in about 100 words or less
US 96m, B&W
Director: John Ford; Cast: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Andy Devine, George Bancroft
Stagecoach is an archetype for the classic Hollywood western film which also helped launch John Wayne’s career as a stalwart “A-list” actor and a fixture in dozens of John Ford’s productions. With Stagecoach, Ford also helped re-establish the western genre which had seemingly been exhausted by numerous low-budget productions. The relatively simple plot deals with the relationships of a strong ensemble cast who are forced to deal with one another within the limiting confines of their coach. As such, Stagecoach is essentially a 1880s version of a “road movie” which also features impressive cinematography, from sweeping spectacular long shots, to impressively detailed low angled and shadowed interiors. Hailed as a widely influential film, Stagecoach remains an engaging movie that continues to have resonance today (Klaus Ming March 2011).