The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid 1972 (1972) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: The gangs of Jesse James and Cole Younger join forces for a bungled robbery of the bank in Northfield, MN. Runtime: 91 mins Release Date: 12 May 1972
Being a historian and a fan of great movies, I can overlook historical discretions when it comes to every detail exactly as it was, as long as the film isn't saturated in political correctness. The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid is a great movie, and from what I've researched, not that inaccurate. Cliff Robertson Cole Younger is the star, more so that Bob Duval Jesse James , and that's OK, because it is a movie. I remember taking a beautiful girl to see "The Long Riders" in 1980, and I remember not really caring for it. Looking back, I know why. They just don't <more>
make them like they used to. Robertson, Duval and the gang in TGNMR look tough, tattered, their clothes worn and dirty, their beards real and not clipped to perfection. Their voices are those of men, not boys. There is no way in hell I will waste time seeing Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise try to convince anyone they are Jesse James. Even Kurt Russell, who I like, with that phony curled mustache in one of the Jesse James remakes can't convince me that he is anyone but a Disney actor with soft skin. From a historical perspective, this movie may get you interested in researching Jesse James, the War for Southern Independence, and that era. My buddies and I traveled to Minnesota for The Final Four and ventured over to Northfield for a day and rode the trail of the outlaws. We arrived at the bank, the same bank, at closing time. The lady was locking up and she refused to let us look inside. If only I had my 45 we could have re-lived that infamous day. My favorite part in this movie is at the whorehouse Mankaty Kate's , where the boys are all dead tired, sleeping, snoring, but Cole is never completely asleep. His eyes are half open, then shut, then half open again, while there seems to be a slight wheezing sound. In the background is very mellow, eerie but nice soft chamber-like music. The music, along with Cole's state of mind and physical condition, all on screen together, make for a fantastic if but somber scene. Check out Inger Stratten as one of the whores with the sweetest voice. If you've ever been so dog-dead tired and gone through hell, you can relate to this moment. It is abruptly interrupted by gunfire. It's a good thing Cole never sleeps and wears a steel chest guard. There is a grim determination in each of these boys, being anti-union, refusing to surrender and knowing that each day could be their last. You have to think that if you were one of the boys, would you do the things they are doing in this movie and would you see things as they see them. My answer is "yes".
One of the things that most impressed me about Philip Kaufman's take on the James-Younger gang's depredations when I was a kid was that he didn't make these guys out to be heroes: they were Civil War veterans who held grudges and did everything they could to make the Northern Invaders pay for what they'd wrought. The dark, dreary look of the movie fit its overall tone. It was interesting, too, that Kaufman focused more on Cole Younger than Jesse James who, as played by Robert Duval, struck a chord most creepy as the often bible-thumping but murderous son of a preacher . A <more>
unique western then, and just as compelling a film now. Hop on board for the ride: you won't be disappointed.
Writer/director Phillip Kaufman eschews the well-documented facts of the famous ambitious and ultimately botched robbery in the name of bold and downright irreverent revisionism that offers a pointed satirical critique of the new "civilization" that was coming into being at the end of the 19th century for example, the mob of angry townspeople who go after the gang in the wake of the robbery prove to be more crazed and dangerous than said gang! . It's Kaufman's fiercely biting dry wit that gives this film an extra tangy flavor, along with the sharp cinematography by Bruce <more>
Surtees, David Grusin's jubilant and harmonic score, and the splendidly sonorous narration by the ubiquitous Paul Frees. Cliff Robertson gives an excellent and engaging performance as the shrewd and amiable Cole Younger while Robert Duvall breathes hell-raising fire as an extremely ornery Jesses James. The stellar supporting cast of familiar character faces keeps the movie buzzing: Luke Askew as the stoic and laconic Jim Younger, R.G. Armstrong as the crusty Chet Miller, Dana Elcar as the jolly Allen, Donald Moffat as the sarcastic Manning, Matt Clark as the antsy Bob Younger, Elisha Cook Jr. as the weaselly Bunker, and, in an especially tragic small part, Royal Dano as loony old coot Gustavson. Moreover, the quirky array of colorful characters are lots of fun to watch, the titular caper is both tense and thrilling, and the vivid evocation of the period seems authentic if not entirely accurate . Recommended viewing.
It turns out that the story is actually based on history; on 7 September 1876, the James and Younger gang did attempt to rob the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota. Why did a dozen Civil War thugs ride all the way from Missouri to Minnesota to rob a bank? That's over 500 miles, not a trivial distance on horseback. Because they'd heard, correctly, that Adelbert Ames had an account there. And why would that matter to them? Because Adelbert Ames had been appointed provisional governor of Mississippi in 1868 and, among other unpopular acts, he appointed the first black <more>
office-holders in state history. The James boys, if nothing else, had long memories, and hated Ames still, nearly ten years after the end of the war.
A marvellous revisionist western. (by MOscarbradley)
"The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid" wasn't Philip Kaufman's first film but it was the one that put him on the map. It was a revisionist western clearly influenced by "The Wild Bunch" and "Bonnie and Clyde" and dealt with the events that lead to the capture of Cole Younger when the bank raid of the title went disastrously wrong and it starred Cliff Robertson as Younger and Robert Duvall as Jesse James, he escaped and lived to fight another day . Naturally, realism and violence were the order of the day. Here was a western about outlaws that broke the <more>
rules; here was a western with a baseball game in the middle, introduced as America's national sport, though Cole Younger counters that remark by reminding the speaker that shooting was, and always will be, America's national sport. Kaufman, of course, treats everything, not just 'realistically', but with a good deal of irreverence and a steak of black comedy with the raid itself brilliantly handled. The film certainly marked Kaufman out as one of the brightest of the new kids on the block and he followed it with a handful of brilliantly deverse films that included "The Incredible Lightness of Being" and "The Right Stuff" but he never really had the career one might have expected of him and ended up making only twelve feature films in total.