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Viennese surgeon Dr. Braun and his daughter Leni come to a small town in North Dakota as refugees from Hitler. When the winds of the Dust Bowl threaten the town, John Phillips leads the townsfolk in moving to greener pastures in Oregon. He falls for Leni, but she is betrothed to the man who helped her and her father escape from the Third Reich. She must make a decision between the two men. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Two of the movie's main characters are introduced via a radio program called "We The People." This was a real radio show that ran on the CBS blue network (originating on WABC, New York) from circa 1937 to circa 1949. The sponsor was Calumet Baking Powder. The show was created by Phillips H. Lord (of "Gangbusters" fame) to give "a half hour to the people of this country so we can hear their experiences." The radio program shown in this movie is essentially the same as in real life: real people spoke at the microphone telling their own stories. See more »
During the final scenes of the North Dakota town (c.55 minutes) there are taller, modern buildings in the background. See more »
There ain't no college professor gonna teach me how to farm my land.
How much land you got left that hasn't blown away? Look, men, let's quit arguing and kidding ourselves. We're all in the same boat. And we're all gonna sink unless we stick together. Every one of us has been served with a "dispossess notice," not by Uncle Sam or a bank or some mortgage company, but by a little ol' gal we've been kicking in the teeth, Mother Nature.
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Three Faces West presents two stories, that of a highly respected elderly Austrian doctor (Charles Coburn) and his daughter (Sigrid Gurie) who have fled the Nazi regime and come to American seeking a place to practice medicine, and also that of a small dust-bowl town in North Dakota in need of a doctor which is personified by John Phillips (John Wayne) who is a farmer and community leader. Initially the doctor and more particularly the daughter are not prepared for the hardships they find and wish to leave but a growing romantic relationship brings everyone closer together. A story like this wouldn't people complete without some more obstacles and in keeping with our two part tale we have two obstacles one for the budding romance and one for the struggling town.
The film is definitely very much about the message and it essentially has two messages to deliver, there is the message about tyranny and that sacrifices that may be necessary by those who oppose it and also that of the community and working together to overcome adversity. In light of the era this was made it is not surprising to see such an approach. It is interesting from an historical point of view to observe the attitudes towards Nazi Germany in the United States1940 before they had entered the war.
Beyond the good performances from the three principles as well as Spencer Charters in the side kick role there is not particularly impressive about the production, but a nicely intentioned story coupled with atypical role for Wayne and the interesting historical perspective on both the dust bowl and early years of WWII make this worthwhile viewing for me. It's interesting to note that Sigrid Gurie despite a solid performance would barely make a dozen films over her career. On the other hand Charles Coburn who played her father wouldn't make his first film until he was 56 and continued into his eighties, he also won and Oscar and was nominated for two more.
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