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Friday, April 30, 2010

Return Of Jesse James (1950)

Poverty row western is historically pretty ludicrous. Using real personages of the Old West like Frank James (Reed Hadley), Robert (Clifton Young) and Charlie Ford (Tommy Noonan) and the Younger gang but in a totally fabricated plot. A cocky outlaw (John Ireland) usurps Jesse James’ identity and goes on a robbing spree thus leading the authorities to believe that James isn’t dead after all and the Fords killed the wrong man. The silliness of the plot aside, the term noir western applies here and is where any interest lies. The cold blooded Ann Dvorak (Hawks' SCARFACE) is as scheming as any noir femme fatale and the fatalistic ending is right out of THE ASPHALT JUNGLE or THE KILLING. Hugh O’Brian and Henry Hull co-star.

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