Thursday, 29 September 2011

Three Faces West

A film which I saw during daytime is Three Faces West with John Wayne. Two refugees from the Nazi Germany annexation of Austrian reach the USA-a distinguished medical doctor and his daughter. He agrees to appear on a government sponsored broadcast inviting communities to bid to provide a home and expenses for the refugees who are willing to give something back to their new country after being rescued. The couple only managed to escape through the help of the fiancée of the girl who they believe has been killed.

They accept the invitation from a town not knowing that it is in dust bowl America during a prolonged drought full of struggling farmers. The only medical help is provided by a vet. They have attempted to employ a doctor before but always the individual has lasted a matter of hours on seeing the conditions.

They are met of the train by John Wayne during a dust storm and they find the allocated accommodation filled with dust. Wayne and a friend have moved into separate accommodation at the top of what used to be his family home. Before reaching the homestead and fearing that they will immediately leave the doctor and his daughter are taken on an exhausting tour of all the sick. The couple decide they will not stay but the doctor performs surgery on a boy with a limp and waits to ensure the operation is successful. His daughter helps out as a nurse. The couple decide to stay, especially after a rainstorm eases the situation but not for long as the drought continues.

Wayne persuades the other farmers to pool together and implement government recommended drainage and good husbandry schemes but is advised by the authorities not to bother as the land has been declared permanently unsuitable for cultivation. They recommend the town to move in it’s entirely to Oregon when a new dam is being built and which creates ideal farming conditions. It is agreed to follow this advice after further and prolonged difficulties. There are many problems on the long journey with dissent about Wayne’s leadership and control of the funds.

During the journey the father learns that the fiancée survived and had come to the USA in search of them and they are reunited. The girl who has fallen in love with Wayne and planned a wedding is torn between her feelings and obligations to the man who saved their lives. However they learn that he has become a fascist and wants them all to return to their home in Austria so the two decide to rejoin the Wagon train. The father has been offered a major post in the USA but had decided to continue to support the community. With his daughter happily settled with Wayne he can consider working at his original level for the USA. The film has echoes of the Grapes of Wrath. It was released in 1940 to encourage Americans to accept refugees, the New Deal and promote anti Fascism. It heart warming stuff within the context of the era.

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