I hope you are are well and enjoying this holiday season. P.R. and I have taken some time to relax and just enjoy having some time off together even if it is because P.R. is healing from a broken leg. Which, according to the doctor, is healing quite well.
I wanted to find a western Christmas movie, if there is such a thing, as I could not think of one just off hand. I did a search online and found a movie from MGM in 1948 I have never heard of called the 3 Godfathers staring John Wayne and directed by John Ford. I was surprised I had never even seen this film as I tend to search out John Wayne flicks.
This film is an adaptation of a novella by Peter B. Kyne titled The Three Godfathers. The 1948 film is actually the second time Ford had brought this story to the big screen. The first time was a silent film titled Marked Men staring Harry Carey, a long time friend of Ford's.
The 3 Godfathers has an amazing all-star cast from this time period including Pedro Armendáriz (a Mexican actor who starred in films in Mexico and the US), Mildred Natwick, Ward Bond, Mae Marsh, Jane Darwell, Guy Kibbee, Hank Worden, Dorothy Ford, Ben Johnson, and Charles Halton, just to name a few.
When Ford filmed this remake he also cast Harry Carey Jr. as one of the godfathers. The film opens with a stunt man riding into the scene on Harry Carey's favorite horse. Text appears on the screen dedicating the film to the memory of Harry Carey, "Bright Star of the early western sky . . . ". When Ford filmed this tribute scene, he sent Harry Carey Jr. home from the set early, fearing it might upset the actor.
This story is considered to be a loose retelling of the story of the three wise men. The one outstanding difference is the three godfathers are far from upstanding citizens. They are cattle rustlers and bank robbers on the run from a posse when they encounter a woman in labor on the trail just before Christmas.
One of the men helps deliver her baby and before she passes away she asks them all to promise her to be the baby's godfathers and look after him. Though the men are certified desperados, they take this pledge seriously and risk everything to keep their word. Throughout the film the men turn to the bible as they try to survive the harsh conditions on the run from the law and save the life of the child they have promised to look after.
In the end, the child is saved and surviving godfather is redeemed by his love for the child and his pledge to care for him. The town that once wanted to see the rustler swinging from a rope instead gives him a hero's send off as he is taken to the train heading for Yuma to serve out his sentence for his crimes.
I think this film would make a wonderful addition to any holiday movie lineup and I plan to watch it tonight before the second Star Wars Episode. P.R. and I are watching them all in order before the next Star Wars movie being released next week. Yes, we do watch current films in this home too, a lot of Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel movies.
If you would like to check out this film for yourself you can stream the entire film here https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3yzzv7 with commercials. I could not find the full film on YouTube and it would not play the video in the blog like the YouTube videos but this version is a good stream and worth checking out.
Be sure to check out Whatever Wednesday this week when Dianne will share her list of favorite Christmas movies from various years and genres. She has very eclectic taste!
I hope your holiday season is filled with lots of love, kindness, and great westerns!