movie film review | chris tookey


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  Stagecoach   Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
Average Rating
9.55 /10
Claire Trevor (pictured left), John Wayne (pictured right), Thomas Mitchell
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Directed by: John Ford
Written by: Dudley Nichols (and an uncredited Ben Hecht), from Ernest Haycox's story Stage to Lordsburg, inspired by Guy de Maupassant's Boule de Suif

Released: 1939
Origin: US
Colour: BW
Length: 99

A stagecoach travels west, and falls foul of an Indian attack.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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A seminal western, despite its unreconstructed view of Indians as savages, and a long first hour, in which characters are set up at a pace which will strike modern audiences as pedestrian. The climactic attack is among the most exciting ever filmed - and is all the more effective because we have come to care about the characters.

Stagecoach made a star of John Wayne, who had been languishing in B-features; it established Monument Valley in Utah as the classic western location; and it made John Ford the foremost director in this genre - prior to this, he had not directed a Western for 13 years.

The New York Film Critics voted Ford Best Director; but credit should also go to cinematographer Bert Glennon, art director Alexander Toluboff, and editor Dorothy Spencer, all of them Oscar-nominated. The Academy Award-winning music (by Richard Hegeman, W. Frank Harling, John Leopold, Leo Shuken and Louis Gruenberg) also played an important role in making this film a classic.

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