Stagecoach is the 1939 American film by John Ford that laid the foundations for the aesthetics of Ford Western  . This is the first Western shot by Ford in Monument Valley , and the first of his films starring John Wayne .
|In the main|
|John Wayne |
|Film company||Walter wanger productions|
|Budget||531.3 thousand $|
Stagecoach is one of the few westerns that managed to get into the Soviet film distribution. Soviet viewers saw an abridged version called "The journey will be dangerous."
At the end of the 19th century, a stagecoach crosses the Arizona prairies inhabited by the Apache tribes. In the stagecoach go:
- banker Gatewood ( Burton Churchill ) - demagogue and coward;
- the shy liquor salesman Peacock ( Donald Mick ), whom everyone takes for a preacher;
- the wife of cavalry officer Lucy Mallory ( Louise Platt ), who gives birth to a daughter along the way;
- duelist and professional sharpie Hatfield ( John Carradine ), who turns out to be a noble knight and sacrifices his life for the sake of a lady;
- drunkard Dr. Boone ( Thomas Mitchell ), who demonstrates masculinity and humanity;
- the prostitute Dallas ( Claire Trevor ) is a lyrical heroine yearning for her ruined life and reviving thanks to her love for the criminal, cowboy Ringo, nicknamed “Baby” ( John Wayne ).
When the Apache attacks the stagecoach, the besieged run out of cartridges, and Hatfield prepares to shoot Lucy to save her from dishonor, suddenly help arrives. After arriving in the city, Ringo avenges the death of his father and brother at the hands of local bandits, after which he leaves for his ranch with Dallas, released by the good sheriff ( George Bancroft ).
There are many different opinions regarding the scenario level of the film. The script by Dudley Nichols , “blueprinted” by Ben Hekt , is based on the novel by Ernest Heikoks "The road to Lordsburg " [note 1] . The director himself later claimed that when creating the film he was inspired by a much more well-known work with explicit plot roll calls - “ Pyshka ” by Maupassant  [note 2] . The American classic Bret Hart also has a story on a similar topic.
For its time, "Stagecoach" was a very unusual western. The scenes traditional for the genre of chases and shootings were balanced by sketches of the types that inhabited the frontier in the middle of the 19th century. The psychological study of the characters gave the film a “low” genre a respectable resemblance to the film adaptations of 19th century literary classics, between which in Hollywood in the 1930s. it was decided to distribute the most prestigious film awards  . Characteristic actor Thomas Mitchell was even awarded an Oscar for his role as a drunken doctor.
The close world of stagecoach allows the film's authors, in the traditions of critical realism of the last century, to give a slice of the American society of the depicted era  , and at the same time contrast the fakeness of the representatives of “civilization” to the endless landscapes of free prairies  . According to Mikhail Trofimenkov , in his commitment to ready-made types, the film resembles the “tragedy of masks”, where “not people act, but archetypes : Lady, Cowboy outlaw, Fallen, Player, Doctor drunkard”  . Subsequently, representatives of the " new wave " criticized "Stagecoach" precisely for this somewhat archaic literature  .
In the film, many of the actors in the informal troupe of John Ford are employed, which appear in other films of this director.
- John Wayne - The Ringo Kid
- Claire Trevor - Dallas
- Andy Devine - tank
- John Carradine - Hatfield
- Thomas Mitchell - Doc Boone
- Louise Platt - Lucy Mallory
- George Bancroft - Bailiff Curly Wilcox
- Donald Mick - Samuel Peacock
- Burton Churchill - Henry Gatewood
- Tim Holt - Lieutenant Blanchard
- Tom Tyler - Luke Plummer
- White Horse - Jeronimo
Preparing for filming
"Stagecoach" is not characteristic of the studio era in that it was originally an author's project of "King of the West" John Ford, which by the time the filming began had been working in other movie genres for almost a decade [note 3] . In Haycox’s story, he saw an opportunity to restore the lost gloss of a thoughtful and “quality” genre to Westerns. To do this, it was necessary to secure an appropriate budget, which was not easy, since westerns of that time were held in large studios in the category of low-budget adventure films.
Having bought the rights to the film adaptation of the story and entrusting the writing of the script to Nichols, Ford tried to interest David Selznik’s project in 1937  . Due to his preoccupation with Gone With the Wind and delays in filming, Ford switched to another independent studio owned by Walter Wanger . The latter insisted that the main roles were played by recognized stars Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich , but Ford flatly refused to make concessions. In the role of Ringo, he saw only John Wayne , who ceased to be considered a promising actor due to the failure of the Western " Big Trail " (1930).
After negotiations with Ford, Vanger's studio nevertheless gave the project a green light, although it significantly cut its funding. At the same time, Ford was given the condition that all posters in large print would indicate not the little-known Wayne, but the popular actress Claire Trevor in those years. Accepting this condition, the director introduced Wayne (his long-time protege and friend) on the movie screen later than the rest of the actors, and, moreover, in an extremely spectacular manner  . Some of the characteristic actors migrated to "Stagecoach" from Ford's previous film, "The Hurricane " (where a group of people also faces an imminent disaster).
According to the film critic Dave Kehr , the central theme of the movement towards freedom (from the hypocritical Western civilization to the vast expanses of an undeveloped continent) was revealed by the filmmakers through "visual contrasting of claustrophobia of interiors (wagon, station) to the width of the Monument Valley"  . In an era when most studio films used painted landscape backdrops, the natural backgrounds of the American prairies gave Ford's painting credibility, and the frame an unusual depth  . Ford insisted that the interiors were filmed in tiny rooms with real ceilings (there were no ceilings in the studio rooms), so the operator had to illuminate the scenes with powerful spotlights from windows and doors  .
The scenes of the Indians chasing the stagecoach (and especially the jumping of a person from one horse harnessed to the stagecoach to another) are unique for their time. In these scenes, John Wayne is duplicated by stuntman Yakima Canutt, who seriously scared the director by falling from his horse during the famous jump  . To critics who found the chase scene too long and implausible, the director answered as follows: “Why don't the Indians shoot horses? If they did, the film would have ended immediately ”or would have given such a more serious explanation:“ Horses were more interested in Indians than pale-faced ones. They needed horses. In addition, the Indians shot very badly at the gallop ”  .
Hire and Fate
Like other Vanger films, Stagecoach was released under the auspices of United Artists and unexpectedly brought a substantial box office to the studio. For home viewing "Stagecoach" for a long time was available only in low quality copies. In 2010, after a digital (computer) restoration, the Stagecoach went on DVD as part of the Criterion Collection project  . During the restoration, the film found in John Wayne's personal collection was taken as the basis.
Stagecoach has become a milestone in the development of the Western genre and an honored example of the genre for decades to come. It is considered to be the first western of the classical type  . Ford was able to bring Western from the category of cheap adventure "movie waste" in the number of respectable genres  , claiming to generalize about the historical development of America. It was his participation in the film "Stagecoach" that made John Wayne the "face" of Western and the star of American cinema. Orson Welles claimed to have learned to make films by reviewing Stagecoach more than 40 times  ; this film by Ford is also particularly distinguished by Ingmar Bergman and Umberto Eco  . It also applies to captured films permitted by the Decision of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks of August 31, 1948 "On the release of foreign films from the captured fund to the screen" for a closed screening in the USSR.
Andre Bazin in his article “Western, or the chosen genre of American cinema” wrote that the film: “seems to be an ideal example of the maturity of a style that has become classic. John Ford has achieved a perfect balance between social myths, historical reminiscences , psychological truth and the traditional theme of Western. None of these basic elements has the slightest edge in the film ”, highlighting in the analysis of the Western genre painting“ the ethics of epic and even tragedy ”  .
Awards and nominations
- 1940 - two Oscars : the best supporting actor (Thomas Mitchell), the best recording of music.
- 1940 - 5 nominations for the Academy Award : best film, best director (John Ford), best camera work (Bert Glennon), best editing (Oto Loering, Dorothy Spencer ), best work of the artist (Alexander Tolubov).
- 1995 - The film is placed on the National Register of Films .
- " Stagecoach ", Film directed by Gordon Douglas , 1966.
- Telefilm 1986 featuring country stars ( Willy Nelson , Johnny Cash , Chris Christofferson and Waylon Jennings .
- In the literary source, Ringo is not a runaway criminal, but a quite respectable citizen.
- In the French short story, as in the Ford film, stagecoach passengers are characterized through the prism of their attitude towards a woman of easy virtue.
- After the era of sound cinema, the fiddling with microphones and portraying prairies in the unrealistic studio scenery of Los Angeles, he considered below his dignity.
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- Stagecoach | Chicago reader
- Mikhail Trofimenkov . Western and his brothers . Kommersant (February 7, 2011). Date of treatment July 16, 2019.
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- Stagecoach (1939) - The Criterion Collection
- Stagecoach . Timeout Date of treatment July 16, 2019.
- Umberto Eco . Umberto ECO: “... It is about us, about what can happen to us” . New newspaper (November 11, 2013). Date of treatment July 16, 2019.
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