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The Return of Frank James

1 rating: 5.0
A movie

The Return of Frank James is a 1940 western film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney. It is a sequel to Henry King's 1939 film Jesse James. Written by Sam Hellman, the film loosely follows the life of Frank James following … see full wiki

Genre: Western, Drama
Release Date: January 1, 1940
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about The Return of Frank James

A sometimes humorous depiction of an outlaw who is portrayed as a just man

  • Dec 9, 2010

This 1940 color movie has the impediments of its age: the portrayal of blacks, called “darkies” in the film, as foolish uneducated boobs and women as beautiful, emotional, home accessories that have difficulty reasoning and should not be taken out for public display. Yet despite these age-old faults, the flick is interesting and at times downright humorous.


            Jesse James is assassinated by the Ford brothers and his brother Frank, who had been hiding as a rancher, helped by a black who can’t get it straight that he has to stop calling him Mr. Frank, and a boy who finds that he has his first hair of a beard, is determined to get revenge. Jesse and Frank James, as appropriate for folk heroes, are portrayed as essentially good people; they never killed anyone; they only robbed people. Frank James is a man who is very concerned about other people. Once, in a rush, he asks a man standing by a wagon how much the wagon and its horses cost. The man says he thinks $500 or $600. Honest Frank gives him $600 and two horses. As he drives away, he shouts back, is there anything wrong with the wagon. He probably did not hear the reply, nothing that I know of, but it isn’t my wagon. Frank’s only fault seems to be that he chews tobacco and spit it out on occasions.


            Frank turns himself in to the sheriff to save a “darkie” and is tried for killing a man during a robbery, an act we know, of course, that he could not have committed.


A sometimes humorous depiction of an outlaw who is portrayed as a just man A sometimes humorous depiction of an outlaw who is portrayed as a just man A sometimes humorous depiction of an outlaw who is portrayed as a just man

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April 29, 2011
Very good. If you could, a little more info on the actors and what impressed you about the film.  Fritz Lang was a silent film director and I am interested in his move to westerns and sound films.  :) 
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