Movie Review from ElCriticon-AlohaCriticon
One of the great westerns in the history of cinema, directed by John Ford and produced by Walter Wanger. It has everything: characters perfectly portrayed and interpreted with different typologies that balance an interesting plot with details of romance, humor, drama, action and adventures in an open landscape, social portraiture ( alcoholism, prostitution, class conflict…), a script ( by Dudley Nichols on a history dreamt up by Ernest Haycox) and a narrative that snags every single detail, emotion, glance, phrase… in its best emotional and artistic composition.
John Wayne is marvelous in his role as the antihero called Ringo Kid, an outlaw with noble sentiments and strong values presented in an unforgettable zoom. First he became a film star and then a legend.
Besides him, Thomas Mitchell is superb as the drunkard doctor (he won the Oscar for his interpretation), and seeing Donald Meek in any film, most of the times playing scheming roles (here as an alcohol trafficker), is always a pleasure equal to see an elegant and refined John Carradine in the role of the gambler that Ford employs as a symbol of game (alcohol, outlaw and prostitution will be also represented) in order to focalize all the vices stigmatized by a repressive and repressed society in a claustrophobic stagecoach. Guy Maupassant and his tale “Boule De Suif” seems a clear influence on Stagecoach.
The movie, with spectacular locations of Monument Valley, is masterly filmed standing out the scene of the Indian’s attack and, taking into consideration the whole film, some point of view shot from the stagecoach’s roof, travellings, deep focus, shades and light contrasts of Ford and Bert Glennon, habitual collaborator of the master from Irish descent.
Orson Welles, whose favorite, director was John Ford ( when he was asked who his three favorite directors were, he said: John Ford, John Ford and John Ford ) affirmed that The Stagecoach was a great inspiration for Citizen Kane, which is mentioned as the first film in which the roofs can be seen as an atmospheric resource… They were previously seen in Stagecoach.