B. Cathey | Wendell, NC United States | 09/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Four Faces West is a superb little Western, and it is satisfying to see it released on DVD. McCrea, Frances Dee [his real life wife], Charles Bickford [Dee's father], and Joseph Calleia head a fine cast. McCrea is eminently believable; his trademark taciturn, self-effacing character is captivating--not a single shot is fired in the entire movie! Bickford's Pat Garrett is also a stand out. Now, let us hope that some of McCrea's other oaters get released---maybe RAMROD (with Veronica Lake), or the playful SADDLE TRAMP (with John McIntyre) and CATTLE DRIVE (with Dean Stockwell). And there is STRANGER ON HORSEBACK, another superb little Western....and RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, already on VHS, desperately needs DVD release."
About the dvd
J. A. Torrontegui | Spain | 07/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Other reviewers talk eloquently about this great film. I just wanted to add that the image transfer is a really nice surprise, coming from Artisan. This is a pristine ultra-sharp great looking image, with some nice movie grain. If you pass this movie up, it shouldn't be for fear of sloppy dvd work."
Jean Waters | Pinon Hills, Ca. United States | 10/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I liked the movie and have been trying to find it for a long time . black and white but still a good movie. Joel McCrea is good as always in this western made in 1948.I have already bought it as soon as I saw it was listed in your western section.I was surprised to find it."
A Well-Made Western About Friendships And Choices
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 08/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is about as untypical a Western as there is. There are no bad guys. Not a single shot is fired. It's all about friendships and choices, and centers on four people in New Mexico who meet under unexpected circumstances. There is Ross McEwen (Joel McCrea), who rides into the small frontier town of Santa Maria one morning and robs a bank of $2,000 during a community celebration. There's Pat Garrett (Charles Bickford), the new marshall of the territory who was speaking to the crowd while McEwen robbed the bank a block away. Garrett doesn't like that one bit. There's Fay Hollister (Frances Dee), a railroad nurse on her way to Alamogordo and a small hospital which has just opened. And there's Monte Marquez (Joseph Calleia), a Mexican gambler who is as shrewd as they come.
McEwen is a smart guy who uses his wits to outrun the posse gunning for him. He now has a big reward on his head and an "alive or dead" order out on him. He meets Hollister and Marquez on a train he ran to between Santa Maria and Gallup. He decides to continue to Alamogordo because he and Fay Hollister are falling in love. Marquez helps, but we're not quite sure what his game is. McEwen finds work and starts to repay the bank. We learn why he took the money. All the while, Garrett is tracking him down. The climax of the movie comes when Garrett closes in and McEwen decides he must ride for Mexico. As he gets close to the border he comes across an isolated homestead where the Mexican family is dying of diphtheria. The husband and wife are too weak to get out of bed. Their two young sons are close to death. McEwen knows if he stays there's a good chance Garrett will find him. He knows if he keeps riding the family will likely die. He decides to stay. At one point he even takes the powder from all his cartridges to try to make a sulfur smudge for the boys to breathe. Finally he builds a fire in the hope that the smoke will attract help. It does, but the help is Pat Garrett, who finds McEwen exhausted and almost as sick as the family. A doctor arrives from the railroad hospital, and with him is Fay Hollister and Monte Marquez. A number of choices now have to be made.
Don't misunderstand me; this is not some sort of epic morality tale, even if the music soars a bit at times. It's a dignified, low-key, sweet-natured and very well-acted movie. Joel McCrea and Frances Dee make a winning pair. They were married in real life, and the marriage lasted 57 years until McCrea's death. Bickford was always great as a tough-minded force for law and order. It's interesting to see how Bickford's character changes from a hard enforcer of the law to a gradual recognition that McEwen does not seem to be a typical bad guy and then to a kind of sympathetic respect. Joseph Calleia, who usually played sweaty villains, does an excellent job as no one's fool who decides he'll take McEwen for a friend.
The DVD is bare bones. The picture quality is better than average for an unrestored film this old. It's easy to watch, and the quality of the story makes it even easier."
Paso por aqui
Steven Hellerstedt | 06/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After robbing a bank of $2000, cowboy Ross McEwen (Joel McCrea) flees the small desert town of Santa Maria. The `great manhunter of the southwest,' Pat Garrett (Charles Bickford) is soon on his trail, starting a movie-long chase to capture the outlaw. The story is taken from Eugene M. Rhodes `Paso Por Aqui,' They Passed Here, that was first serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in 1926, later published as a novel. The title refers to a big rock formation in New Mexico on which passing travelers carved their names. If there are a million stories in the naked city, then, as evidenced by the rock, there are at least several hundred in the great southwest.
McEwen, on the run, gets bit by a rattler, hops a passing passenger train, and meets a pretty young nurse from the east who is traveling west to work in a small frontier hospital. The nurse is played by Frances Dee, McCrea's real-life wife, and her character's considerable talent at wrapping a tourniquet around a snake bite is second only to her ability to get McEwen to do the right thing, which, in this case, is turning himself over to Garrett before the bounty hunters get to him. That McEwen did a bad thing for a good reason - Here's the money for the farm, Pa - probably goes without saying. That McEwen and the nurse are a bumpy carriage ride and abbreviated trainboard conversation away from falling in love is no less surprising.
Even including the presence of the free agent bounty hunters there's not a lot of tension in FOUR FACES WEST. Bickford's Garrett is thoughtful and compassionate and we know if he captures McEwen he'll treat him fairly. The movie gathers some wool during its first couple of acts, but gathers steam in its third when McEwen gets serious about crossing the border into Mexico. The location shots are gorgeous, McEwen's wiliness in foiling the persistent Garrett ingenious. McEwen's last-reel flight takes him to the cusp of the border, a half-day's ride to Mexico and freedom, when he comes upon a Mexican family desperately ill with diphtheria.... And that, I think, is where the full whoomph of this movie has surrendered to time. The other major character in FOUR FACES WEST is a Mexican, Monte Marquez, a successful Alamogordo businessman. Marquez is played by Joseph Calleia (who, ironically, is Maltese rather than Mexican.) That McEwen, or any western hero, might befriend a Mexican and possibly stop to help needy Mexicans, was rare in 1948. To that extent FOUR FACES WEST was pushing the envelope of social tolerance, even if modern audiences have to look to see it. Otherwise this is a good enough movie about the good guy beneath the bad guy surface. The location photography verges on the spectacular, and, as always, McCrea is a laid back and comfortable presence. "