This is where it all started. John Ford’s smash hit and enduring masterpiece Stagecoach revolutionized the western, elevating it from B movie to the A-list and establishing the genre as we know it today. The quintessential tale of a group of strangers thrown together into extraordinary circumstances, Stagecoach features outstanding performances from Hollywood stalwarts Claire Trevor, John Carradine, and Thomas Mitchell, and, of course, John Wayne, in his first starring role for Ford, as the daredevil outlaw the Ringo Kid. Superbly shot and tightly edited, Stagecoach (Ford’s first trip to Monument Valley) is Hollywood storytelling at its finest. –The Criterion Collection
Maine-born John Ford (born Sean Aloysius O’Fearna) originally went to Hollywood in the shadow of his older brother, Francis, an actor/writer/director who had worked on Broadway. Originally a laborer, propman’s assistant, and occasional stuntman for his brother, he rose to became an assistant director and supporting actor before turning to directing in 1917. Ford became best known for his Westerns, of which he made dozens through the 1920s, but he didn’t achieve status as a major director until the mid-‘30s, when his films for RKO (The Lost Patrol 1934, The Informer 1935), 20th Century Fox (Young Mr. Lincoln 1939, The Grapes of Wrath 1940), and Walter Wanger (Stagecoach 1939), won over the public, the critics, and earned various Oscars and Academy nominations. His 1940s films included one military-produced documentary co-directed by Ford and cinematographer Gregg Toland, December 7th (1943), which creaks badly today (especially compared with… read more
all those grown-up men gathering shyly and quietly around the new-born child or before, in the doorway, like waiting for a miracle - so touching, where will i say it again?
Orson Welles argued that it was a perfect textbook of film making and claimed to have watched it more than 40 times during the making of Citizen Kane. Enough said.
A look at some stunning posters from around the world for John Ford’s classic strangers-on-a-coach western.
Also: Kuroneko and Stagecoach (not that one).
A prostitute traveling by coach in Prussian-occupied France is compelled to sleep with a Prussian officer before her coach can continue.
For me, this is what I would consider the first western classic. It also happens to be one of the most revolutionary and influential westerns and movies period. John Ford not only brings together an… read review
There had been westerns that succeeded as both art and entertainment before Stagecoach, but none had been so seamless in their melding of art and western thrills. John Ford’s first talkie was more… read review