Blu-ray Review: The True Story of Jesse James

The True Story of Jesse James was directed by Nicholas Ray from a screenplay by Walter Newman and stars Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, Hope Lange, Agnes Moorehead, Alan Hale Jr., John Carradine and Frank Gorshin. The score is by Leigh Harline.

Having fought with the Confederacy during the Civil War, Jesse James (Robert Wagner) and his brother Frank (Jeffrey Hunter) dream of a farm life in Missouri. Harassed by Union sympathizers, they assemble a gang of outlaws, robbing trains and becoming folk heroes in the process. Jesse marries his sweetheart, Zee (Hope Lange), and maintains an aura of domesticity, but after a group of lawmen launch an attack on his mother’s house, Jesse plans one more great raid — on a Minnesota bank.

This 1957 western follows a young Jesse James who wants to leave the life of crime behind him but is continuously drawn back into it for one reason or another. It’s either by the choice of attempting one more robbery or the fact that he and his brother Frank are always chased by authority figures and Jesse James was not a fan of authority and the law. Jesse didn’t care for the law even when he was trying to go straight.

The True Story of Jesse James is a movie that shows the close relationship the famous outlaw had with his brother and their mother as well as his wife Zee. Jesse tried to leave his past behind him and start fresh but it’s almost like he just had bad luck because he always found himself back in some kind of difficult situations, whether it be the death of his mother or his final encounter with the sleazy Ford brothers who killed him in cold blood.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features more artwork. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about The True Story of Jesse James by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, The True Story of Jesse James ended up being a really entertaining western about the life and times of Jesse James who really wanted to live a simple life in peace. He wanted to leave his life of crime behind him but unfortunately he couldn’t completely escape it and that’s what killed him in the end. This movie also focuses on his relationship with his brother Frank and the love they had for their mother. This movie was first released back in 1957 but it wasn’t the first movie about the famous outlaw. Jesse James was first introduced on the screen in 1939 but these two movies have very similar plots. I’ve only known of Robert Wagner has an older actor so seeing him in a role like this and much younger was a treat for a moviebuff like myself. I thought Wagner did an impressive job as the main character and he’s supported by a really good cast. Nicholas Ray directed a lot of movies during his career and is probably best known for Rebel Without a Cause but he was behind the camera for all kinds of different types of movies and The True Story of Jesse James is a great one from the filmmaker. The True Story of Jesse James is now available on Blu-ray and has a limited edition run of 3,000 units.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 92 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include an Isolated Music Track, Fox Movetone Newsreels (10:48) and the Original Theatrical Trailer (02:11)

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