Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972)

Director: Philip Kaufman

Writer: Philip Kaufman

Composer: Dave Grusin

Starring: Cliff Robertson, Robert Duvall, Luke Askew, R.G. Armstrong, Dana Elcar, Donald Moffat, John Pearce, Matt Clark, Wayne Sutherlin, Robert H. Haris, Jack Manning, Elisha Cook Jr., Royal Dano, Mary-Robin Redd

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Real Story of Legendary Outlaw Jesse James' Most Daring Bank Robbery

Plot:  The final days of the infamous James gang are meticulously detailed in this riveting account of the group's most daring robbery. Led by the introspective Cole Younger (Cliff Robertson) and the nearly psychotic Jesse James (Robert Duvall), the much-glorified desperadoes set their sights on the biggest bank west of the Mississippi. The gritty action and dialogue, based on documented fact, chronicles the robbery from Younger's decision to storm the seemingly impregnable depository right up to the precision-planned assault.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I need to watch more Cliff Robertson films from the 60s and 70s.  He's so damn charismatic in this picture (and just about everything else I've seen him in) that he's ridiculously watchable and the main reason to see this film.  It's got a good supporting cast and feel but it's got some minor issues.  There's some obvious studio dubbing that rubs me the wrong way, there's some padding like in the baseball game sequence that over stays its welcome for a couple of minutes and the lead Pinkerton man seems too eager and righteous (much like the buffoonery from THE WILD BUNCH (1969) - shit, it's been a long time since I watched that one, one of my top Westerns).  It's strange seeing Jesse James portrayed as a half dimwit and half 'getting messages from god' kind of guy.  That's movies for you. But all of that feels like I'm being picky when you stack it up against how good and likable Robertson is as Cole Younger.  It's worth watching just for that but there's more to like.


  1. You posted this on November 15th 2013? Can you lend me your time machine when you've finished with it, please?

    (comment posted on October 28th)

  2. LOL. It's the damndest thing but sometimes my future posts are posted at the time I save them for later and there's nothing I've found to fix it.