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Return of Frank James
     

The Return of Frank James

Director: Fritz Lang

Cast: Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney, Jackie Cooper

 

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This Technicolor sequel to 1939's Jesse James does without the services of the earlier film's star Tyrone Power, who after all was shot dead by that "dirty little coward" Bob Ford (John Carradine). Repeating his portrayal of western outlaw Frank James, Henry Fonda is promoted to top billing here. As depicted by scenarist Sam Hellman, Frank has retired from his

Overview

This Technicolor sequel to 1939's Jesse James does without the services of the earlier film's star Tyrone Power, who after all was shot dead by that "dirty little coward" Bob Ford (John Carradine). Repeating his portrayal of western outlaw Frank James, Henry Fonda is promoted to top billing here. As depicted by scenarist Sam Hellman, Frank has retired from his life of crime to become a peaceful farmer, though he has never given up his search for the treacherous Ford. The killer and his cohorts are eventually rounded up, but are pardoned due to political intervention. That's when Frank slaps on six-guns once more to seek his own form of justice. Featured in the cast is Henry Hull as a top-of-his-lungs crusading newspaperman and Jackie Cooper as a headstrong young sprout who pays the ultimate price for his bullheadedness. Making her screen debut is Gene Tierney, in the role of an Eastern reporter who wants to tell Frank's true story to the world. The DVD release comes with western trailers for 100 Rifles and Two Flags West.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
While it has its flaws, The Return of Frank James is overall an intriguing and interesting exploration of revenge in the Old West. Return is less of a shoot 'em up than a study of how the desire for vengeance can become a deadly obsession. There's a great deal of psychological groundwork laid out in Return, and that's the kind of territory that fascinates director Fritz Lang. He wants to get inside the skulls of both Frank James and his nemesis, Robert Ford, to see what really makes them tick, and there are moments in Return that allow him to do just that. Unfortunately, these moments are undercut by sections in the script that seem to have come directly from the Hays office; the title character is essentially shown as an innocent, despite the fact that his actions bring about several deaths, because a villain wasn't allowed to be the hero of a movie. This whitewashing undercuts the film's effectiveness in general and Lang's strength in particular. The obligatory love interest also feels tacked on, and the courtroom finale is allowed to go on a mite too long. But to balance this, you have a beautifully intense Henry Fonda performance, as well as fine work from John Carradine and Jackie Cooper, plus the sheer physical beauty of Gene Tierney. And despite the lapses in the screenplay, there's enough here for Lang to work with to bring forth some gold.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/06/2007
UPC:
0024543247869
Original Release:
1940
Rating:
NR
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:33:00

Special Features

Trailers (100 Rifles, Two Flags West)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Henry Fonda Ben Woodson,Frank James
Gene Tierney Eleanor Stone
John Cooper Clem/Tom Grayson
John Carradine Bob Ford
Henry Hull Maj. Rufus Cobb
J. Edward Bromberg Runyon
Donald Meek McCoy
Eddie Collins Station Agent at Eldora
George Barbier The Judge
Ernest Whitman Pinky Washington
Charles Tannen Charles Ford
Lloyd Corrigan Randolph Stone
Russell Hicks Prosecutor
Victor Kilian Preacher
Edward McWade Col. Fentridge Jackson
George Chandler Boy
Irving Bacon Man at Wagon Sale
Frank Shannon Sheriff Daniels
Barbara Pepper Nellie Blane
Louis Mason Wilson, the Watchman
William Pawley "Jesse James" Actor
Frank Sully Pappy the Old Actor
Davison Clark Officer
Bob Battier "Frank James" Actor
Matthew "Stymie" Beard Mose, the Bellboy
Arthur Byron Engineer
Kernan Cripps Deputy
Lester Dorr Reporter
Edmund Elton Jury Foreman
Sherry Hall Court Clerk
Milt Kibbee Reporter
Kermit Maynard Courtroom Extra
Bob McKenzie Old Man on Rocker
Lew Meehan Bailiff
Frank Melton Reporter
Adrian Morris Detective
James C. Morton Bartender
Hattie Noel Chambermaid
Lee Phelps Bartender
Russell Powell Juror
Dale Van Sickel Reporter
Lillian Yarbo Maid
Budd Fine Deputy
Almeda Fowler Mrs. Edna Stone

Technical Credits
Fritz Lang Director
Travis Banton Costumes/Costume Designer
George Barnes Cinematographer
David Buttolph Score Composer
Richard Day Art Director
Sam Hellman Screenwriter
Wiard Ihnen Art Director
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Kenneth MacGowan Producer
William Skall Cinematographer
Walter Thompson Editor
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Return of Frank James
1. Main Titles [1:05]
2. The End of Jesse James [:58]
3. Mr. Frank James Is Dead [2:05]
4. I Bought Me a Gun [2:30]
5. How the Law Works [4:40]
6. Bob Ford's Buyin' [2:32]
7. Looking for Old Friends [:49]
8. Spending Money [2:02]
9. McCoy's Mad Money [7:34]
10. A Lady Newspaper Man [1:12]
11. Death in the Theatre [4:16]
12. Eleanor's Mistake [4:20]
13. Hands Up! [6:01]
14. Hard Choices [1:52]
15. A Woman's Will [3:16]
16. A Ride to Liberty [2:46]
17. The Star Reporter [5:05]
18. Frank's Trial [1:49]
19. Justice for Jesse [1:35]
20. Leaving Denver/End Titles [5:56]

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