I Shot Jesse James

1949

Drama / History / Romance / Western

192
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 78%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 66%
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 1,900

Synopsis


Downloaded times
August 12, 2020

Director

Cast

John Ireland as Bob Ford
Tom Tyler as Frank James
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
747.52 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
81 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.36 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
81 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 9 / 10 / 10

dark, existential melodrama wrapped up in a B-western, a stunning debut from one of the great mavericks

It's one of the oldest Western stories: Jesse James was a big-time outlaw, robbing banks left and right, alongside his gang, including Robert Ford. One day, upon hearing of the huge bounty (and possibility of amnesty for anyone in the gang) for Jesse's murder, Ford took it upon himself to kill him so that he could be free and clear to mary his would-be wife. But things didn't quite turn out right afterwords, and Ford was considered more-so a coward, a traitor for doing this act, and any gunslinger who could gun Ford down would then be seen as the baddest dude in the west. At least, that's the legend anyway that comes out of the main plot. But there's more to it, at least under the surface, that Samuel Fuller gets to in his take on the legend of one man's existential downfall from killing his best friend, who happened to be the most feared- and yet most admired- bank robber in America for a short while. Fuller might be asking why he was admired, when he didn't do anything that really merited praise only in hindsight. There's a sense of pure melodrama, brimming with acting that is typical for the budget, but somehow Fuller brings out the best in what might be a little limited in the character actors. John Ireland says a lot in the understated expressions on his face, the tense feeling of rejection from the only one he can get close to- once Jesse is out of the picture- and likewise Cynthy (Barbara Britton) is very good at doing the 'acting-concerned' woman that is reluctant to be on Ford's sleeve. It's all the more compelling because Fuller could easily make the direction more into a black and white category, that Ford is bad like Jesse was, and Cynthy is more than in her reasoning for not wanting to marry him. But even in the pulpy world of Jesse James and Robert Ford, there is room for compromise. I liked seeing the scenes where Ford goes through the humiliating act of doing a theater re-enactment of the killing scene, but suddenly seeing in a vision the actual act he performed superimposed over the pantomime. And, immediately after, as one of the very best scenes in the film, a traveling singer who sings a song terrified in Ford's face about how much of a traitor he was for killing such a man like Jesse James. It's a sharp script considering what Fuller would have to work with, but it's also the simplicity of his craft (it might be one of those genre films where the style is so stripped down to bare essentials with necessary close-ups, consistent medium shots, that when something 'stylistic' happens like in the last shootout between Kelly and Ford that it is shocking), how Fuller pushes it into looking like a tale that on the surface as a conventional feature. But watch how the suddenness of violence sparks up interest in the craft, how the opening bank robbery is timed and shot with the same level- or even more- tension than your average heist thriller. Or in the actual infamous scene itself, which is preceded by Ford getting a chance beforehand when James was in the bath, and the cut-aways to the POV at the back. It's bold-faced type through a crisp full-frame lens. And while Fuller would still go on to make greater films, I Shot Jesse James is a fantastic prototype for a great career, where history merges with the human process of change, and how love, however a typical thing in a triangle situation, complicates even the strongest of men.

Reviewed by tmwest 7 / 10 / 10

Bob Ford and an unwilling "femme fatale"

This was the first film directed by Samuel Fuller. The producer was Robert Lippert, who gave total freedom to Fuller as long as the budget was low. The result was a financial success considering the amount that was invested and it established the pattern that Fuller's films would follow: low budget, but control of the film by Fuller.If ever a film deserved to be called "noir" it is this one. Apart from being filmed in black and white, but more black than white, it is the story of a man so blinded by love that all through the film you feel his anguish and desperation. Fuller took the liberty of adding this love story to the tragic life of Robert Ford, who is known up to our days as "the dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard.". John Ireland is a convincing Ford, Preston Foster is John Kelley a man that is in love with the same woman.. Barbara Britton is outstanding as Cinthy Waters, the woman. She is beautiful and has an incredibly modern look for a film that was made in 1949, makes you think of Nicole Kidman. She is unreachable to Ford, he knew that as a fugitive their love could not survive, but he did not realize that as a cowardly killer, even though he was pardoned, the people would hate him and the odds would be that she would not accept him. She was unwillingly the cause of his tragedy.

Reviewed by jhclues 7 / 10 / 10

A Minor Classic

**INCLUDES POSSIBLE SPOILERS** The film debut of writer/director Samuel Fuller, `I Shot Jesse James,' is a tightly wound character study of Robert Ford (played here by John Ireland), the man who shot and killed Jesse James. Ford, a member of the infamous James Gang, is Jesse's best friend; he's reached a time in his life when he just wants to settle down, get married and have a place of his own. But more than anything, he yearns for the one thing he'll never have as a wanted man: freedom. He wants to be able to walk down the street like anybody else and just live his life. He's in love with an actress, Cynthia Waters (Barbara Britton), who will marry him if he can square himself with the law. She goes to a prosecutor on his behalf, but the best deal they can offer if he turns himself in amounts to twenty years in prison. About this same time there is a public offer from the Governor of complete amnesty to anyone (including James Gang members) who will bring in Jesse, dead or alive. Moved to action by his love for Cynthia, and knowing that no man could take Jesse face to face, Ford shoots him in the back in Jesse's own home. Ford gets the freedom he so desperately covets, but the price he pays is far more than he ever bargained for. Filmed in stark black & white, and with Fuller's deft use of shadows and night shots, it combines with the content of the story to create a sense of atmosphere that gives it a `Western Noir' feeling, with a stoic inclination of predestination. By pulling the trigger, Ford condemns himself to the fate of Judas, and ironically finds more ostracism within the parameters of his newly won freedom than he did as an outlaw. Ireland does an outstanding job as Ford, maintaining a subtle restraint throughout, while going deep to get to the core of this man who is buoyed only by the love he bares for Cynthia, through which he manages to keep the remorse of killing his best friend at arm's length. He also brings a certain cocky menace to the character, which gradually becomes more unassuming, yet somehow more threatening, as the story progresses and he reacts to the backlash he encounters in the wake of Jesse's murder, an act viewed as deplorable by the many who considered James a hero. One of the most memorable scenes in the movie takes place sometime after Jesse's death; Ford is in a saloon when a wandering troubadour (Robin Short) comes in and offers a song for the price of a drink. Ford buys, and the man (who doesn't know Ford) begins a ballad that `A lot of people seem to like.' It's about Jesse James, and `Robert Ford, that dirty little coward' who shot him in the back. Watching Ford's reaction, and in turn the reaction of the troubadour, creates a tension that is palpable. Another outstanding, and telling scene, is the one in which Ford attempts to recreate the killing on stage, and realizes too late that it forces him to face up to what he's done for the first time; it's the moment of truth, wherein the burden of guilt is made manifest at last. The supporting cast includes Preston Foster (John Kelley), Reed Hadley (Jesse James), Tom Tyler (Frank James), Barbara Woodell (Zee James) and Tommy Noonan (Charles Ford). An auspicious beginning for Fuller, `I Shot Jesse James' is a minor classic that heralds the more reality-based Westerns (like `The Wild Bunch') that would come some twenty years or so later on. Fuller delivers it in a manner that is thought provoking and has style; definitely not your run-of-the-mill Western, it is deserving of acclaim that has thus far been elusive. Hopefully, one day the merits of this film will be recognized. I rate this one 7/10.

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