Dir. John Ford. 1939, 96 mins. Archival 35mm print. With John Wayne, Claire Trevor. With his first western since the silent era, Ford elevated the genre to an art form and made John Wayne a star. A drunk, a prostitute, an outlaw, a gambler, and a respectable couple make their way across Apache country in a stagecoach, while Ford deftly combines character study, action, and painterly landscapes. In his 1955 essay “The Evolution of the Western,” André Bazin wrote “Stagecoach is the ideal example of the maturity of a style brought to classical perfection. John Ford struck the ideal balance between social myth, historical reconstruction, psychological truth, and the traditional theme of the western mise en scène.”
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