The Arte channel is broadcasting this Monday, September 19 at 8:50 p.m., The return of Frank James, a western directed by Fritz Lang. Carried by the masterful Henry Fonda, the film revolves around the phenomenon Jesse James, this emblematic bandit who marked America. But how well does the script respect its real story? We are looking into the subject.
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The film appeared in 1940, a year after Henry King’s, The beloved banditwho was already romanticizing the story of the famous mobster Jesse James. Victim of its success, the feature film was then granted a sequel commissioned by Fox. And it’s on Arte, Monday September 19 at 8:50 p.m., that The Return of Frank James will be broadcast. This time, it is now around Jesse’s brother, Frank James, that the story of the film focuses on. Leader of the James-Younger gang, the sibling duo made american history with gunshotsarmed robberies and all sorts of crimes during the second half of the 19th century.
The return of Frank James : a romanticized revenge
The film is based on a real event. On April 3, 1882, the famous outlaw Jesse James was murdered by one of the Ford brothers, Robert, when he was only 34 years old. It is from this murder that the story of the feature film begins. Suggested but not explicit, the assassination, revealed from the first scenes, then goes back to the ears of Frank James, interpreted by the father of Jane Fonda, who has been battling cancer for several months. This is where the adventure begins. If in the movie, the character of Frank James goes after the Ford brothers to avenge his brother’s death, accompanied by an apprentice and a young and pretty journalist, the real story did not happen like this. The still-living brother James did not actually riot. Learning of the death of his brother, he made the choice to surrender. It has nothing to do with the death of the Ford brothers. Masterfully interpreted by Henry Fonda, the character of Frank James is introduced around a real event, before letting the film take another direction and giving way to the imagination of Fritz Lang, this American director who is also praised by several actors. of the New Wave as Jean-Luc Godard, died on September 13, 2022 in Swiss. Very concerned with turning popular genre films into personal reflections and obsessed with themes of fate and revenge, Fritz Lang takes western style very seriously and transports us into a very strong story of love and fraternal revenge.