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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Three Faces West [Blu-ray]


(Bernard Vorhaus, 1940)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:19:09.244

Disc Size: 17,401,180,086 bytes

Feature Size: 17,361,659,904 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.98 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 14th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 829 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 829 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: John Wayne (Rio Grande) stars in this romantic drama packed with action, suspense and intrigue. He plays John Phillips, the resident leader of a weather-ravaged Dust Bowl town who welcomes a gifted surgeon, Dr. Karl Braun (Charles Coburn) and his lovely daughter, Leni (Sigrid Gurie) into his community. Dr. Braun and his daughter are refugees fleeing from the Nazis oppressed Austria and are looking to carve out a new existence for themselves. After barely surviving two horrendous sand storms, the town's residence look to move the whole town to fertile new grounds in Oregon and John is the man to lead them to the new frontier. Directed by Bernard Vorhaus (Lady From Louisiana) and beautifully shot by the great John Alton (Border Incident) with a rousing score by Victor Young (Johnny Guitar).



The Film:

The Refugee was the original release title for the offbeat John Wayne vehicle Three Faces West. Wayne, Sigrid Gurie and Charles Coburn are starred as John Philips, Leni Braun and Leni's father Dr. Braun, who like so many other victims of the Depression are forced to move bag and baggage from the Dust Bowl to the West Coast. A fugitive from fascist oppression in Austria, Dr. Braun hopes to carve out a new existence for himself and his daughter Leni by tilling the soil, but she is more interested in being reunited with her Austrian boyfriend Eric von Scherer (Varno) once she arrives in Oregon. In charge of the migration westward is John Phillips who loves Leni but keeps his feelings to himself. But when Leni discovers that her sweetheart has thoroughly embraced the Nazi cause, she finds solace in the arms of the faithful Phillips. Among the screenwriters of The Refugee was Samuel Ornitz, later one of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

The "We the People" radio program is devoting a broadcast to the story of refugee doctors, driven from their homeland and looking for positions in the doctorless towns of America when Dr. Karl Brau, one of the physicians, relates the tale of how he and his daughter Leni were driven from their homeland in Vienna. As a result of the broadcast, father and daughter are summoned to the town of Asheville Forks, North Dakota by John Phillips, the leader of the farmers' organization there.

The duo arrive in the midst of a dust storm, and Leni, distressed by the hardships she has suffered and by the death of her fiancÚ Eric, wants to leave the town immediately. Her father, however, insists on staying to aid the ailing and impoverished farmers who must helplessly watch as their fortunes are blown away by the wind. Leni soon adapts to the farm community, and love comes to her and John. Soon afterward, word arrives from Eric that he is alive and coming to America, and Leni, out of gratitude, agrees to meet him in San Francisco and marry him.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Three Faces West gets another modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but contrast looks quite adept. There are speckles throughout but this is because of the condition of the source - which is reasonable but has not had restoration.  There is some grain visible and a minor sense of depth at times. Detail is modest but the 1080P still gives a very watchable presentation. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and any minor flaws had no detrimental effect on my viewing.















Audio :

The audio is via a DTS-HD mono track at 829 kbps. It is, predictably, flat. The score is composed by Victor Young (The Sun Shines Bright, Johnny Guitar, China Gate etc.) who has done over 200 films. There is no depth or range to speak of but there is a consistency and clarity and it seems a faithful transfer without major flaws. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.



Nice story. There are certainly some things to enjoy about Three Faces West. The performances are strong and I understand it is historically accurate. The Blu-ray (less-relevant cover/menus image - but cool artwork). I didn't have high expectations but nit was certainly different for a typical Wayne western. I enjoyed it, but it is no masterpiece.  

Gary Tooze

May 9th, 2013

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze






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