• Sam Fuller’s debut, and in typical Fuller fashion it was shot on almost no-budget in 10 days.
  • Much of the acting in Fuller’s filmography is suspect— but John Ireland here is one of the exceptions—he’s tremendous as the infamous coward Bob Ford. The scene of him telling the ballad singer to sing the song about him to his face. This is the same year for Ireland as All the King’s Men– an impressive year
  • Fuller’s close-ups, digging into the frazzled psyche headspace of his characters- a trait
  • Fuller has an investigative streak in him—unveiling— to get the seedy underbelly, the ugly truth
  • Fuller’s first shot is a confident one, what a starting, peeling back off of a close-up, and his first scene is a murderous robbery
  • Wipe edits
  • It isn’t a big deal but I think the Kelley character calls Ford “Miller” even though he knows him already
  • Fuller goes bananas with the newspaper montages to give us exposition and he also gives us title cards for exposition, too—pick one, Sam—too much- a flaw
  • Jesse James here is dead in 25 minutes
  • This film can’t shine the shoes of Andrew Domink’s 2007 masterpiece The Assassination of Jesse James
  • The shootout finale is a highlight—the Kelley character (played by Preston Foster who is first billing somehow over Ireland) is framed by the swinging doors of the saloon. As he walks out to find Ireland’s Ford, Ireland is in soft focus from behind. There are some editing issues as when you cut between the close-up of Ireland and Kelly the lighting doesn’t match
  • Recommend but not top 10 of the year quality film