Jesse James

Posted on October 27, 2009

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Jesse_james_portraitYears ago when I was travelling west with my parents, my father insisted on stopping in St. Joseph, Missouri at the Jesse James House. I just didn’t get it; why was my Dad so fascinated with a thief and a murderer? He didn’t deserve to be remembered.The house was interesting, however; it was a very small white frame house with green trim. I felt uncomfortably ghoulish standing and looking at the spot where Jesse was shot in the back.

So when I read that Brad Pitt was filming “The Assasination of Jesse James by that Coward Robert Ford”, I wasn’t very interested. Then I saw the film.

While it’s not your typical western, it’s definitely an amazing feat of cinematography. It’s worth seeing just for the train robbery scene alone, which is where the shot posted at the top of this entry takes place. The lighting and mood truly must be seen to be believed.

And while I’m still not a fan of Jesse James, I did become interested enough to read the novel of the same title the move is based on. It is one of the most well-written nvoels I’ve read in the past ten years; I find myself rereading sentences for the sheer beauty of their style and compostion.

Jesse James was definitely NOT a hero, but he certainly was an interesting person. Makes me kind of wish I’d paid a little more attention on that long ago trip to St. Joseph, Missouri.

 

The photograph is from the Library of Congress, reproduction number LC-USZ62-3854. [1]. According to the LoC, it was taken May 22, 1882, although it has been claimed that this photo is actually from 1876.  Photograph in the Public Domain due to copyright expiration.

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Posted in: Lesson Plans