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The Return Of Frank James 1940 NR CC

4.0 out of 5 stars (38) IMDb 6.7/10

In this sequel to Jesse James, Frank has given up his life of crime for that of farming, but when he finds that his brother's killer, Ford, has been freed he sets out to exact revenge.

Starring:
Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney
Runtime:
1 hour, 32 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Western
Director Fritz Lang
Starring Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney
Supporting actors Jackie Cooper, Henry Hull, John Carradine, J. Edward Bromberg, Donald Meek, Eddie Collins, George Barbier, Russell Hicks, Ernest Whitman, Charles Tannen, Lloyd Corrigan, Victor Kilian, Edward McWade, George Chandler, Irving Bacon, Frank Shannon, Barbara Pepper, Louis Mason
Studio Fox
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on January 28, 2008
Format: DVD
In 1940, Darryl Zanuck gave Fritz Lang the opportunity to shoot his first Western - a sequel to director Henry King's "Jesse James" (1939). When asked why he allowed Lang to make a Western, the Fox producer responded: "Because he'll see things we don't." Lang's attention to detail and atmosphere dominates this unusual tale of revenge. "The Return of Frank James" also marks a cinematic advance for the German director in his vivid use of Technicolor and location photography. An impressive highlight is the chase through the High Sierras - a spectacular action sequence that reveals Lang's expressionist design in his use of architectural rock formations. "The Return of Frank James" has a look and feel unlike any Western. In some respects, it can be considered the first "Western noir." Henry Fonda delivers a memorable performance in the title role, with good support from Henry Hull, John Carradine and Jackie Cooper.
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Format: DVD
If you have ever seen the Tyrone Power movie of Jesse James, this is a must. If you have not seen it, this is still a great movie. The film picks up where the first ended and runs from there. Henry Fonda is simply great as the slow talking but extremely wily Frank James. much of the cast carries over into this sequel with is seamless in production. It was very well written and beautifully filmed. This is a good one to watch. Better yet, get both and watch them together. It will be a hoot.
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie is much better than what the other reviewers would have you believe. While it is a sequel, it stands on its own as sort of a revenge flick with Frank (Henry Fonda) terrorizing and delivering retribution to John Carradine's Robert Ford, the man who shot Jesse James. It is also the screen debut of the beautiful Gene Tierney. Compared to the special effects laden trash spewn out by Hollywood today, this has excellent characterization, excellent plot and excellent acting. It is definitely worth the price of admission. Fritz Lang did a great job of depicting his vision of the Old West and while it may not be the greatest Lang film such as his 1931 classic, M, it is still a classic nonetheless.
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Format: DVD
Frank James learns his infamous outlaw brother Jesse has been shot dead in the back by the cowardly Ford brothers. The peaceable and laconic Frank at first doesn't seek revenge, deciding instead to leave the killers' capture and punishment to the law. Bob and Charlie Ford are summarily caught and found guilty, but are pardoned immediately by the governor. So Frank picks up his guns and goes a-hunting for the murdering varmints. The film follows his relentless quest to bring his brother's murderers to justice. Along the way, he fends for his foolhardy young charge Clem and strikes a friendship with the beautiful Eleanor Stone, would-be reporter of the Star. After a lot of absorbing exposition and some action, the film culminates in the spirited trial of Frank James, on charges of murder and robbery.

The quite mythical story of the James brothers is comprised of two excellent films: Jesse James (1938) and The Return of Frank James (1939). In Jesse James, Tyrone Power does a fiery, charismatic turn as the lead character, eschewing the feared outlaw persona and remaking him instead into a misunderstood folk hero. Lanky Henry Fonda adeptly plays his more level-headed brother, Frank. Reviews must have been good for Fonda because he merits his own sequel here. Fonda's calm, thoughtful, folksy persona is in full evidence, his acting as reliably good as ever. The sequence where Frank shows up at a play showcasing the Fords' interpretation of Jesse James' death is a gem. The look on Fonda's face as this travesty was being re-enacted by the Ford brothers themselves is chilling and displays prominently his ability to plumb the depths of a darker, more bleak persona. Gene Tierney, in her first movie, is fresh-faced and eager, and is loveliness personified.
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Format: DVD
This sequal to Jesse James bring back a number of castmembers from that film. Henry Fonda gets the chance to be the star here. He does a fine job as Frank James, making viewers care for him and understand his need for revenge. Very good color transfer. If you are a fan of old westerns this one is a worthy addition to your collection
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As has happened so often in the past, this reviewer was introduced to this movie by watching a snippet on Turner Classic Movies. "The Return of Frank James" is a real sleeper and pleasant surprise. RFJ is a sequel to the 1939 success of "Jesse James" with Tyrone Power. Now he will wish to see that one too!

Many of the players from JJ are back, albeit with Fritz Lang replacing Henry King at the helm. When Jesse is murdered at the outset, brother Frank (Henry Fonda) has to strap on his pistols, forget about being a gentleman farmer and go after the owlhoots who did in his brother. Most of the action flows nicely with some very entertaining sidebars. The work of the supporting cast is very credible, especially Donald Meek playing a hounding railroad detective with a penchant for showing up everywhere. The trial of Frank for murder and robbery is well handled. George Barbier, as the trial judge is outstanding. Does Fonda get his revenge and live happily ever after? No plot give aways here-folks will just have to watch the movie to find that out but will be happy they did. Viewers may wish to contrast HF's vengeful Frank James with his vindictive Wyatt Earp of "My Darling Clementine", filmed six years later.

Special mention goes to 20 year old Gene Tierney, in her Hollywood debut. Talk about a little scene stealer-she almost walks off with the entire picture! After that fadeout did Frank go back to his farm in Missouri or follow that beautiful young woman to Denver? The studio apparently had to avoid that subject to head off a lawsuit from the real life James family. Sad...we'll never know.
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