Classics Review: Stagecoach

“Stagecoach” was officially released in 1939. (same year The Wizard of Oz came out) It received praise from critics and movie goers. It also made enough money at the box office. Stagecoach made John Wayne a star after appearing in obscure films throughout his early career. The film earned a “Best Picture” nomination at the Oscars. “Gone with the Wind” ultimately won. The Criterion Collection digitally restored Stagecoach on DVD/Blu-Ray and included it as spine number 516.

Speaking of Oscars, “The 95 Academy Awards” will air on March 12, 2023 on ABC. Don’t forget to mark your calendar. Which films in The Criterion Collection should I watch and review next? Please leave a comment and I’ll respond back.

Keep in mind, this is a short article. It’s not a fully complex three-hour epic. Just a short western film.

Positive & Negative Aspects

Positive: John Wayne did an excellent job for his performance.

John Ford did a great job directing.

Fun Fact: Orson Welles saw Stagecoach 40 times to prepare for “Citizen Kane.”

Cinematography captures in-depth imagery of the outdoors.

Chemistry between Ringo and the passengers acts as the main highlight. Their interactions with each other move the story forward.

Pacing felt normal for a 95-minute film.

One of the passengers is named, Curley. Perhaps a reference to Curly from “The Three Stooges?”

Set Pieces and Costume Designs were manually built reflecting the Old West.

Somebody mentioned a businessman should run for President. Back in the 1929-1933, Herbert Hoover served as President during “The Great Depression.”

If you own a copy from The Criterion Collection, a bonus feature with the late Peter Bogdanovich gives an analysis of the film. You can tell how passionate Pete’s a movie buff.

After Ringo and the passengers travel to their destination, a climatic chase scene is worth a payoff.

Negative: Some of the characters are forgettable except Ringo Kid.

A romance between Ringo & Dallas wasn’t interesting.

The Final Verdict: B, FOR BRIGHTNESS!

Stagecoach is a solid western. If you’re a fan of westerns or a Criterion loyalist, grab a copy on DVD/Blu-Ray. Before Wicked’s two-parter comes out in 2024-2025, I want Criterion to include “The Wizard of Oz” on DVD/Blu-Ray. They already added in on Laserdisc. It’s time for them to restore missing scenes.

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