As a posse tracks down the James brothers after a botched bank raid in Minnesota, the film sets out to tell their "true story," which, in classic Ray fashion, shows Jesse turning outlaw as a reaction to the humiliation of Southern farmers in the aftermath of the Civil War. Echoing Rebel Without a Cause, Ray called this "a film about displaced youth." Superbly shot with a sweeping, dynamic sense of space and enclosure, and punctuated by sad ballads delivered by a blind wandering minstrel, Jesse James remakes a myth in very personal terms.
- Walter Newman
- Nunnally Johnson
- Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
- Criterion Collection
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The cinema is Nicholas Ray (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 2003
The films of Nicholas Ray (program note), Pacific Film Archive, 1973
The true story of Jesse James (review), Variety, Brog., 1957
[Nicholas Ray films] (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group
'The true story of Jesse James' sheds new light on famous outlaw (distributor materials)
The true story of Jesse James (advertisement)
Nicholas Ray: adding up the details (article), Charles Barr
[Nicholas Ray films] (program note), National Film Theatre (London, England)
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