In John Ford's 3 GODFATHERS, based on Peter B. Kynes's allegorical novel about a trio of bandits, Robert Hightower (John Wayne), Pedro Roca Fuerte (Pedro Armendariz), and William Kearney, aka the Abilene Kid (Harry Carey Jr.), robs a small-town bank in Arizona under the nose of Sheriff Buck Sweet (Ward Bond). Although Abilene is wounded, the trio makes a clean getaway, with Buck's posse in close pursuit. Realizing that Buck has set a trap for them at the Mojave water tank, the bandits head toward Terrapin Tanks but lose the trail and their horses in a terrible sandstorm. Now on foot, they find the tanks defunct but come upon a lone covered wagon with a woman (Mildred Natwick) about to give birth. Although they're able to deliver the baby, the mother dies--but not before getting the bandits to promise to protect her child. Ford's sentimental tribute to the great Western icon Harry Carey Sr. (The screen dedication reads, "To the memory of Harry Carey, bright star of the Western sky"), who starred twice in silent versions of the story (including Ford's 1919 film MARKED MEN), 3 GODFATHERS features fine performances by Carey's son and by Wayne, who developed his famous persona in part by emulating the elder Carey's onscreen expressions and mannerisms. An air of tender inspiration permeates the film, which combines rousing action scenes with surprisingly subtle moments of self-sacrifice, redemption, and love.
John Wayne - Oscar winning actor, TRUE GRIT, SANDS OF IWO JIMA
Marion Michael Morrison - Oscar winning actor, TRUE GRIT, SANDS OF IWO JIMA
Duke Morrison - Oscar winning actor, TRUE GRIT, SANDS OF IWO JIMA
Francis Ford - Director/Actor/Screenwriter
Dorothy Ford - American Actress
Jane Darwell - Oscar winning actress, THE GRAPES OF WRATH
Ben Johnson - American Actor/Westerns
Pedro Armendariz - Great Mexican Actor, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
Charles Halton - Actor, worked with Wilder, Lubitsch, and Wyler, '10s-'50s
Frank S. Nugent - American Screenwriter, THE QUIET MAN (1952)
Frank Nugent - American Screenwriter, THE QUIET MAN (1952)
Harry Carey Jr. - American actor, 3 GODFATHERS/THE UNDEFEATED
Mae Marsh - Silent Film Actress
Peter B. Kynes
John Ford - American Director, THE SEARCHERS (1956)
Sean Aloysius O'Feeney - American Director, THE SEARCHERS (1956)
Merian C. Cooper - American Producer/"King Kong"
Merian Cooper - American Producer/"King Kong"
Jack Murray - Editor
Winton C. Hoch
Mildred Natwick - American Character Actress
Guy Kibbee - American Comic Actor
Laurence Stallings - Screenwriter
Ward Bond - American Character Actor
Hank Worden - AMERICAN CHARACTER ACTOR
Three gunslinging outlaws, escaping from a botched robbery, discover an abandoned woman giving birth and help deliver her baby. Though she doesn't survive the delivery, they adopt her newborn son as their own and carry him on a desperate trek through the desert to the aptly named town of New Jerusalem, following the North Star.
This is a remake of John Ford's 1919 movie "Marked Men," which starred Harry Carey, Sr. "Three Godfathers" is dedicated to the actor and stars his son. Color by Technicolor.
"Winton C. Hochs's Technicolor cinematography is superb and Ford uses the rugged desert locations in virtuoso fashion." - 12/01/2004 Sight and Sound, p.79