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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 <email@example.com>
Though Chester Morris and Lewis Stone aren't exactly names identified with westerns, together with Walter Brennan they do a very nice job in bringing this earlier and harsher version of the story of Three Godfathers, outlaws who give an infant a chance at life.
Rather than the Three Godfathers from John Ford's later and more famous version, a trio of happy go lucky outlaws who rob a bank and get a posse after them, these are a much tougher group who drift into New Jerusalem one at a time. Morris is from there and hasn't got pleasant memories of the place. He's the one who wants to rob the bank and give a little payback to the town, especially to bank manager Robert Livingston who's going to marry Irene Hervey, Morris's former sweetheart.
Of course out on the desert the trio finds a dying woman with an infant and Brennan and Stone want to help, but Morris very reluctantly goes along. Let's just say that they meet a much meaner end than John Ford gave them in his version.
I do love the chemistry between Stone and Brennan, the college graduate who carries Shakespeare and Schopenhauer in his saddlebags and the illiterate nabob. Stone does not however demean Brennan at all and my favorite scene is him singing Boola Boola in the desert which Morris identifies for Brennan as Stone's old school song.
Richard Boleslavski does not give us the sweeping desert vistas of John Ford's Monument Valley, but this Three Godfathers has a class and dignity all its own. I wish it was broadcast more often.
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