3 Bad Men. 1926. USA. Directed by John Ford. With George O'Brien, Olive Borden, Lou Tellegen. 92 min.
John Ford’s first epic Western, the 1925 The Iron Horse, helped to establish Fox as a major studio and Ford as a major director. If anything, his 1926 return to the genre, 3 Bad Men, is richer and more personal; it would prove to be Ford’s farewell to the genre in which he had served his apprenticeship, until his return with Stagecoach in 1939. The classic Fordian theme—the sacrifice of the individual for the good of the group—is here played out by three eccentric outlaws (Tom Santschi, J. Farrell MacDonald, Frank Campeau) who resolve to protect a young homesteader (Olive Borden) and her fiancé (George O’Brien) from the violence surrounding a great Western land rush. This new restoration represents a major upgrade of an American classic, with dramatically improved image quality and a recreation of the original color tinting. New 4K restoration from nitrate elements held by MoMA, funded by Twentieth Century Fox