Tag Archives: Henry Fonda

The Return of Frank James

This is one ugly poster in which Henry Fonda looks to be suffering from Bells Palsy. Directed by Fritz Lang
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck & Kenneth Macgowan
Written by Sam Hellman
Starring
Henry Fonda
Gene Tierney
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography George Barnes
Editing by Walter A. Thompson
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox
Release date(s) August 16, 1940
Running time 92 min.
Country United States
Language English

I watched this film on Fox Classics the other night and whilst for some reason I don’t have too many westerns in my DVD collection (something I need to rectify), I did enjoy this particular film. This movie starred Henry Fonda as the anti-hero Frank James, the brother of the infamous Jesse James and member of the outlaw James gang. This film is apparently a sequel to 1939s Jesse James in which Jesse was double crossed by gang member Bob Ford played by John Carradine. The Return Of Jesse James involves Frank’s search for revenge against former friend Ford.

The film is a highly fictionalised account of Frank’s life after Jesse’s death but is very entertaining. It is a very good old-fashioned western film, with some hints to Gone With The Wind thrown in for good measure. There is even a bit of a moral dilemma thrown in for good measure when Frank has to decide whether to pursue Ford or to fight for the freedom of his farm hand Pinky, who is set to be hanged after wrongfully being arrested as an accomplice of Frank’s.

One surprising element to the film is who directed it. Fritz Lang was a German director known for films such as Metropolis and M, German Expressionism and film noir and not films from the western genre, although he did follow this up with some more westerns. This was just his fourth American made film. I still recommend this film and will probably buy it if I see it on DVD. (It used to be available at Big W before Christmas for $9.99)

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The Wrong Man

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by Uncredited: Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Story: Maxwell Anderson
The True Story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero
Screenplay: Maxwell Anderson & Angus MacPhail
Starring
Henry Fonda
Vera Miles
Anthony Quayle
Harold Stone
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Robert Burks
Editing by George Tomasini
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) December 22, 1957 (U.S.)
Running time 105 minutes
Country United States
Language English

This is Alfred Hitchcock speaking. In the past, I have given you many kinds of suspense pictures. But this time, I would like you to see a different one. The difference lies in the fact that this is a true story, every word of it. And yet it contains elements that are stranger than all the fiction that has gone into many of the thrillers that I’ve made before.

Hitchcock’s cameo in The Wrong Man is the easiest one of all to stop as here he appears in silhouette and addresses the audience directly, to let the audience know that they are about to see a story based on the real experience of one man, Manny Balestrero, who was wrongly accused of committing a number of robberies.

This film is probably one of the least known of Hitch’s movies, especially when compared to his other 50s films such as Vertigo, North By Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rear Window and Dial M For Murder, which were all made in the five-year from 1954-1959. However this is a very good film due mainly to the performance of Henry Fonda, as the man arrested and put on trial for crimes committed by a lookalike, and Vera Miles as his wife who is driven mad because of the incident. I really enjoyed their performances greatly.