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Three Faces West (1940)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 450 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 13 critic

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 ... See full summary »

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(original screenplay), (original screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Three Faces West (1940)

Three Faces West (1940) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Sigrid Gurie ...
Leni 'Lenchen' Braun
...
Dr. Karl Braun
Spencer Charters ...
Dr. 'Nunk' Atterbury
Helen MacKellar ...
Mrs. Welles
Roland Varno ...
Dr. Eric Von Scherer
Sonny Bupp ...
Billy Welles
Wade Boteler ...
Mr. Harris, Department of Agriculture Official
Trevor Bardette ...
Clem Higgins
Russell Simpson ...
Minister
Charles Waldron ...
Dr. William Thorpe
Wendell Niles ...
Man-on-the-Street Radio Announcer
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Storyline

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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

GUILTY...OF DARING TO LOVE AND LIVE! (original poster - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 July 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Caminho do Ocidente  »

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA "High Fidelity" Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

At c.6 minutes Dr Braun and his daughter suddenly switch seats on the train. See more »

Quotes

Farmer: There ain't no college professor gonna teach me how to farm my land.
John Phillips: 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.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of Wayne's Forgotten Gems
14 April 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This film fits into an odd gap - in John Wayne's career, into the tenor of the times, into the evolution of cinema. But it's highly entertaining, at times visually spectacular, and really a lot better than it has any right to be.

The depiction of the Dust Bowl is remarkably strong. There's grit and dust in every shot. Many of the scenes are painted in strong, noir-ish tones. Against this backdrop, we have a solid little story about an Austrian doctor and his daughter finding a new new home. It could have been mere Hollywood fluff, but it all rings quite true. The touch of propaganda you might expect in a wartime production is restrained and palatable, with a positive focus on emotions rather than a negative one on ideologies.

All this is abetted by strong performances from the three leads. John Wayne is only about a year along from his breakthrough role in Stagecoach, and proves himself capable of surprising depths. He's as likable here as he's ever been, but also more human. And much more of an acting talent than we might usually give him credit for. This is one of those overlooked Wayne entries, like Island in the Sky, or Hondo, where you can really see how he earned his star billing. Sigrid Gurie is a perfect match. She runs a gamut of emotions, yet remains always appealing.

It's true that the second part of the story does cover some of the same historical ground as The Grapes of Wrath. But the two films don't really overlap. We have here a happier outcome, and much more of a small-scale adventure-drama than an allegorical social commentary. Obviously, this film isn't on the same level artistically as John Ford's masterpiece. But it's also far better than the mere B-movie it might have been.

If you're a fan of John Wayne, or have any affection for the workmanlike dramas of Hollywood's golden era, this film is going to be a very welcome discovery.


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