Stagecoach (1939)

Sunday, february 3, 2019
3 P.M.
Criterion theatre
35 cottage st., bar harbor, maine

“A film in which two great careers were renewed. Although he had appeared before in many films, as an extra, a stuntman and then an actor in B films, this was John Wayne's first starring role in a film by John Ford. For Ford, it was a return after some years to a genre about which his ideas had grown--the genre in which he would make many of his greatest films. Confined for a good deal of the film inside the stagecoach, [the] actors create a fascinating community as they gradually reveal their hidden reasons for traveling in great discomfort though hazardous Indian territory. The Ringo Kid, Wayne's character, is a wanted murderer being taken to prison by a U. S. Marshall (George Bancroft). The film's attitudes toward Native Americans are unenlightened. The Apaches are seen simply as murderous savages; there is no suggestion the white men have invaded their land. But [Wayne] never suggests evil, and seems prepared to be taken to prison even though he has many opportunities to escape. [Perhaps] he stays with the stagecoach because he is needed to protect its passengers. We see here Wayne's extraordinary physical grace and capacity for tenderness, and understand why Ford later cast him as The Quiet Man" - Roger Ebert.

United States - 1939 | 96 min.
Director:
John Ford
Screenplay: Dudley Nichols, Based on the story by Ernest Haycox
Cast: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, John Carradine, Thomas Mitchell, Louise Platt, George Bancroft