Four outlaws come to New Jerusalem, a town full of courteous and religious people, to rob the bank. After shooting the president of the bank, only three make it out of town followed by the ... See full summary »
Four outlaws come to New Jerusalem, a town full of courteous and religious people, to rob the bank. After shooting the president of the bank, only three make it out of town followed by the posse. By the time they get to the second desert water hole, they find it dry and also find a wagon with a dying mother and baby. When the horses are dead the next morning, the three outlaws have no choice but to try to walk back to New Jerusalem and only two want to take the baby. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A trio of desperadoes, fleeing from a violent Christmastime bank robbery, become THREE GODFATHERS after rescuing a dead mother's baby in the desert.
Here is a very fine little film, (largely forgotten due to its color remake years later starring John Wayne) which rewards the fortunate viewer with very good acting, excellent production values, some taut drama and a fair amount of humor.
Lewis Stone dominates the film as the thief with a conscience. Quietly intellectual & patrician, his tenderness for the infant is immediate and absolute. Stone's acting cannot be faulted; watching him painfully choose which of his beloved books to leave behind in the burning desert is to see a true artist at work.
Chester Morris does a dandy job of making the viewer both like and despise his character. Quick-tempered & revengeful, his attack upon the New Jerusalem bank is his opportunity to wreck havoc on both the town which rejected him and the decent young banker in love with his former sweetheart. Morris wants nothing to slow down his escape--not poisoned water holes or dead horses, and especially not a helpless baby.
Walter Brennan practically steals the entire movie with his portrayal of an old, illiterate outlaw whose childlike innocence and decency compels him to protect the infant. He also has some droll comedy sequences, especially at the Church Social, where he has a memorable encounter with a plate of asparagus. His scenes in the desert, with desperate thirst stalking his footsteps, show the consummate skill he would exhibit the rest of his life as one of America's favorite character actors.
In smaller roles, Sidney Toler is wonderfully droll as an itinerate dentist with a deadly aim; bucktoothed Victor Potel is his unfortunate customer. Rotund Roger Imhof plays the friendly sheriff of New Jerusalem; Dorothy Tree is the saloon hostess with a hankering for Morris. Pretty Irene Hervey does well as Morris' former love; her fiancé is nicely played by Robert Livingston, who finds the padding in his Santa suit to be most fortuitous.
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