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Jesse James

Tyrone Power , Henry Fonda , Henry King , Irving Cummings    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 16.98
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Frequently Bought Together

Jesse James + The Return of Frank James (Bilingual) [Import] + The Ox-Bow Incident
Price For All Three: CDN$ 42.58


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Product Description

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No studio was better than Darryl Zanuck's 20th Century-Fox at dishing out lovingly textured Americana, of which this movie is a prime example. The outlaw gets canonized as an American Robin Hood, an honest farmer who, with post-Civil War Missouri overrun by corrupt agents of the Railroad, had no choice but to start robbing banks and trains to achieve a measure of social justice the System wouldn't provide. Tyrone Power as Jesse is quietly out-acted by Fox's emerging star Henry Fonda as brother Frank. The supporting cast is solid--Randolph Scott, Nancy Kelly, Brian Donlevy, John Carradine (as Bob Ford), Jane Darwell, Donald Meek--but the liveliest thing in the movie is Henry Hull, playing a newspaperman whose editorials invariably prescribe that whomever he's denouncing be "taken out and shot like dawgs." Fonda, Hull, and Carradine re-created their roles the following year in The Return of Frank James. --Richard T. Jameson

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, entertaining movie with great acting Aug. 7 2006
By Jody
Format:DVD
This 1939 movie production titled "Jesse James" starring Tyrone Power, Nancy Kelly and Henry Fonda is fun and entertaining, and the acting is intense and passionate. I rate this movie as a must-see.

Yes, yes, there will be all the historical purists who will blather on and on and on (and on) about this movie not being historically acturate. They may be right, but this is a movie not a documentary and it is not right to give it a poor rating just because it is fictional.

This movie is entertaining, and the passion in the eyes of the actor Tyrone Power will keep you watching for what his character will do next.

I recommend this movie to all ages and all generations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable movie, but historically inaccurate March 15 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
"Jesse James" has good actors, a quality script, and attractive, colorful scenery. However, it is wildly inaccurate from a historical perspective. The way Jesse James is lionized in this movie is hard to stomach if you know the facts. I will concede that Jesse was a colorful, brave man who loved his family, and had a tough life growing up, but he was also a thief and a killer. That should be remembered when watching this movie, which is at least 50% fiction.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Outlaw or Hero? Dec 8 2001
Format:VHS Tape
A real life legend of the Old West comes to life in this 1939 film, which may not be historically accurate or honest enough for purists, but nevertheless tells a good story while leaving any moral judgments up to the audience. "Jesse James," directed by Henry King, stars Tyrone Power as the man heralded by some as the Robin Hood of cowboys. Whether or not he was actually a hero is debatable, and what this movie does is supply the motivation for the wrong-doing on Jesse's part-- at least up to a point. At the time this film was made, it was necessary for the filmmaker to present a story like this in a way that reflected a reckoning of sorts for a character engaged in any form of moral turpitude; and this film is no exception. But in this case, it's done with subtlety, and in a way that still allows the viewer's sympathies to be with the protagonist, regardless of his crimes.
At the heart of the matter is basically another version of the oft-told David and Goliath tale. In this story, Goliath is the railroad, expanding ever-westward and growing bigger and stronger by the day. When they encounter the farm on which Jesse, his brother, Frank (Henry Fonda) and their mother (Jane Darwell) reside and make their living, the railroad does what any self-respecting conglomerate would do-- they take it, pay the owners a pittance and lay their rail without giving it another thought. Only this time, the railroad messed with the wrong people. Not one to take it lying down, Jesse forms a gang-- which includes Frank-- and strikes back in the only way he knows how: By robbing the trains.
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By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
There was no surpise when the recent publication of the TOP 50 STARS list put HENRY FONDA in the top ten, because Henry Fonda is certainly one of the pantheon of Hollywood actors that defined the term "star." JESSE JAMES offers a delightful opportunity to go back to 1939 when the star many of us know as a grand old man was a breathtakingly handsome romantic lead. In this film Fonda has the second lead, playing Frank James, America's most famous romantic outlaw, with the characteristic understated warmth and dignity that would enoble his whole career. The real star of JESSE JAMES is Tyrone Power, sadly neglected by the TOP 50 LIST, but an actor of exceptional charm, charisma and talent as we can see from his performance in the title role. The two actors achieve a balance in their different styles that not only colours and enriches the story but creates a beautiful context of the love between two brothers. JESSE JAMES marked the beginning of a long collaboration between Power and director Henry King. King is barely remembered today, but he was an integral part of Hollywood history, making 116 films from the birth of cinema until the 1960's. He came from a rural background, evident in his silent classic, TOL'ABLE DAVID, and in JESSE JAMES he evokes a realistic portrait of farming folk just as he had in his earlier hit. He shows particular empathy for the hardships they faced, especially after the Civil War, a time when big business was taking over with carpetbagging tactics that crushed the small homesteaders who had tamed the frontier. This allows King to romanticize the outlaws into heroes in a tradition resonant in recent films like BONNIE AND CLYDE and BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars TERRIFIC MOVIE Dec 12 2000
Format:VHS Tape
For sheer gusto, excitement and action, it's hard to beat this classic western which unfolds the legendary saga of the notorious James boys. Tyrone is sympathetic, dashing and utterly charming as Jesse who lives on his mother's farm with his slow, deliberate, dependable brother Frank (Fonda). Director Henry King gives the film his special brand of zest and the acting of both Brian Donlevy and Jane Darwell is superb. More Hollywood than real-life for sure, nevertheless Power proved he could really act in this one; before he was just a beautiful matinee idol for the women to swoon over. Here he appealed to the menfolk as well as he successfully captured the good and evil which existed in one of America's most enigmatic men; Fonda was so good as brother Frank that Fox cast in the sequel RETURN OF FRANK JAMES; this film made the not-so-young (34) Henry Fonda a star. The Technicolor is magnificent!!
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