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May 07, 2010

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Pete Apruzzese

I'm ashamed to admit that I don't currently own any home video version of Stagecoach. But it appears that Criterion's Blu-ray will correct that omission. As for Wells' comments, the less said the better. Thanks for the review.

The Siren

I wonder if the negative was "lost" during the period in which Fox reportedly had the Ford withdrawn from circulation so as not to compete with its execrable 1966 remake.

Wonderful to see you show this one the love it merits, Glenn. My favorite moment, aside from Wayne's entrance--so quiet and touching: "Looks like I got the plague, don't it?"

The Siren

Oh, and what a beautiful observation about that Mitchell close-up, in a movie that has some of the best close-ups of all time.

Daniel McCaffrey

I just read this incredible new book called "Arizona's Little Hollywood" that reveals the truth behind the making of "Stagecoach" for the first time. Using newly unearthed documentation from Arizona sources, it proves that much has been falsified, including the whole Goulding-Monument Valley connection.

pvitari

I sympathize with your not being able to take Blu-ray screenshots. I have a Mac computer and there are no blu-ray drives available for Macs. (Do you have a Mac?) According to an Apple employee I spoke with, Steve Jobs doesn't like Blu-ray because he feels the future of movie watching is in downloading and online streaming, i.e., iTunes. :) Ergo, no Blu-ray drives for Macs.

Thus I can only do screencaps of standard definition discs, even when I have the Blu-ray in my collection. Alas.

I saw Stagecoach some years ago on the giant screen at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta and it blew me away -- especially that amazing shot of Wayne "rising like a young god out of the desert." Could someone please remind me which critic wrote that? The phrase has always stuck in my mind but I can't remember its author.

(It's not Stagecoach, but it's a western -- kind of -- and a pip in its own right: I screencapped the Warner Bros. musical short The Royal Rodeo starring John Payne and the pics are at http://www.paulasmoviepage.shutterfly.com)

michaelgsmith

Glenn, you are so right about Ford being the child of Murnau and Griffith. What really amazes me about Ford, the more I look at him, is how much the expressionist strain (so obviously present in his late silents) never really left him; Murnau's influence can be felt very strongly in The Searchers, Sergeant Rutledge, The Civil War episode of How the West Was Won and 7 Women.

When I taught a Ford at Fox class a couple years ago, I was astonished to find that Ford visually quoted a couple of shots from The Last Laugh in Four Sons. He really studied Murnau's films in an almost academic way and I don't think this influence has been given its proper due - even with all the great Ford books out there. Someone should write a whole book titled "Murnau/Ford".

D Cairns

Lindsay Anderson's great documentary on Ford draws very strong connections between Four Sons and Sunrise, but then kind of lets it go at that, rather than seeing Murnau as an ongoing influence over Ford's work. But it does so many other things well (even if Anderson has an odd resistance to The Searchers) that I can't see that as a major flaw.

I'm very glad I hedged my bets on the discovery of Monument Valley when I wrote about it for the DVD: I think I say that opinions differ or something. Sounds like "Arizona's Little Hollywood" might finally settle the argument.

Tom Block

Wayne's intro shot is indeed a killer, fully deserving of its fame, but there's another one that hits me even harder in context. It's during the snowy leg of the trip--the passengers all look miserable, jouncing around in the freezing carriage, and Trevor happens to look over at Wayne. He appears to be asleep, but he suddenly looks up and stares back at her, making serious, unabashed, full-bore eye-contact with her, as the wind blows the brim of his hat about his face. It's a completely hot moment, and I do mean "hot" in the modern sense of the word: that moment when two people's feelings about each other have reached the point where it's pointless, and maybe even impossible, to deny the fact any longer. Of course it can't hold a candle to any of Jennifer Aniston's romcoms, but hey, you can't have everything.

(I've been promising myself I was going to wait until I get the Criterion disc before watching it again, but I might have just talked myself into hauling out my Warners copy. All of a sudden I'm dying to see it again...)

Brad

I kind of wish you would "go there" with Wells' idiotic temper tantrum here Glenn. It's more of that puerile anti-Criterion nonsense and based nothing but the fantasies of Wells himself. It really makes him look like an idiot blu fanboy who thinks any movie ever made can effortlessly be made into a flawless blu ray, but they don't want the format to succeed so they don't do it. or something.

christian

Jeff Wells is simply a sociopathic bully and elitist Eloi. No need for further explanations;]

Can't wait to check out this bluray.

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