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drinkanddestroy
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« on: February 04, 2011, 11:56:23 AM »

imdb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032983/

"The Return of Frank James" (1940) 8/10
 directed by Fritz Lang; this film is a sequel to "Jesse James" (1939, directed by Henry King).

"Jesse James" ended with Jesse's death by the Ford brothers. "The Return of Frank James" features Henry Fonda reprising his role as Frank James, and seeking to avenge Jesse's death.

As in the first movie, Henry Hull is absolutely hilarious as a newspaper editor whose frequent editorials support the James brothers. There is a long courtroom scene that is really funny as well.

This is a terrific movie. In technicolor.

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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2012, 06:59:11 PM »

Yeah, it's pretty good.

Quote
After the success of Jesse James (1939), 20th Century Fox tapped German emigre Fritz Lang to direct a sequel. The Return of Frank James (1940) is miles better than the original, replacing Henry King's mythic hokum with solid storytelling.

Frank James (Henry Fonda) is living incognito when he learns of Jesse's assassination. After hearing that the killers, Bob (John Carradine) and Charlie Ford (Charles Tannen), are pardoned for the crime, Frank and sidekick Clem (Jackie Coogan) track the crooks to Denver, robbing a mail station. But Frank's railroad nemesis (Donald Meek) still wants Frank dead, laying a trap by arresting servant Pinky (Ernest Whitman) and framing Frank for murder. Now Frank's on trial for his life, and it's up to reporter Eleanor (Gene Tierney) to save him.

The Return of Frank James appears a standard revenge plot. But Lang and writer Sam Hellman's clever film making keeps the familiar story fresh. It's a remarkably brisk movie, with lots of action and changes of scenery, slowing only for Frank's trial in the third act. Lang engineers several clever set-pieces, most with a strange edge: a horse chase culminating in a cliff-side shootout, a railroad detective bound in a closet. The trial scenes are amusing, with Lang highlighting Major Cobb's (Henry Hull) Confederate past that provides much courtroom tension. This clever craftsmanship makes Frank James more than just a programmer.

Lang spotlights Western mythmaking. Eleanor represents this most overtly, but her character proves inconsistent. She starts off as an Old West Hildy Johnson, but her flightiness in the second half almost justifies her father's chauvinism. More effective are the characters' self-conscious role playing: first Clem reenacting Frank's alleged death, then Bob Ford replaying his slaying of Jesse onstage. Thanks to the press Frank can't escape his outlaw image, either; it's all too easy for the jury to believe he killed an innocent man.

Henry Fonda mixes his usual charm with a nice undercurrent of menace. Jackie Coogan makes a good sidekick but Gene Tierney (in her screen debut) seems rather flaky. John Carradine, Donald Meek, Henry Hull, J. Edward Bromberg and Ernest Whitman all reprise their roles from Jesse James; Hull gets the meatiest role, his hammy courtroom antics expunging his embarrassing turn in the original.

The Return of Frank James is a Class A Western. At heart it's a generic oater, but Lang's skillful presentation wins out. 8/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-return-of-frank-james.html

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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2012, 03:20:46 AM »

I prefer JJ over the sequel. The style of both is similar, even if Lang adds some expressionist lighting in a few scenes. Well made action in both.

Jesse James 8/10
The Return of Frank James 7/10

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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2012, 02:01:34 AM »

I just saw The Return of Frank James on TCM (2nd viewing). I really like both this one and the original Jesse James, but I prefer the original.

Btw, I noticed that the ending to this one is somewhat similar to that of My Darling Clementine: Fonda befriends the girl, they shake hands at the end, saying when he comes back to town maybe he'll look her up, etc. So it's implied that he'll be back and look her up, but no heavy romatic ending.

Kinda similar to the original end of MDC: Fonda shakes Clementine's hand, and it's understood that he'll be back and look her up.

Of course, after the preview audience wasn't happy with the lack of affection at the end, Zanuck made them re-shoot the end with Fonda kissing Clementine on the cheek; though happily, the "pre-release" version has survived, and that is the only one that I watch. So the ending to TROFJ is similar to the original ending of MDC. Maybe y'all will think it's too generic an ending to find any connection, but I definitely thought of it, especially cuz it's Henry Fonda in both.

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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2012, 02:21:00 AM »

Yes, probably too generic.

But the pre-release version of MDC (which I also easily prefer) is not a complete one. As far as I remember there is only in the first half additional material.

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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2012, 03:15:49 AM »

Yes, probably too generic.

But the pre-release version of MDC (which I also easily prefer) is not a complete one. As far as I remember there is only in the first half additional material.

I believe it's actually the first 19 minutes of the movie where the pre-release is identical to the theatrical version (because the first 19 minutes of the pre-release version are lost). After those first 19 minutes, there are many differences throughout the movie. They are small differences, but there are many of them.

There is a very good and important segment on the bonus features going through the differences between the 2 versions, explaining it all.

Mainly, the theatrical version cuts out snippets of the movie here and there, and adds in music in places where the pre-release did not use music. There's nothing that has a huge effect on the movie either way -- nothing changing the story or the characters, etc. -- but still, I prefer the pre-release version. Thank God, Zanuck had the brains to keep the final gunfight silent in the theatrical version.

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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2012, 03:24:00 AM »

.Ok, then the other way round. I have my informations also form the bonus DVD, but obviously remember it wrongly.


Btw were the added scenes which were shot by another director also in the pre-release version?

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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2012, 04:06:12 AM »

.Ok, then the other way round. I have my informations also form the bonus DVD, but obviously remember it wrongly.


Btw were the added scenes which were shot by another director also in the pre-release version?

I can't say I remember this all offhand, but as I recall it:


the only scene I remember them saying was shot by another director is the one where, after the Earps go into town, then return to find the youngest brother dead, the next scene we see is Fonda talking to the grave of his dead brother. I believe the guy on the bonus features says that this scene of Fonda talking to the grave was shot by someone else. And yes, I believe that it's in the pre-release version too. (It's a good, poignant scene though, I have no problems with that).

If you have the 2-sided disc, check out the bonus feature, there's a  "behind the scenes featurette About the Alternate Version," it very thoroughly goes through allthe differences between the 2 versions, and the narrator also explains the one instance where, in the pre-release version, they were forced to add in a new, very brief scene (of the stagecoach arriving, a duplicate from earlier in the movie) because it was obvious something was missing.

If this discussion goes nay further, let's move it to the MDC thread

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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2012, 04:12:43 AM »

I can't say I remember this all offhand, but as I recall it:


the only scene I remember them saying was shot by another director is the one where, after the Earps go into town, then return to find the youngest brother dead, the next scene we see is Fonda talking to the grave of his dead brother. I believe the guy on the bonus features says that this scene of Fonda talking to the grave was shot by someone else. And yes, I believe that it's in the pre-release version too. (It's a good, poignant scene though, I have no problems with that).

If you have the 2-sided disc, check out the bonus feature, there's a  "behind the scenes featurette About the Alternate Version," it very thoroughly goes through allthe differences between the 2 versions, and the narrator also explains the one instance where, in the pre-release version, they were forced to add in a new, very brief scene (of the stagecoach arriving, a duplicate from earlier in the movie) because it was obvious something was missing.

If this discussion goes nay further, let's move it to the MDC thread

As I said I watched it, but then it was already some years ago.

The kiss at the end also, and one scene between Holyday and Clementine in which he asks her to leave. (According to Wikipedia)

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