Three Faces West. 1940. USA. Directed by Bernard Vorhaus. With John Wayne, Sigrid Gurie, Charles Coburn. DCP. 81 min.
A contemporary Western with strong political themes—no doubt contributed by director Bernard Vorhaus and co-screenwriter Samuel Ornitz, both future targets of the anti-communist blacklist. A Viennese doctor (Charles Coburn) and his daugther (Sigrid Gurie), fleeing the Nazi annexation of Austria, find refuge in a North Dakota farming community, itself under threat as relentless dust storms blow away the topsoil. They throw in their lot with the visionary young head of the farmers’ association—Republic’s newly minted star, John Wayne—as he urges a mass migration to better land in Oregon. Impressively photographed by future film noir legend John Alton, in his first Hollywood credit.