This landmark 1939 Western began the legendary relationship between John Ford and John Wayne, and became the standard for all subsequent Westerns. It solidified Ford as a major director and established Wayne as a charismat... more »ic screen presence. Seen today, Stagecoach still impresses as the first mature instance of a Western that is both mythic and poetic. The story about a cross-section of troubled passengers unraveling under the strain of Indian attack contains all of Ford's incomparable storytelling trademarks--particularly swift action and social introspection--underscored by the painterly landscape of Monument Valley. And what an ensemble of actors: Thomas Mitchell (who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar as the drunken doctor), Claire Trevor, Donald Meek, Andy Devine, and the magical John Carradine. Due to the film's striking use of chiaroscuro lighting and low ceilings, Orson Welles watched Stagecoach over and over while preparing for Citizen Kane. --Bill Desowitz« less
It's as terrific as it was when we watched it long ago.
This is going in our dvd library so that our grandchildren will be able to watch!
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SHIRLEY A. (chelseamom) from INDIANAPOLIS, IN Reviewed on 1/3/2010...
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Recipe for a classic
Steven Hellerstedt | 12/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's see - take a whiskey drummer, add a boozy doctor (served in the Union Army,) a snaky gambler (Confederate vet played by John Carradine,) a good girl (haughty young wife of a horse soldier posted out west with the 6th Cavalry,) and an obnoxious and imperious businessman with a secret to hide. Add one bad girl (Claire Trevor) driven our of town with the drunken doc by the town's respectable marm hens, and one cuffed outlaw, the Ringo Kid (John Wayne.) Shake vigorously in a stagecoach plunging violently through hostile Apache territory.
Made in 1939, the Year of the Motion Picture, John Ford's STAGECOACH is pretty much everything you want or need in a western. Nominated for a slew of Academy Awards, it took one home when Thomas Mitchell won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as the shrewd, whiskey-loving physician. In 1995 it was placed on the National Film Registry by the National Film Preservation Board.
Well, this is the first film Ford shot in Monument Valley, and it looks great. It's also one of the first big-movie breaks for Wayne. Check out the first Wayne shot - the camera eagerly rushes up to him and holds him in a wide-eyed close-up for a couple of seconds. An entrance worthy of an icon, even if Ford was a couple of decades premature. And the always reliable, underrated Claire Trevor looks great as... well, I'm not quite sure what she is, though she dresses well and the respectable folks drive her away when they can, shun her when they can't. In fact, the only thing that doesn't look all that marvelous on the Warners' 1997-released dvd is the print itself, which is scratchy in some spots and muddy and murky in others. Not terribly so, but c'mon, Warner Brothers. You'll throw scrubbers, cleaners, and polishers and a host of long-winded commentators at suspect crime thrillers if they have `Film Noir' stamped on the front cover. How's about throwing some love and attention to an undisputed classic? As long as this one remains the only one available I strongly recommend it, although it truly deserves a full-scale restoration. "
Criterion Gives this Classic Western the Deluxe Treatment!
Cubist | United States | 05/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This special edition is jam-packed with goodies for fans of the film and of the western genre, starting off with an audio commentary on the first disc by film historian and western scholar Jim Kitses. He challenges the conventional view that Stagecoach lacks the depth and command of craft of John Ford's later films. Kitses does a fantastic job of explaining how Ford's camerawork and the use of invisible editing set up differences in class and established genre conventions. When not offering expert analysis, he provides biographical information on various cast members in this eloquent and informative track.
Also included on this disc is a trailer.
Disc two starts off with "Bucking Broadway," a 54-minute silent film from 1917 that stars John Ford favorite Harry Carey as a cowboy whose true love is taken away by a big city type. It features many of the themes and conventions that Ford would explore again and again in later films.
There is a 1968 interview with Ford by British journalist and television presenter Philip Jenkinson. Running over an hour, the filmmaker talks about his childhood, how he got his start as a director, working with John Wayne, and, of course, Stagecoach. Ford comes across as a no-nonsense man and plain-spoken, refusing to romanticize his past despite the interviewer's best attempts.
Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich offers his thoughts on Stagecoach and praises the strong script and solid ensemble cast. He analyzes Wayne's performance and how he reacts to the things that happen around him. Bogdanovich also offers his impressions of Ford and Wayne, having met both of them.
"Dreaming of Jeanie" is a video essay that examines Ford's visual style in Stagecoach. It analyzes several of the film's themes through clips and illustrates how Ford used camera movement, framing and background details to show the traits of the various characters.
"John Ford Home Movies" is an interview with the director's grandson and biographer Dan Ford. He talks about his grandfather's home movies that show the man at his most relaxed, complete with clips from the actual films. We see the likes of John Wayne and Henry Fonda lounging around with Ford on his boat.
"True West" is an unexpected treat featuring author Buzz Bissinger talking about the 1920s trading post operator Harry Goulding and his role in telling filmmakers like Ford about Monument Valley. The land belonged to the Navajos but he staked out a claim thanks to his friendship with them. Bissinger talks about how Goulding met Ford and persuaded him to make Stagecoach in Monument Valley.
Another outstanding extra is a featurette about legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt who performed many of the amazing stunts in the film. He went on to become an important figure in the stuntman industry. Fellow industry legend Vic Armstrong offers his thoughts and impressions of the man and talks about just how groundbreaking Canutt was back in the day.
Finally, there is "Screen Director's Playhouse," a radio adaptation of Stagecoach that aired on January 9, 1949 and starred John Wayne and Claire Trevor, reprising their film roles.
As a nice bonus, the accompanying booklet includes the original short story that provided the basis for the film itself!"
John Wayne..John Ford...Magnificent Scenery...SaddleUp!
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 07/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to "Stagecoach", Warner Bros DVD Edition(released 1997)..
"Stagecoach", one of The Duke's finest westerns, is a definitive look at the American Western we have come to love. Made in 1939, Wayne in his early years as a rising star, gives as a glimpse of his extraordinary on screen presence yet to come. The film includes other wonderful stars of the era, masterful direction by John Ford, magnifcent cinematography,and a captivating storyline.It is a real cinematic treat.
Wayne is a wanted man who is along for the ride with a group of passengers, each not only battling their own demons and prejudices, but the elements of the rugged terrain and Indian attacks as well. And what a group...it also stars Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, John Carradine, Thomas Mitchell, and Donald Meek.The journey that Ford takes us on is magnificent in the stunning black and white cinematography that captures all the rugged terrain of the old west.
The DVD transfer of this 65 year old film is not as pristeen as some other B/W classic of the era, but certainly looks good. a few scratches here and there, a little flickering, but once you are involved with this film, you won't even notice. The Dolby Dig sound is very good, all the sounds of the old west clear and distinct. The DVD includes some production notes, seven trailers, and has subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
If You are a die-hard Wayne or Ford fan, or great Westerns in general, you may want to purchase the "John Wayne Collection" which includes this one along with another Ford favorite, "The Searchers" and one of Wayne's later Westerns, the touching story of "The Cowboys".
Saddle up for some great Western adventure with John Wayne, and a wonderful journey from John Ford.
also sold in 2 pack:The Searchers / Stagecoach
more westerns from the 1930s: Rocky Mountain Mystery [VHS](Randy Scott)
King of the Pecos (John Wayne)
Great American Western V.5, The(Gene Autry - 30s and 40s - 4 films)
Yes, it is an improvement over the WB edition...but you shou
Richardson | Sunny California USA | 05/23/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've just viewed the latest Criterion edition of Stagecoach and compared it side by side with the WB 2 disc set. The picture is improved.... not perfect ...but much better. I prefer the commentary by Scott Eyman on the WB edition. The second disc on the WB set has the spectacular American Masters Documentary and a wonderful featurette. The new Blu-Ray and DVD sets by Criterion also have a wealth of bonus features topped by an hour interview with Ford himself! If you are a fan I'd keep the older edition for the bonus features and Eymans commentary and feel good about adding the new edition for better picture and non-repeated bonus features. The featurette on the stunt man Yakima Canutt is excellent, Bogdonovich is always interesting...Ford home movies fun.....its a sold Criterion package!"
"Stagecoach" the overlooked film CLASSIC of 1939 now on DVD!
forrie | Nashua, NH United States | 12/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1939 was the greatest year of Hollywood films!!! Gone With The Wind (color), The Wizard of Oz (color), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and "Stagecoach" to name a few. What makes this even more incredible is all but the "Hunchback" were selected to the American Film Institutes (AFI) top 100 films in the last 100 years (1998). "Stagecoach (1939)" was the first of 2 AFI top 100 films that John Wayne & John Ford (Director) made together ("The Searchers" (1956-Widescreen color, also available in DVD) was the other). "STAGECOACH" was the first true complex western to be made on location in the "Monument Valley, Utah. Star studded cast, great story, lots of action and unbelievable stunts by the legendary stunt man - Yakima Canutt. His stunts were so dangerous that when he asked Director Ford if he got the stunt on film. Ford replied,"even if I didn't we won't do that again!" (Ford was famous for his single takes and this Canutt stunt was immortalized forever in this grand film!!!).So if you want to enjoy this grand western adventure of 9 desperate people crossing 170 miles of Indian territory in 2 days, jump aboard this 1939 Classic that launched John Wayne career.This DVD in Black & White, Full Screen (before WideScreen), good quality picture for a 1939 print. Enjoy."