The plot, whilst simple, creates an intriguing situation that unfolds between the film's central characters, and it is from there that the complex character development ensues. Each character is briefly introduced and given a backstory, and their stories are further expanded upon whilst confined within the stagecoach. It is this alone that makes 'Stagecoach' the classic it is, so simple, yet so well-executed, and it proved a benchmark for the films to follow.
Minor statements and prop-related reveals also add to the complex development the story has to offer, some of which I missed first time round watching, thus giving us new material with each new viewing. From the "just got a telegram" that Gatewood utters (unleashing a flurry of distrust among the group) to the foreshadowing of death in the form of the dead man's hand in a poker game.
However what really boasts this film as the technical marvel it is, is the films craft, sure the sound mix might be a little blown-out, but it's dated, so is an area you can forgive, but with stunning cinematography, beautiful vistas of Monument Valley (that Ford's films would later utilise time and time again), a score of epic proportions and stunt-work that is unbelievable for when it was done, one particular scene that I was in awe at was the jumping from horse to horse scene during the case along the salt flats. Finally we have the actors, who all provide high calibre performances, Thomas Mitchell in particular who provides the film with its comic element, but also delivers some more heartfelt and caring drama at times of soberness, and of course, John Wayne's introductory zoom shot.
So why didn't I give it 5 stars you may ask, it's solely due the limited emotional attachment I had to it, and that there are other westerns out there that provide for more integral entertainment, but don't get me wrong, 'Stagecoach' is a prototype western like no other, and the thought that went into executing it make it one of the finest films of the 1930's.
I like the diversity onboard the stagecoach passengers in that we have an alcoholic Doctor Boone, wife of a military Calvary soldier, peacock who is the paster, Hatfield who is a former Confederate soldier who is now a gambler, and John Wayne as Ringo.
It is good mixture of diversity in characters to provide a sense of randomness that seems real. There is a Calvary army. A mixture of gray personalities that are not all good or bad. We have a robber of money from safe of the fist town and is caught in final town
They stop at coach way stop station to change horses and give horses and passengers something to drink.
John Wayne is for some reason thought to have done bad things and others are planning to arrest him once he enters his destination. His horse died that's why John Wayne joins the stagecoach.
The scenery looks nice.
The confederate solder pours some water from stagecoach drivers canteen into a silver cup with a crest to her told she recognizes the crest on silver crest where he told her that he won in wager.
In this film we encounter Mexicans and Native Americans.
Doctor takes Black coffee to silver up after drinking alcohol the entire stagecoach trip.
We have apache women at on stagecoach stop where the passengers complain.
One of the woman passengers had a baby girl in between stagecoach stops.
There is enough mystery but some more information is given as story goes on.
Apache woman takes horse which Mexican complains about to wake up stage coach passengers.
Prostitute by the name of Dallas is in love with John Wayne character Ringo but is in conflicted because she knows he will be imprisoned once enter Lawsburg.
John Wayne Rengo says he was in penitentiary going on 17. We know he owns a Ranch.
We see Apache smoke signals so leave.
There is realism that looks amazing by the stunts in the final apache stagecoach chase. The most Amazing is the apache stunt men jumping between the stagecoach horses and then going under the horses almost like Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Each sallon in this film has its own personality and you can tell the size of area or town they are in by the saloons look and population.
Newspaper is already make predictions before of Ringo's death before anything happens.
Final town is much darker, larger, and grayer in personalities compared to everywhere else the film goes to before hand.
After seeing it a second time I do have a better appreciation for the film.