The Three Godfathers

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An interesting film for Advent or Chistmas is a John Wayne flick.  John Wayne in a Christmas movie?  Yep, The Three Godfathers in 1948!   Another fruitful John Ford and John Wayne collaboration, the film was released in December 1948.  Three bank robbers, John Wayne, Pedro Armedariz and Harry Carey, Jr.,  stumble across a dying woman and her newborn son in a desert in the American Southwest.  The three outlaws, although they are attempting to elude a posse, promise the dying woman to look after her son.

Told with the usual Ford mix of spectacle, humor, action scenes and quiet, skillfully crafted scenes, the three Godfathers keep their promise although it costs two of them their lives.  All three achieve redemption by their selfless efforts to save their newborn Godson.  The film is suffused with religious themes.  Wayne also shows a deft hand for comedy when the three clueless bachelors attempt to care for their Godson.  The usual slate of Ford regulars are present in the film:  Ward Bond, Ben Johnson and Hank Worden, and they do their usual professional job.  A fine western film for Christmas!

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4 Responses to The Three Godfathers

  • Robert
    Robert William
    Robert William Pedro!

    Wayne & Ford’s last collaboration was also a Christmas movie of sorts, Donovan’s Reef; or at least it takes place during the season.

    Worth seeing, if only for the Nativity Play scene’s three wisemen, the King of Polynesia, (Mike Mazurski), the Emperor of China (John Fong), and the King of the United States of America (Lee Marvin).

  • Donovan’s Reef is another fine example Ernst of Wayne’s dab hand at comedy. A nice comical subplot between Wayne and the local French priest, played by the great French character actor Israel Moshe Blauschild, who keeps giving away money given to him by Wayne and his friends for the repair of the chapel to the poor, “because their need is so great.” By the end of the film the priest is shown finally being able to repair the roof of the chapel. Like all John Ford and John Wayne films the Church is shown with respect and affection.

  • First saw this film when I was eleven and enjoyed it. It has held up well over the years.

  • Much of Wayne’s work has Pete, which is remarkable.

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