3 Bad Men (Ford, 1926)

3 Bad Men (John Ford, 1926)

Set on the dusty plains of the Dakotas, a stranger notices a young country 20-something and her aging father in need of some wagon repair. His good will is accompanied by confident swagger and bold flirtations, and the two part with no intentions of quickly forgetting the other. Down the road, three thieving men on the prowl make a self-centered rescue of the girl and her father from a band of criminals so as to secure the desired loot for themselves. (After discovering she was not a he, a change of heart leads to their accompaniment.)

From here, the unveiling of character depth, relationship ambiguity, gorgeously photographed tragedy, and self sacrifice come to the forefront in this complex, emotional, and often humorous look at Ford’s makeshift family. An involving film in every aspect of the word, Ford’s ability to tell this story while avoiding almost every time period and genre typecast is truly remarkable.  9.5/10

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2 Responses to “3 Bad Men (Ford, 1926)”

  1. Terrific capsule review of one of my favorites. I also once wrote about it here: http://whitecitycinema.com/2010/09/01/silent-ford/

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