3 Godfathers

Screening on Film
Directed by John Ford.
With John Wayne, Pedro Armendariz, Harry Carey, Jr.
US, 1949, 35mm, color, 106 min.

Ford’s offbeat Biblical allegory reimagines the three Magi as a trio of slightly befuddled bank robbers, “badmen” notably out of place in an increasingly civilized West. John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz and newcomer Harry Carey, Jr. share a wonderfully naturalistic repartee as the not-so-wise men who unexpectedly become fathers to an infant son at the seemingly worst possible time. Despite its comic touches, 3 Godfathers is tinged with a mournful tone that anticipates a major theme of 1960s and 1970s revisionist Westerns - the inexorable death of the frontier. Filmed largely in Death Valley, 3 Godfathers renders the torturous heat-warped landscape of the unforgiving desert into scorching Technicolor.

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Classic Ford.
A John Ford Retrospective, Part I

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