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The True Story Of Jesse James [DVD]

Robert Wagner , Jeffrey Hunter , Nicholas Ray    Parental Guidance   DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, Hope Lange, Agnes Moorehead, Alan Hale Jr
  • Directors: Nicholas Ray
  • Producers: Herbert B. Swope Jr.
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Optimum Home Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Sep 2007
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000RWDY4A
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,429 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A Nicholas Ray directed western attempting to separate reality from the countless myths. The story begins with the turning point for the James gang, the Northfield, Minnesota raid, and then - through flashbacks - follows the last eighteen years of the outlaw's life, as he eventually tries (and fails) to settle down and lead a quiet family life.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The James Brothers. 6 Oct 2012
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
The True Story of Jesse James is directed by Nicholas Ray and adapted to screenplay by Walter Newman from a 1939 screenplay written by Nunnally Johnson. It stars Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, Hope Lange, Agnes Moorhead and Alan Hale Junior. Out of 20th Century Fox, it's a CinemaScope/De Luxe colour production with music scored by Leigh Harline and cinematography by Joe MacDonald.

20th Century Fox choose to remake their own 1939 movie that starred Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda as Jesse and Frank respectively, that film itself was historically dubious, this version, with flashbacks a go go, is a dizzying mess structurally as much as it is factually. With Nicholas Ray at the end of his Fox contract, so therefore using this film as his contract filler, the picture lacks the pizazz so evident in some of his earlier movies. Undoubtedly hampered by studio interference, one can only wonder just how good the film could have been under Ray's total command. There is even some footage from the 39 film inserted into this version, yes the film is that lazy at times. It's rather bizarre to see Wagner and Hunter jump through a window on horseback, only for them to morph into Power and Fonda before completing their escape!

Picture is dealing in the main points of the James' boys life, how and why they became the notorious crims that they were. However, in an attempt to beef up this new updated remake, we are asked to try and involve ourselves with Jesse by way of a complex narrative structure that is just too complex for its own good. Jesse James in his numerous film incarnations has always had an aura of romanticism about him, which is strange since he was a murdering armed robber!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Those Oh So Cool Dusters Ride Again. 17 Dec 2011
Way back in 1928 the long forgotten silent western star Fred Thomson made a film called "Jesse James" depicting the James boys as loyal Confederates still fighting loyally for the southern cause. The film was shunned because there were still people living who remembered the murderous depredations of the James gang. Then just ten short years later Roy Rogers was making a singing western about Jesse James. How fickle a thing is public opinion. Since then we have had many films about the brothers, the best known being perhaps the romanticised Henry King version "Jesse James"(39), Walter Hill's excellent "The Long Riders"(80), and the laudable recent Brad Pitt vehicle "The Assassination etc etc etc"(07). This one is Fox's remake of their 1939 version directed by Hollywood maverick Nicholas Ray. For that reason alone it had to be worth watching! Unfortunately Ray was unable to exercise the artistic control he had in his previous two westerns, the delirious "Johnny Guitar"(54) and the interesting "Run for Cover"(55), thus making for a far more uneven film.

This film has an even more youthful looking Jesse than Tyrone Power's 39 version in Robert Wagner. He is accompanied by Jeffery Hunter as brother Frank, fresh from his success in John Ford's epic "The Searchers". The two just as in the earlier film start off with the best of motives, but this time they get a taste for banditry and find that once you've sipped from the poison chalice, getting out ain't so easy. The two main stars are helped out by a decent enough support cast including the venerable Agnes Moorhead as the boys mother, Alan Hale jnr as a rotund Cole Younger and even John Carradine as a Bible spouting reverend. They are all let down a bit by the yoyoing script which kicks the backside out of the good old flashback.
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4.0 out of 5 stars jesse james film 15 Dec 2013
By bob
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
good film love stories on the james brothers, and the stars that played them. good price and ouick delivery great
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wagner & Pitt shoot it out. 7 May 2008
Having watched 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Yawn'...(Ford). I was left more than a little wanting (see review), so I got this film. It's a big story to tell and of course they were'nt about to make a three hour biopic in 1957, so what we get is the bare bones of james' escapades through a series of flashbacks -but it at least gives us more of a well rounded piece.

There's a good deal of action on show and it's generally typical for its time. Whether you're a Wagner fan, a western fan or are looking for an easy going and entertaining insight into an american legend -you won't be disapointed. Adios.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very compelling 20 Mar 2007
By R. Gale - Published on
Although this version of the Jesse James story is more factual than most, it's at the expense of entertainment. Robert Wagner simply does not have the charisma that the character needs for us to believe that so many men, older than he was, were willing to follow him. Nor are any of the characters particularly well drawn, which doesn't give the actors much to do. The story is told in flashback form, starting with Northfield, but this does not seem to be to the film's advantage. The first 10 or more minutes are spent with the Northfield posse trying to track and find the gang, and because there are no characters to be invested in, it's rather dull. Later, when the flashbacks catch up to the present, we see some of the same material again. Interestingly, the screenplay credit says it's based on Nunnally Johnson's screenplay for the 1939 version with Tyrone Power. That version took a lot of liberties with the history, but is far more entertaining.

Technically, the DVD looks fine. It's a clean print, nice transfer with decent color. A trailer and a newsreel clip comprise the extras.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True Story of Jesse James 24 Feb 2008
By Benny Crow - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
In the movie "The true Story of Jesse James, the plot is certainly following the traditions of Jesse and Frank being Robin Hoods, when in effect they may have just been Hoods Robbin for Frank and Jesse and no one else. Still it is a good movie for the time and tells much of the story about the ill fated attempt to rob the bank at Northfield Minnesota. They should have never gone into that area in the first place as it took them totally out of their land of sympathizers and into the jowls of Northern veterans and citizens, Be that as it may, I have for years tried to find out who the blind balladeer who sings at the last. The choreagraphy of that final scene with the balladeer and his aid is very story telling and a fitting end to this episode. I wish i could find this song by him in its entirety. You cannot take anything from this movie but good thoughts about all the direction and acting that went ito it. Definitely a classic and worth the money.
2.0 out of 5 stars poor movie 17 Jun 2014
By az man - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Doesn't seem like a true story more like some old timers version of the story. otherwise just another old movie.
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunts 12 April 2014
By Jack N. Young - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I doubled RJ Wagner on this one. It was the only time in my career that I took a horse off a cliff. I admit, I was scared because I was afraid I would hurt the animal. But, I didn't and it went off without a hitch. It was a good story and I'm certain you will like this movie if you like westerns.

I had worked with RJ before on a water picture called BENEATH THE 12 MILE REEF. We became good friends after that. I think they stayed with accuracy as much as possible regarding the James boys. There are so many versions but you will like this one.
4.0 out of 5 stars review summary 5 Sep 2013
By John Spencer - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Pretty enlightening view of "The rest of the story". A repeat of the same ruthless banker situation which we are in today. Nothing sacred but Money.
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