3 Godfathers Gets Warner Archive Blu-ray

3 Godfathers artwork. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

John Ford’s 1948 remake, 3 Godfathers, made its way onto Blu-ray in late March after getting a release through the Warner Archive Collection.

I have to admit that I went into the film knowing it was a Ford/Wayne Western. What I didn’t know was that it was a retelling of the Biblical Three Wise Men tale. I can’t really tell you much about that because I’m most familiar with the Tanakh and its contents. Regardless, it’s a film that stands out for its gorgeous cinematography.

When the film was released in 1948, it marked the fifth or sixth time that Peter B. Kyne’s 1913 novel made its way to the big screen, either as a silent film or sound feature. MovieZyng’s synopsis says that this was the fifth adaptation. The Wikipedia page for Kyne’s novel argues otherwise with even more adaptations. While it’s definitely not the same, Ice Age features a similar plot. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Not surprisingly, Ford teams up with Western screen legend John Wayne in the starring role. When it comes to Westerns in the Golden Age of Hollywood, both Ford and Wayne are synonymous with each other.

Bob Hightower (John Wayne), Pete (Pedro Armendáriz) and The Abilene Kid (Harry Carey Jr.) are fugitive bank robbers and arrive to Welcome. They’re in town to rob a bank but end up losing the loot. In any event, Sheriff Buck Sweet and his wife ask if they’ve seen their niece and her husband. Of course, law enforcement is chasing after them and eventually, they do run into the sheriff’s niece. Unfortunately, she’s dying as a result of childbirth and as the men to save her newborn infant and act as her child’s godfathers. They decide to trek across the desert to New Jerusalem but when the sheriff sees them, he fears the worst. The sheriff and Hightower eventually come around and see eye to eye with each other. You might even argue that the robber has found himself on the path towards redemption.

Oscar-winning cinematographer Winton Hoch handles DP duties on the film. He would win two of three Oscars for his work with John Ford but this film is not one of them. Ford and cinematographer Hoch beautifully capture 3 Godfather‘s Western scenery in Technicolor.

Both 3 Godfathers and the earlier Three Godfathers (1936) were remastered prior to the Warner Archive release on Blu-ray.

Bonus Features

  • 1936 feature THREE GODFATHERS (HD)
  • Original Theatrical Trailers for both films

3 Godfathers

SCREENWRITERS: Laurence Stallings
Frank S. Nugent
CAST: John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz, and introducing Harry Carey Jr., with Ward Bond, Mae Marsh, Jane Darwell, Ben Johnson

Three Godfathers (1936)

DIRECTOR: Richard Boleslavski
SCREENWRITERS: Edward E. Paramore, Jr. and Manuel Seff
CAST: Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, Walter Brennan, Irene Hervey, Sidney Toler

MGM released 3 Godfathers in theaters on December 1, 1948. Grade: 3.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.