 reward. While the three are hiding, the film tells the story of how the James brothers came to be criminals in flashback.

Cast

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  • Robert Wagner as Jesse James
  • Jeffrey Hunter as Frank James
  • Hope Lange as Zerelda "Zee" James, wife of Jesse
  • Agnes Moorehead as Zerelda Cole James, mother of the James brothers
  • Alan Hale, Jr. as Cole Younger
  • John Carradine as Rev. Jethro Bailey
  • Biff Elliot as Jim Younger
  • Frank Gorshin as Charley Ford
  • Carl Thayler as Robby Ford
  • Adam Marshall as Dick Liddell
  • Anthony Ray as Bob Younger
  • Louis Zito as Clell Miller
  • Paul Wexler as Jayhawker
  • Clegg Hoyt as Tucker (uncredited)
  • Production

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    Shortly after his success with 1955's Rebel Without a Cause, Ray was hired to direct this movie based on Jesse James' later life. He had only one movie left under his contract with 20th Century Fox, before he would depart for Europe and film Bitter Victory. The studio suggested a remake of King's 1939 biography of Jesse James.

    The True Story of Jesse James Suite YouTube

    It is speculated that had James Dean not died in a car crash before production began, he would have starred in this film as Jesse James. In place of Dean, director Ray hoped to cast Elvis Presley, who had successfully completed his first film, Love Me Tender. Ray's son Tony also was cast in the film as Bob Younger, the first time he appeared in one of his father's films.

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    Hope Lange, a contract player for 20th Century Fox, was hired for the role after her Academy Award-nominated success with Peyton Place. John Carradine had appeared in the first Jesse James film as Bob Ford and appears in the 1957 version as Rev. Jethro Bailey.

    Ray shot the film using CinemaScope, a new technology at that time. The movie was shot in 1956. Stock footage that had previously been used on the earlier James film which inspired this one was re-used and reconfigured for CinemaScope.

    Characterizations

    In the film, Jesse James is portrayed as a "Nicholas Ray hero"—a consistent type of character seen throughout Ray's films and thought to be based on Ray himself. Ray's similar characters include Jim Stark (James Dean) in Rebel Without a Cause and Jesus Christ in King of Kings.

    Comic book adaption

  • Dell Four Color #757 (March 1957)
  • References

    The True Story of Jesse James Wikipedia
    The True Story of Jesse James IMDb The True Story of Jesse James themoviedb.org


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