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I Shot Jesse James

Screening on Film
Directed by Samuel Fuller.
With Preston Foster, Barbara Britton, John Ireland.
US, 1949, 35mm, color, 81 min.

Sam Fuller’s first film belongs to an ensemble that includes Henry King (Jesse James, 1939), Fritz Lang (The Return of Frank James, 1940), and Nicholas Ray (The True Story of Jesse James, 1957).  Countering the myth of a six-gun Robin Hood, closer to the grain of Shock Corridor, Fuller treats the robber as a psychopath, driven to die. Varying on the iterations of the “picture-hanging sequence” the director suggests that James almost invites his own demise. Fuller’s claim to make films of intense visual emotion finds its early expression in this masterwork.

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