Hell's Heroes | Chicago Reader

Hell's Heroes

“Down With Ford! Long Live Wyler!” was the title of a 1948 article by French writer and filmmaker Roger Leenhardt, and I'm hard-pressed to think of a more dubious pronouncement by a major critic. But it starts to become plausible if one compares William Wyler's gritty and beautifully photographed western Hell's Heroes (1929) with John Ford's sentimental remake, 3 Godfathers (1948). Three escaping bank robbers find themselves caring for an orphaned baby in the cruel desert, and Wyler does a matchless job of keeping this Christian allegory life-size and unsentimental without ever diluting its emotional power. With Charles Bickford, Raymond Hatton, and Fred Kohler. 68 min.

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