Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
Grab your sweets and treats. Get ready to movie binge. The book Jesse James and the Movies by Johnny D. Boggs is an indispensable addition to everyone’s library of Jesse James reference books. Even if there’s something missing.
Book Review: Jesse James and the Movies by Johnny D. Boggs. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina, and London, 2011. 269 pp. ISBN 978-0-7864-4788-6. $35.00. Paperback. Photos, chapter notes, bibliography, and index.
If the book Frank and Jesse James, The Story Behind the Legend by Ted P. Yeatman is your first reference for the paramilitary/outlaw history of the James brothers, then Jesse James Soul Liberty is probably your first source for the history of the Jesse James family. However, if you can’t get enough of Jesse James in the movies, Johnny D. Boggs has carved out a one-of-a-kind resource and reference book made just for your most trusted Jesse James bookshelf.
Boggs’ movie book stands in a league of its own. This is a banquet of a book. Readers will have to scramble far and wide to scoop up all the movie data about Jesse James that Boggs has assembled.
No other movie reference book has ever been written showing how the film industry treats Jesse James, whether truthfully or falsely.
Get ready to binge on a veritable feast of entertainment. You’ll need all the refreshments a well-stocked movie concession counter can provide.
You’ll pig out on these coming attractions, for sure
Boggs’ first coming attraction presents you with an introduction to the authentic Jesse James. Not to worry. To enjoy a Jesse James movie, you will not need to know the encyclopedia of history behind Frank and Jesse James.
No “History” Needed
In Cliff Notes style, Boggs provides only a few pages of the factually true story of Jesse James. Just enough of what you need to know about the authentic Jesse James that movies always seem to mistake, elude, or get grossly wrong.
In the next coming attraction, Boggs immerses you in the filmography of Jesse James. In total, Boggs dissects 43 productions in theatrical release along with 26 productions made for television.
100 Years Plus of Jesse James Movies
Another coming attraction offers you a Jesse James movie according to the period of time in which the film was produced. Seven distinct periods of Jesse James movies begin in the silent movie era of 1908. They end a century later in 2010.
Movies for TV
For added measure, Boggs tags on two additional chapters of attractions. They address Jesse James solely in productions filmed for television. Each chapter is heavily and thoroughly annotated, including some references made by this writer.
And There’s More!
Johnny D. Boggs
Boggs is a man of many titles. Newspaper journalist, western novelist, book award winner, past president of the Western Writers of America.
Now Boggs can add the title of a virtual movie mogul.
The author’s film knowledge about Jesse James runs so deeply, no movie studio head will ever be his match.
Synopsis, Actors, Analysis
After citing screen credits and cast, each film production encompasses a synopsis, referenced history, the players, and an analysis. After all that, posters, movie stills, and related movie marketing material saturate the flavoring of the book to a movie fan’s gratification.
Bibliography & IT Sources
For added measure, a bibliography points you in countless directions you may never have considered before. To this reviewer’s surprise, some references from the internet are provided. However, the dates of retrieval are not cited. This might prove problematic in the future. Web pages or web content could disappear from the internet. In the future, the cited references might never be found. Even the Wayback Machine is known to lose a web page or two. Readers are advised to promptly visit the links which Boggs provides and immediately download what they want to keep with his book.
A Go-To Index
A well-rounded index matches all the names familiar to Jesse James’ history buffs. Those are combined with not-so-familiar names known from the movie production industry, although some may be famous and recognizable.
With all the dextrose, fructose, sucrose, and saccharin in hand and ready to consume, time soon will come to make your selection of a Jesse James feature presentation to view.
Just be sure to first taste this BonBon from Johnny Boggs: “Movies aren’t made to be historically accurate, but to entertain.”
With sweets and Jesse James And The Movies, you’re good to go.
But Something Is Missing
After you’ve gorged on Jesse James movies and filled up on all the delectables you can handle, sooner or later the question will strike you, “Am I missing something?
Yes, something definitely is missing from Johnny Boggs’ book.
It’s missing for good reason, too. At some point, Boggs must have made a conscious decision to edit out, or not even write in, the important and relevant additional material he could have put into this book.
For Boggs, that was a good editorial decision. If he had included what’s missing, the author would have been forced to write an entire second volume of Jesse James and the Movies. Maybe that second volume is yet in Boggs’ future. Or maybe not. Boggs may already have decided that’s a job he could best leave to the Jesse James family to address. And frankly, we’re glad if that was his decision.