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Jesse James: Blood Brothers and The Long Riders / Part 4

25 Apr


midnight rider / greg allman

The Long Riders has been made on faith and idealism.”
 – Stacy Keach

The Carradine brothers
as The Youngers

The Keach brothers
as The James’ brothers 

The Quaid brothers …
as The Miller brothers

The Guest brothers
as The Ford brothers

So who gets Top Bill?

Brothers Randy and Stacy Keach were Cast as Jesse and Frank James – and were also Executive Producers of the Movie.
And Co-Writers of the Movie.
And you’d expect Jesse and Frank James to be the main Characters in the movie. Right?
So the Keach boys should get Top Bill. Right?

Nope.

The Carradines were Top Billed on the Movie Posters
and on the Film Credits.

Were the Carradines bigger Stars at that time? Guess so?

Or was there some agreement?

Don’t know?

WIKIPEDIA: “In order to make the movie, David Carradine forfeited his customary profit participation; the Keach brothers gave up the extra profit percentages they were entitled to as executive producer in order that the Carradine brothers got the same amount of profits. When the film went over its original $7.5 million budget, the Keaches forfeited their executive producer fees. “The Long Riders has been made on faith and idealism,” said Keach.”

In the end, the movie Cost: $10,000,000 (estimated)
and 
Made: $23,000,000, USA, June 1981.

Incredibly, that very same year, (1980) another Western by United ArtistsHeaven’s Gate, completely decimated the company.
It’s one of the most infamous stories in Filmdom where Director Michael Cimino was responsible for massive overruns in budget and time …
(But that’s another story)

Blood Brothers Part 5 next…

Jesse James (1939): Blood Brothers / Part 3

23 Apr


Shenandoah / The Brothers Four

Wikipedia: “Oh Shenandoah” (also called simply “Shenandoah” or “Across the Wide Missouri“) is a traditional American folk song of uncertain origin, dating to the early 19th century. The song appears to have originated with Canadian and American voyageurs or fur traders traveling down the Missouri River in canoes, and has developed several different sets of lyrics. Some lyrics refer to the Oneida chief Shenandoah and a canoe-going trader who wants to marry his daughter.”

Not sure why, but as a kid I always related the song to the American Civil War – especially the South. It’s older that that though. It’s a beautiful song, but to me it’s also sad. Like a lament for unrequited Love. Yet inspiring. I first heard this song on Harry Belafonte’s  Classic live double album Belafonte at Carnegie Hall (1959). Harry was at his peak at that time and he does a superb job on it. Here The Brothers Four have a great interpretation.

Fitting.

“Having a great time in West Virginia. Home soon.”

A staged photo? Probably not. Lots of kids picked up a rifle. And knew how to use it.

Blood Brothers Part 4 next…

Jesse James (1939): Blood Brothers / Part 2

20 Apr


An American Trilogy / written and sung by Mickey Newbury

An American Trilogy

Mickey Newbury recorded this song in 1971.

Singer / Songwriter Genius

It’s said that over 465 versions of “An American Trilogy” have been recorded by different artists. 
                  The Three songs in Newbury’s Trilogy are:
1. Dixie: a blackface minstrel song that became the unofficial anthem of the Confederacy in the Civil War.
2. “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, the marching song of the Union Army during the Civil War.
3. “All My Trials”, originally a Bahamian lullaby, but closely related to African American spirituals, and well-known through folk music revivalists. Also very widely interpreted.

Beautifully done by a Songwriter who is yet to achieve the appreciation he deserves. But I felt his song fit nicely here.

Jesse James (1939) /
The Long Riders (1980)

Kin Deep / Blood Strong
Little Dixie and the Long Riders

Long Rider – “A long-distance traveler on horseback, often an explorer or adventurer. Unlike an endurance racer, a long rider sets his or her own schedule and often travels alone.”
From Cowboy Bob’s Dictionary / http://www.lemen.com/dictionary-l.html

Little Dixie

Little Dixie is a historic 13 to 17 county region of mid-to-upper-mid Missouri along the Missouri River, settled at first primarily by migrants from the hemp and tobacco districts of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. Because Southerners settled there first, the pre-Civil War culture was similar to that of the Upper South. This area of Missouri was largely settled by people from the Upper South, especially Kentucky and Tennessee, and became known as Little Dixie for this reason.

When the Southerners migrated to Missouri, they brought their cultural, social, agricultural, architectural, political and economic practices, including slavery. On average Missouri’s slave population was only 10 percent, but in Little Dixie, county and township slave populations ranged from 20 to 50 percent by 1860. Naturally most of these folks supported the South – the Confederacy.

Much of the dramatic build-up to the Civil War centered on the violence that erupted on the Kansas–Missouri border between pro- and anti-slavery militias.

However, there were other events that shaped the James James and the James- Younger Gang:

In May 1863, while at his family’s farm, a teenage Jesse was ambushed and his stepfather hung from a tree (he survived) by Union militiamen seeking the whereabouts of Frank and his fellow insurgents. Frank James was already riding with a troop of Southern guerrilla marauders. This incident no doubt contributed to his hatred of the North/Union.

 Quantrill’s Raiders

“William Quantrill was born in Ohio on 31st July 1837. He had severe behavioral problems and as a teenager was convicted of murder. Released in 1855 he became a teacher at Fort Wayne, Indiana. (Really?) 

Quantrill also tried his hand as a professional gambler, but this was not successful and he found work as a teacher in Lawrence, Indiana. However, accused of several crimes, he was forced to flee from the town in disgrace.

A strong supporter of slavery, Quantrill joined the Confederate Army on the outbreak of the American Civil War. He fought at Lexington, but disliked the regimentation of army life and decided to form a band of guerrilla fighters. As well as attacking Union troops the Quantrill Raiders also robbed mail coaches, murdered supporters of Abraham Lincoln and persecuted communities in Missouri and Kansas that Quantrill considered to be anti-Confederate. He also gained a reputation for murdering members of the Union Army that his guerrillas had taken prisoner.

In 1862 Quantrill and his men were formally declared to be outlaws. By 1863 Quantrill was the leader of over 450 men. This included Frank James, Jessie James, Cole Younger and James Younger. With this large force he committed one of the worst atrocities of the Civil War when he attacked the town of Lawrence. During the raid on 21st August, 1863, Quantrill’s gang killed 150 inhabitants and destroyed over 180 buildings. Quantrill found it difficult to keep his men under control and they tended to go off and commit their own crimes. By 1865 he had only 33 followers left. He was shot and died from his wounds on 6th June, 1865.” 

By John Simkin for Spartacus Educational (john@spartacus-educational.com)

Jesse Carries On

The American Civil War ended about 1865. But the James and Youngers just kept on going. For about 17 years!! Jesse and his gangs robbed banks, trains, and stagecoaches in at least ten States: Missouri, Kentucky, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia.

Between robbery’s. Jesse and Frank relaxing.

Blood Brothers Part 3 next…

 

Jesse James (1939): Blood Brothers / Part 1

16 Apr


the night they drove old Dixie down / Joan Baez / written by Robbie Robertson

“Those who love are never parted.”
– anon

Jesse James (1939)

Young Jesse James

James Family Photo – Jesse James (back row third from the left) next to his first cousin Zerelda “Zee” Mimms who became his wife. 

If there’s a theme that runs through the Jesse James saga,
it’s 
Family and Brotherhood.
Blood.

The James – Younger Gang:

Brothers that rode together:
– Jesse and Frank James
– Cole, Jim, John, and Bob Younger
– Charley Ford and Robert Ford
– Ed Miller and and Clell Miller

James – Younger gang … 1876 edition

Blood Deep / Blood Strong

Back then people stuck together:
‘Right or Wrong’? ‘Law and Order’?
Be damned.
Family is Right. Family is Law.
Clan.
Kin deep.
No bullet could penetrate that.
(Unless it came from within)

No wonder Jesse James seemed so invincible and impossible to catch. And had such a Robin Hood image (that is still intact today)

And why Robert Ford’s betrayal is so unforgivable.

John Carradine

Which brings us to John Carrindine – who played Robert Ford in Jesse James (1939).

Between the 1930’s and he 1990’s John Carradine
appeared in about 230 movies!!!
– not counting TV appearances and TV movies.
That makes him one of the most prolific Actors in Film History.
Not sure how many Westerns he made,
but there would have been a lot.
Several were Western Classics including Stagecoach (1939),
Johnny Guitar (1954) The Kentuckian (1955), The Shootist (1970) …

Between scenes he had time for 4 wives and 5 children,
most of whom also became Actors.

3 of his sons Starred in another Jesse James Western called:

The Long Riders (1980)

Stacy Keatch (center) as Jesse James, David Carradine as Cole Younger (left ), and Randy Quaid as Clell Miller (right).

3 excellent posters

A   Remarkable Cast
of 4 sets of Brothers:

Jesse James (James Keach) and Frank James (Stacy Keach)
Cole Younger (David Carradine), Jim Younger (Keith Carradine) and Bob Younger (Robert Carradine)
Ed Miller (Dennis Quaid) and Clell Miller (Randy Quaid)
Charley Ford (Christopher Guest) and Robert Ford (Nicholas Guest)

Most of these depicted outlaws did ride for the James – Younger gang at one time or another, but the movie takes liberty in putting them all together at the same time. But, like most Jesse James movies, this is not a documentary.
Wikipedia says: “The James-Younger gang … had over 50 different members over the years.”
The actual gang that attempted the ill fated Northfield Bank robbery consisted of of brothers Jesse and Frank James; brothers Bob, Jim, and Cole Younger; Clell Miller; Charlie Pitts; and Bill Stiles.

more coming … 

UPDATE ….

14 Apr

Howdy …

Finally got my computer working properly …
yes it was a WordPress issue. 

Been working the last 5 days
so haven’t had a lot of time. 

Jesse … the kid.

Also been working on a post called
Jesse James (1939): Blood Brothers

Hope to have it up in the next day or two. 

Thanks for your patience! 

Jesse James (1939) Continued: The Stunt of Infamy

5 Apr


The Long Riders Soundtrack / Ry Cooder

Jesse James (1939)

A Stunt of Infamy

Have you seen this stunt below? It’s in Jesse James (1939).
It’s one of the most famous movie stunts in Film History.

But not because it’s spectacular. (Though it is)But because of what it stirred up.  You see, the horse died. Panicked and drowned.  The public outrage and outcry was so great
that it led to the creation of:

The American Humane Association

http://www.americanhumane.org/

In 1940, American Humane (AH) became the sole monitoring body for the humane treatment of animals on the sets of Hollywood films and other broadcast productions. American Humane is best known for its trademarked certification “No Animals Were Harmed®”, which appears at the end of film or television credits.

“We are first to serve, wherever animals are in need of rescue, shelter, protection or security. Through our innovative leadership initiatives – from our “No Animals Were Harmed®” program in Hollywood to broad-based farm and conservation animal welfare certifications, to rapid response rescue and care across the country – American Humane sets the gold standard as the most visionary and effective animal welfare organization in the nation.”

Prior to this there were no safety standards for beast – or man – in film stunting.

This changed it all.

Meanwhile … 

Coming to the fore was legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt. He, along with other rodeo performers, brought a battery of rodeo techniques that Canutt would expand and improve upon, including horse falls and safer methods for many kinds of stunts, including gear and techniques for performing and planning stunts, harnesses, cable rigs and protective equipment to make many stunts almost foolproof. Both horses and stuntmen were now trained in stunt schools. Medical support and First Aide became readily available. 

Does that mean stunting is now 100% safe?
Of course not. Stunting is a dangerous by it’s nature.
And although such dangers have been greatly minimized and monitored there will always be occasional incidents/accidents.
Yet it is still vastly improved over what went on before.
Prior to 1939 nobody really seemed to care.

The Jump across Devil’s Gulch

But just where did the idea for the infamous stunt come from?

Presently there’s a bridge across the Gulch

I believe it was likely inspired by another piece of Jesse James lore:
Jesse’s famous jump across Devil’s Gulch.
(Good Grief!! I know that sounds like something from a dime novel or a matinee serial … or something?!)
But it isn’t.

The back story:

The James/Younger Gang’s bank robbery at Northfield, Minnesota was a disaster. When the smoke cleared the Younger brothers were badly wounded and captured. Jesse and Frank James raced out of town with a rabid posse hot on their tail.
The ensuing chase resulted in the legend of
Jesse James: the leap across Devil’s Gulch, South Dakota.
Much disputed.

Many believe the 18 to 20 foot jump is impossible
– or at least pretty unlikely .

I don’t. 

Why?

Ask these questions:

Did Jesse have the chops? the will? the courage? the bravado? the desperation? the horsemanship to pull off such a stunt?

Damn right. On all counts. 

The only question that remains is: did he have the horse to pull it off?
My guess is that Jesse wouldn’t be riding a nag. He was an expert horseman who had performed many robberies and holdups
and would likely have a pretty good steed for getaways.

And with a bloodthirsty posse hot on his trail
desperate times call for desperate measures.
The smell of death is a strong motivator.

I definitely think he would chance such a thing. And could pull it off.
But I’m not saying it really happened.
Just that he could have done it.

Doubt that we’ll ever know.

Tyrone Power / Jesse James / Part 2

29 Mar


1972 / Glendale Train / New Riders of the Purple Sage

Jesse James (1939)


Jesse James was a smash hit and the fourth largest-grossing film of 1939, behind Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and in front of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
That’s a hell of a year for Movies – those are 4 Classics.

A sequel, The Return of Frank James, directed by Fritz Lang and with Henry Fonda reprising his role as Frank James along with a variety of other actors playing the same characters as they had in Jesse James,
was released in 1940.

It seems almost daily that somebody finds another photo
of Jesse James or Billy the Kid.
A lot are fakes or false of course, but even some that
are authentic are so bizarre that you have shake your head.
Like this one with Robert Ford (Jesse assassin)
and Jesse himself seated together.
It’s rather amazing.

And is that a top knot on Jesse’s head?
Seem so.

I wanted to post an authentic Jesse James “Wanted Poster” here,
but I couldn’t identify even one that I can confidence in.

 

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