|Directed by||Henry King|
|Written by||Nunnally Johnson|
|Produced by|| Darryl F. Zanuck |
|Starring|| Tyrone Power |
|Cinematography|| George Barnes |
W. Howard Greene
|Edited by||Barbara McLean|
|Music by||Louis Silvers|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$2,335,000 (rentals)|
Jesse James is a 1939 American Western film directed by Henry King and starring Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Nancy Kelly and Randolph Scott. Written by Nunnally Johnson, the film is loosely based on the life of Jesse James, the outlaw from whom the film derives its name. The supporting cast features Henry Hull, John Carradine, Brian Donlevy, Jane Darwell and Lon Chaney, Jr..
The American Humane Association began to oversee filmmaking after a horse died when it was driven off a cliff on set. It has been described by the British Channel 4 website as being "notorious for its historical inaccuracy."
A railroad representative named Barshee forces farmers to give up the land the railroad is going to go through, giving them $1 per acre (much less than fair price) for it. When they come to Jesse's home, Barshee is told by Jesse that his mother Mrs Samuels is the farm's owner.
Barshee repeatedly tries to force her into selling, until her other son Frank James gets involved. Frank fights and easily beats Barshee, but Jesse shoots Barshee in the hand, in self-defence. When arrest warrants are issued for Frank and Jesse, Major A. Rufus Cobb, an editor in nearby Liberty, Missouri and uncle of Zerelda (Zee) Cobb, Jesse's lover, quickly comes to tell them to leave.
Frank and Jesse learn that Barshee is responsible for the death of their mother and Jesse kills him in revenge. This begins Frank and Jesse's career as outlaws. They are pursued relentlessly by the unscrupulous railway boss, McCoy. Three years later, with a $5,000 reward on his head, Jesse marries Zee and turns himself in, at her insistence, having been promised a light sentence by Marshall Will Wright. But McCoy manages to manipulate the situation through his connections, by having the judge dismissed pre-trial, and installing a new judge, who is likely to favour McCoy's recommendation of imposing the death penalty for Jesse.
Frank breaks Jesse out of jail, and the James gang continue their life of crime. Eventually Zee leaves him, taking their son Jesse Jr. with her. Years later, following an unsuccessful robbery, a wounded Jesse returns home and Zee joins him in the belief that they will escape to California. Meanwhile, Bob Ford, an old member of the James gang, together with his brother Charlie Ford, contact Jesse, claiming that Frank sent them to ask Jesse to participate in their next robbery. They assert that the job will earn them all a large sum of money for very little risk. Jesse nevertheless refuses the Ford brothers' offer, and the brothers exit the house. However, sensing an opportunity to claim the generous reward for Jesse's death, Bob Ford sneaks back inside, and shoots Jesse in the back, thereby killing him.
Lorenzo Bayne as Bartender (uncredited)
Much of the filming for Jesse James took place around the town of Pineville, Missouri in McDonald County, Missouri, because at the time the town and surrounding area looked much the same as it would have in the 1880s and 1890s. The town's historic Old McDonald County Courthouse, a National Register of Historic Places site, was featured in the film serving as a stand in for the Liberty, Missouri courthouse. Pineville still celebrates Jesse James Days annually in homage to the film and the movie stars who descended on the small town to make it. In their off time from filming, the films' stars and crew, including Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda and Randolph Scott, would seek out relaxation at the Shadow Lake resort in Noel, Missouri, on the shores of Elk River (Oklahoma).
Jesse James was the third highest-grossing film of 1939, behind Gone with the Wind and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington . A sequel, The Return of Frank James , directed by Fritz Lang with Henry Fonda reprising his role as Frank James along with other actors playing the same characters as they had in Jesse James, was released in 1940.
The film was on continuous release in the United States for more than 15 years. The film was reissued in March 1946 and was released for a fourth time in July 1951. By May 1954, it had played over 52,000 bookings in the United States and Canada.
A remake was directed by Nicholas Ray in 1957, The True Story of Jesse James .
The film gained a measure of notoriety for a scene in which a horse falls to its death down a rocky slope toward the end of the film. This scene was one of many cited by the American Humane Association against Hollywood's abuse of animals, and led to the association's monitoring of filmmaking.However, according to Leonard Mosley's biography Zanuck: The Rise and Fall of Hollywood's last Tycoon, none of "the horses [had] been injured. Under Zanuck's direction, a short distance down the cliff, on a conveniently broad platform, the unit roper had arranged a soft landing for the horses."
The most difficult riding stunts were performed for high fees by Cliff Lyons who doubled both costars.
Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor who had a career that spanned five decades in Hollywood. Fonda cultivated a strong, appealing screen image in several films now considered to be classics, earning one Academy Award for Best Actor from two nominations.
Alexander Franklin James was an American Confederate soldier and guerrilla; in the post-Civil War period, he was an outlaw. The older brother of outlaw Jesse James, Frank was also part of the James–Younger Gang.
Brigham Young is a 1940 American biographical romantic drama film starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell and Dean Jagger that describes Young's succession to the presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after founder Joseph Smith was assassinated in 1844. The supporting cast features Brian Donlevy, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Mary Astor, Vincent Price and Tully Marshall.
The James–Younger Gang was a notable 19th-century gang of American outlaws that revolved around Jesse James and his brother Frank James. The gang was based in the state of Missouri, the home of most of the members.
Tyrone Edmund Power III was an American actor. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Power appeared in dozens of films, often in swashbuckler roles or romantic leads. His better-known films include The Mark of Zorro, Marie Antoinette, Blood and Sand, The Black Swan, Prince of Foxes, Witness for the Prosecution, The Black Rose, and Captain from Castile. Power's own favorite film among those that he starred in was Nightmare Alley.
Jane Darwell was an American actress of stage, film, and television. With appearances in more than 100 major movies spanning half a century, Darwell is perhaps best-remembered for her poignant portrayal of the matriarch and leader of the Joad family in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, for which she received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and her role as the Bird Woman in Disney's musical family film Mary Poppins. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Waldo Brian Donlevy was an American actor, noted for playing dangerous tough guys from the 1930s to the 1960s. He usually appeared in supporting roles. Among his best-known films are Beau Geste (1939), The Great McGinty (1940) and Wake Island (1942). For his role as Sergeant Markoff in Beau Geste, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Zerelda Amanda Mimms James was the wife and first cousin of Jesse James.
The Return of Frank James is a 1940 Western film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney. It is a sequel to Henry King's 1939 film Jesse James. Written by Sam Hellman, the film loosely follows the life of Frank James following the death of his outlaw brother, Jesse James, at the hands of the Ford brothers. The film is universally considered historically inaccurate, but was a commercial success. It was the first motion picture for the actress Gene Tierney, who plays a reporter for the newspaper The Denver Star.
The Long Riders is a 1980 American Western film directed by Walter Hill. It was produced by James Keach, Stacy Keach and Tim Zinnemann and featured an original soundtrack by Ry Cooder. Cooder won the Best Music award in 1980 from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards for this soundtrack. The film was entered into the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a 2007 American epic revisionist Western film written and directed by Andrew Dominik. Adapted from Ron Hansen's 1983 novel of the same title, the film dramatizes the relationship between Jesse James and Robert Ford, focusing on the events that lead up to the titular killing.
Robert Newton Ford was an American outlaw best known for his assassination of Jesse James on April 3, 1882. He and his brother Charles, both members of the James–Younger Gang under James’s leadership, went on to perform paid re-enactments of the killing at publicity events. Ford would spend his later years operating multiple saloons and dance halls in the West.
The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 American drama film directed by John Ford. It was based on John Steinbeck's 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Nunnally Johnson and the executive producer was Darryl F. Zanuck.
Zerelda Elizabeth Cole James Simms Samuel was the mother of Frank James and Jesse James.
I Shot Jesse James is a 1949 American Western film directed by Samuel Fuller about the murder of Jesse James by Robert Ford and Robert Ford's life afterwards. The story is built around a fictional rivalry between Ford and his eventual killer Edward Kelley over a woman. I Shot Jesse James is Samuel Fuller's first movie, and stars Reed Hadley as Jesse James and John Ireland as Bob Ford.
The John Ford Stock Company is the name given to the large collection of actors used repeatedly in the films of American director John Ford. Most famous among these was John Wayne, who appeared in twenty-four films and three television episodes for the director. Other members of the "stock company" include:
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.
Jesse Woodson James was an American outlaw, bank and train robber, guerrilla, and leader of the James–Younger Gang. Raised in the "Little Dixie" area of western Missouri, James and his family maintained strong Southern sympathies. He and his brother Frank James joined pro-Confederate guerrillas known as "bushwhackers" operating in Missouri and Kansas during the American Civil War. As followers of William Quantrill and "Bloody Bill" Anderson, they were accused of committing atrocities against Union soldiers and civilian abolitionists, including the Centralia Massacre in 1864.
Jesse James is a 1927 American silent Western film produced by Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky and released through Paramount Pictures. The film was directed by Lloyd Ingraham and starred cowboy star Fred Thomson whose wife Frances Marion wrote the scenario under the nom de plume Frank M. Clifton.
Cultural depictions of Jesse James appear in various types of media, including literature, video games, comics, music, stage productions, films, television, and radio. James is variously described as an American outlaw, bank and train robber, guerrilla, and leader of the James–Younger Gang. After the American civil war, as members of various gangs of outlaws, Jesse and Frank James robbed banks, stagecoaches, and trains across the Midwest, gaining national fame and even sympathy despite their crimes. James became an iconic figure from the era, and his life has been dramatized and memorialized numerous times.
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