Sunday, December 24, 2023

Don't Make a Scene: 3 Godfathers

The Story: 3 Godfathers had been made four times before John Ford made this one (in fact, he'd directed one of them—Marked Men in 1919 starring Harry Carey,* who'd also starred in the 1916 version). The last variation had only just been made in 1936. 
And I always associate it with Christmas. I mean, c'mon! "New Jerusalem", three men in the desert, a found child. 

And it's set around Christmas-time. Near the film's end, John Wayne's Robert Hightower wanders in from the desert on his last erg of energy on Christmas day, although it might be Christmas Eve, given he arrives at night.

And Hightower doesn't even have time to have his cool, cool glass of beer (or see that "Robert William Pedro" gets his bottle of milk) before he's challenged by the Sheriff who's been pursuing him, chasing the three desperadoes into the desert after their bank-heist. But, all his energy has been used up protecting the baby. When it comes to protecting himself...he drops in exhaustion.

He'll be alright. Despite, the high body-count among the big names in the credits, he'll survive this.

It is, after all, Christmas.

Have a Merry one!

The Set-Up: Robert Marmaduke Sangster Hightower (John Wayne), Pedro Roca Fuerte (Pedro Armendáriz) and "The Abilene Kid" William Kearney (Harry Carey Jr..) ride into the town of Welcome, Arizona to rob a bank, and unbeknownst to them meet the town's Sheriff, "B. Sweet" (Ward Bond). The Sheriff's wife wonders if they passed her niece (and her husband) who are coming for Christmas from New Jerusalem. They haven't, but they will when, after the robbery, they make their escape through the Mojave desert and come across the woman, dying, about to give birth. The husband is nowhere to be found after going to search for water and horses. The woman promises the three desperadoes to take care of her child, making them godfathers of the child. She dies. And the three men slog on, pursued by Sweet and a posse, determined to drive them out by depriving them to access to water. The Kid and Pedro don't survive, but Hightower, determined to get the kid to civilization, and feverish from lack of water and heat-stroke, imagines his two comrades egging him on to the next town to save their godson and reward himself with a cool beer.


Ho-san-nah in the highest...**
Ho-san-nah to the King.

Merry Christmas, everybody. 
Merry Christmas to all. 
Set 'em up, bartender. 
Milk for the infant... 
and a cool, cool beer for me. 
A b..b..b..
The piano-player gets an inspiration
And plays "Silent Night" 

PERLEY "BUCK" SWEET: Turn around, Texas.
Turn around and draw. 
Well, Perley, you old hay shaker. 
You got me.
It looks like the baby's pappy... 
BAR PATRON: a mighty mighty sick man.
3 Godfathers is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Warner Home Video.
 Don't know how long this YouTube video will stay up, but it's a good one to see at Christmas.
Today's scene starts at 01:36:10
* Carey's son, Harry Carry Jr. co-stars in this one, and the film is dedicated to his father.  Young Carry became a mainstay of the Ford Stock Company.

** The hymn being sung by the bar patrons when Hightower makes his entrance is "The Holy City"

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