Alias Jesse James

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Alias Jesse James
Alias Jesse James poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Norman Z. McLeod
Produced by Jack Hope
Screenplay by
  • William Bowers
  • Daniel B. Beauchamps
Story by
  • Robert St. Aubrey
  • Bert Lawrence
Starring
Music by Joseph J. Lilley (uncredited)
Cinematography Lionel Lindon
Edited by
  • Jack Bachom
  • Marvin Coil
Production
  company
Hope Enterprises
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s)
  • March 20, 1959 (1959-03-20) (USA)
Running time 92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.9 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)[1]

Alias Jesse James is a 1959 American Western comedy film directed by Norman Z. McLeod (his last) and starring Bob Hope and Rhonda Fleming.[2][3] Based on a story by Robert St. Aubrey and Bert Lawrence, the film is about an outlaw who tries to kill an insurance agent who has been mistaken for him in order to collect on a big policy.

Plot[edit]

Milford Farnsworth (Hope) is a bumbling insurance agent who unknowingly sells a life insurance policy to the outlaw Jesse James (Wendell Corey). Farnsworth is sent out West to protect the insurance company's investment by "protecting" James.

James has his own plans to have Farnsworth killed while dressed as the outlaw, so that he and his soon to be "widow" Cora Lee Collins (Rhonda Fleming) can collect on the $100,000 insurance policy. Farnsworth avoids several attempts on his life while he and Collins fall in love with each other.

After the last attempt is made on his life, Farnsworth impersonates the justice of the peace who is supposed to marry James and Collins. When Farnsworth and Collins make a run for it, they end up in a gun battle with the James Gang where several Western heroes make their cameos to surreptitiously help Farnsworth. In the end Farnsworth is victorious, marries Collins, and becomes president of the insurance company.

Cast[edit]

  • Bob Hope as Milford Farnsworth
  • Rhonda Fleming as Cora Lee Collins
  • Wendell Corey as Jesse James
  • Gloria Talbott as Princess Irawanie
  • Jim Davis as Frank James
  • Will Wright as Titus Queasley
  • Mary Young as 'Ma' James
  • Mickey Finn as Tough #2 in Dirty Dog Saloon
  • Bob Gunderson as James Gang member
  • Fred Kohler Jr. as James Gang member
  • Ethan Laidlaw as James Gang member
  • Glenn Strange as James Gang member

Cameo appearances[edit]

The gunfight scene at the end of the film features a number of cameo appearances by movie and television personalities:

Following the theatrical release of the film, some later versions did not include all the cameos due to myriad legal problems with the rights, but Hope's clout at the time was so great that he managed to gather a dazzling array of screen cowboys for the original. The 2007 "MGM Movie Legends" DVD release of the film includes all of the cameos.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1959: Probable Domestic Take", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34
  2. ^ Variety film review; March 18, 1959, page 6.
  3. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; March 21, 1959, page 46.

External links[edit]