Cinema Station

Western Impressions: 3 Godfathers (1948) | January 5, 2015

As a precursor to our film project, 12 Western Feature-Length Films in 12 Months, produced by our company Running Wild Films and 5J Media which will begin production in 2016, I have decided to share my thoughts on films from the genre as I study Westerns in preparation to make our own.

This series of short blogs is titled “Western Impressions”.

3 Godfathers (1948)


I was surprised at this one, somehow I had avoided it, turned off by the “baby” plot and the impression that it wasn’t a “serious” work of Ford’s. But it has much more weight than I guessed and also far more than it gets credit for. While the film may lean towards “comedy”, people die in this film. Tragedy rides alongside comedy from beginning to end and thus the film has a deep resonance. In some ways, these deaths feel more like the death of Howard Hawks professionals, doing their best until they just can’t anymore.

Lasting impression: Harry Carey Jr. singing “Shall We Gather at the River” with all three godfathers in silhouette on the top of a sandhill during their funeral for the baby’s mother. Beautiful moment that stands among Ford’s best.


  1. I perfectly understand how you put off viewing the film – the impression one has of it beforehand is quite different to the experience of actually watching it. Even the poster art is somewhat misleading in my opinion. Anyway, it’s a very rewarding film with some beautiful imagery.

    An interesting premise for blog posts, and an even more interesting project motivating it. As someone with a real passion for the western, I think it’s marvelous to hear of independent filmmakers tackling the genre.

    Comment by Colin — January 6, 2015 @ 10:50 am

    • Thanks Colin. You’re very right. And I’m glad you are interested in our film project.

      Comment by gustravis — January 6, 2015 @ 1:37 pm

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