365 Films in 2017 #5 I Shot Jesse James (Screen Guild, 1949)

Samuel Fuller's directorial debut I Shot Jesse James is an action-filled examination of Bob Ford's (John Ireland) assassination of Jesse James (Reed Hadley) and its aftermath. Ireland portrays Ford with pathos and sympathy, especially in a scene where a troubadour (Robin Short) plays the folk song, "Jesse James" for him. Ford shoots James to earn money to settle down with Cynthy Waters (Barbara Britton). John Kelley (Preston Foster) plays his conflicted rival. Fuller's direction is minimal, yet allows the actors room to breathe within their roles.

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