Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jesse James (1939)

After his mother (Jane Darwell) dies when a railroad man (Brian Donlevy) sets their cabin on fire, young Jesse James (Tyrone Power, looking impossibly handsome) gets his revenge by killing the railroad man and begins a notorious rampage of killing and robbing ..... but he's really a good guy at heart. This flagrantly inaccurate take on the outlaw Jesse James is highly romanticized and sentimental but 1939 audiences lapped it up making it the fourth highest grossing film of the year. It's particularly hard to take seriously after Andrew Dominik superb THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD from 2007. The film might have been better served if shot in black and white as the bright Technicolor hues only emphasize the unreality of the whole thing. It doesn't help that the film's three leading men (besides Power, there's Henry Fonda and Randolph Scott) collectively act like exhibits from the Redwood National Forest. Still, the director Henry King manages to whip up some excitement here and there. One of the film's more dubious credits is that after they ran a horse off a cliff and killed it, animal safety on film sets became monitored by the American Humane Association. With Nancy Kelly (THE BAD SEED), Henry Hull, John Carradine and Donald Meek.

No comments:

Post a Comment