Rio Grande takes place after the Civil War when the Union turned their attention towards the Apaches. Union officer Kirby Yorke is in charge of an outpost on the Rio Grande in which he is ... See full summary »
A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »
A simple stagecoach trip is complicated by the fact that Geronimo is on the warpath in the area. The passengers on the coach include a a drunken doctor, two women, a bank manager who has taken off with his client's money, and the famous Ringo Kid, among others. Written by
Andrew Hyatt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A device known as a "Running W" was used on the Indians' horses during the sequence where they are chasing the stagecoach. Strong, thin wires are fixed to a metal post, then the other end of the wires are attached to an iron clamp that encircles the legs of a horse, and the post is anchored into the ground. The horse is then ridden at full gallop, and when the wire's maximum length is reached--just when the rider is "shot"--the animal's legs are jerked out from underneath it, causing it to tumble violently and throw the "shot" rider off. The trouble was that the rider knew when the horse was going to fall but the horse didn't, resulting in many horses either being killed outright or having to be destroyed because of broken limbs incurred during the falls. The use of the "Running W" was eventually discontinued after many complaints from both inside and outside the film industry. See more »
As the stagecoach crosses the river at the burnt out ferry, the shadow of a camera is clearly visible on the driver's back. See more »
These hills here are full of Apaches. They've burnt every ranch building in sight.
[referring to Indian scout]
He had a brush with them last night. Says they're being stirred up by Geronimo.
Geronimo? How do we know he isn't lying?
No, he's a Cheyenne. They hate Apaches worse than we do.
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I grew up watching the old, crotchety, gruff John Wayne, the iconic hero of the right wing, and even though I'd seen some of his early films on television, I'd forgotten what a sexy and compelling presence he had when a young man. It's easy to see while watching his performance how this film made him a star. As great as Wayne is in this film, he doesn't overshadow any of his fellow performers. Thomas Mitchell plays the drunken doctor thrown out of town, a performance that earned him an Academy Award. Andy Devine is hilarious as the complaining, squeaky voiced stagecoach driver. John Carradine is sleek and snake-like as the gambler. Claire Trevor gives a heartbreaking turn as the good-hearted whore thrown out of town by pious hypocrites. Donald Meek plays his name, a meek whiskey salesman befriended by the whiskey-loving Doc. Each actor quickly and deftly sketches his character so vividly that every performance is memorable.
But the real star of the show is John Ford, the director. To introduce and define nine characters in the context of a fast-paced western is no easy task, and he accomplishes it in masterly fashion. Much of the action takes place in the limited confines of a stagecoach, but Ford takes advantage of the limits by staging brilliant and subtle bits between characters; John Wayne casts sultry glances at Clare Trevor, who blossoms under his glance, the young calvary wife's eyes glaze over as the banker pontificates, and Doc sneaks sips of whiskey from the samples case while he solicitously keeps the wind from chilling the whiskey salesman. When the action moves outside, he films the action in dynamic angles and stunts that were the most daring of its time.
If you enjoy westerns and haven't seen this, you have a great night of film-watching ahead of you. And if the last time you saw Stagecoach was some midnight years ago when you wandered home for a bit of the late show before bedtime, watch it again and rediscover what a great western it is
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