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Stagecoach (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Sous-titres français) [Import]

John Wayne , Claire Trevor , John Ford    Unrated   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 51.58
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Stagecoach (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Sous-titres français) [Import] + The Searchers (La Prisonnière du Désert) (Bilingual) + True Grit
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Product Description

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Stagecoach is the Platonic ideal of what a movie should be and do, and Criterion's DVD and Blu-ray release showcases its virtues with love and care. That begins with the digital restoration of a landmark film most of us have seen only via substandard prints and videos. Transferred from a 1942 nitrate dupe negative, the new disc restores director John Ford and cameraman Bert Glennon's images to their proper richness, clarity, and depth. The results aren't pristine--dirt and damage remain visible at times, noticeably during the opening credits--but mostly it's as though a cloud had lifted with the first break of sun over Monument Valley. Excellent feature-length audio commentary is supplied by film scholar Jim Kitses (Horizons West), who right up front challenges the notion that Stagecoach lacks the nuance and complexity of later Ford masterworks. He also regrets that the picture is now known primarily as the vehicle that made John Wayne an A-list star. It did that (and Kitses means no disrespect to the Duke!), but more essentially it's a triumph of the ensemble film, in which every character and performance is carefully developed and even more artfully enlarged by interplay with the others. Kitses also fervently contends that the film's protagonist is not Wayne's Ringo Kid but Dallas, the prostitute played by Claire Trevor. (Ford told Trevor that her performance was so good, so fully woven into the texture of the film, she wouldn't receive the credit she deserved. He was right.)

Two devout Fordians make personal contributions to the Criterion disk: Peter Bogdanovich with amusing character portraits of Ford and John Wayne, and Tag Gallagher with a video essay, "Dreaming of Jeannie." Gallagher sketches Stagecoach's aptness as a reflection of post-Depression America and then, with acute sensitivity to the particulars of Ford's style, analyzes key passages. He illuminates the director's genius for exploring inner reality through spatial dynamics, and persuasively demonstrates that "Ford wants us to empathize with people, not to ally against them … to see without intolerance." Ford himself is heard from in a 72-minute interview conducted at his home in 1968 by BBC interviewer Philip Jenkinson; this is fascinating, though less for information and insights imparted than as a chapter in Ford's career-long history of being cantankerous with interviewers. His grandson and biographer Dan Ford presents a quarter-hour of home movies of the director with trusted colleagues aboard his yacht Araner, a home-away-from-home and means of escape from Hollywood … yet often Dudley Nichols would be turning out script pages somewhere on board. Stagecoach made Monument Valley "John Ford country," so it's right that the set should include a short history of the Goulding family, who operated a trading post there, and their relationship with Ford and the Navajo. There are also a (rather disappointing) tribute to Yakima Canutt, the fabled stuntman who played such a big part in executing the movie's famous chase across the salt flats; a 1949 radio dramatization of Stagecoach with Wayne and Trevor re-creating their roles; a theatrical trailer; and a print essay by David Cairns.

And yet the most exciting component apart from the Stagecoach restoration itself is something else by John Ford: a 54-minute silent comedy-Western from 1917, Bucking Broadway. This was made the year Ford started directing (at age 23), yet the work is both fresh with discovery and remarkably assured. Already it has the look of a Ford picture, as in an early sequence of horsemen gathering, surging up hillsides, crossing a creek, and then (anticipating the first shot of Stagecoach!) breaking into view from behind a roll of land we didn't even realize was there. The playing is relaxed, natural; there's hardly anything "silent movie" about it except that you can't hear their voices. Ford even kids about sentimentality (something he would often be charged with in later years) with a scene of crusty cowpokes getting blubbery over the song "Home Sweet Home." And in the final reel, as hero Cheyenne Harry (Harry Carey) arrives in New York City on a mission to rescue his girl, one shot is sublime: the off-center framing of the Westerner, with saddle thrown over his shoulder, striding into the tall, baronial lobby of a Broadway hotel as concierge and bellhops look warily on. Picture-man John Ford had arrived, ready for work. --Richard T. Jameson


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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guy de Maupassant? July 22 2003
Format:DVD
Yep, partners. The film that made The Duke a star was based on a 19th century French classic 'Sweet (or fat, depending on translation) Pudding'. A fact that Ford hid from the studio, claiming it was based on a short story by Haycox.
He had good reason to lie. Had he told the truth one of the greatest Western of all time might never had been made, and therein lies a tale. . .
Ford had a reputation for being a good money maker when he was forced to be 'down to earth' but box office poison whenever he got 'artsy', which was often. Ford was a genius and he admired great writing, bringing Eugene O' Neill to the screen---and bombing. Outside the theater the folks in 'Middle America' just didn't take to "Mourning Becomes Electra". Thus Ford had good reason to keep the true origin of "Stagecoach" under wraps.
In 'Pudding' which takes place during the Franco-Prussian war, a group of strangers board a stagecoach. Among them are two nuns, an aristocrat and his wife, a cynic, and a prostitute nicknamed "Pudding."
They treat her like dirt until they run out of food and discover she's brought some. Later, when a Prussian officer detains and threatens them, unless 'Pudding' pleasures him, even the nuns insist that she should have sex with him. She complies, but has the last laugh--she's got syphillis and has patriotically infected an enemy of France!
All the passengers are again disgusted with her, except for the cynic, who is instead revolted with the hypocrisy of his companions. The prostitute has proven nobler than the nuns and aristocrats. . .
Well, no one was ready to have a prostitute infect Cochise or Geronimo with venereal disease in a 1940's Western, but the film follows the THEME of the classic story closely: We meet, in order of social status, 1.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
John Ford's "Stagecoach" is a film that undoubtedly has influenced many action-adventure film directors over the years. One need only watch its dramatic stagecoach chase sequence and compare it to George Miller's "The Road Warrior" (1982) to see some striking similarities. In addition, "Stagecoach" is also famous for being the breakout film for John Wayne who left behind his B Westerns for good after distinguishing himself here as The Ringo Kid.
The story of "Stagecoach" is simple. A lone stagecoach must cross an untamed area populated by hostile Indians. In the stagecoach is an eclectic mix of passengers from various social classes and of various reputations. The heart of the film is the relationship that develops between Wayne's fugitive and Dallas (Claire Trevor), a woman with a scandalous past. These two individuals are arguably the two low rungs on the social standing ladder amongst the film's characters. Yet, when all the chips are placed on the table, it is The Ringo Kid and Dallas who prove to be the most steadfast and dependable. Needless to say, both leads are great. Trevor in particular is the embodiment of 1930's glamour Hollywood.
If there's any one thing that people remember after watching "Stagecoach," it is the amazing chase sequence with the pursuing Indians. It is a marvel of early cinema filmmaking technique that still manages to get the blood pumping in the present day. The sequence is literally a film storyboard come to life and a testament to the notion that action sequences do not succeed in and of themselves, but succeed when carefully planned out and competently executed. This is a timeless lesson that many current filmmakers should take to heart when putting together their films
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The film that catapulted The Duke into stardom Aug. 1 2003
Format:DVD
Before 1939, a young actor named John Wayne had been starring in b-movie Westerns for years. The western genre wasn't taken very seriously, and neither was the young, sauntering cowboy who starred in them. Stagecoach changed all that. Director John Ford knew talent when he saw it, and with this film one of the greatest alliance/friendships in Hollywood history was formed--that of John Wayne and John Ford. Out of this memorable alliance several wonderful films came, but this was the first.
Shot in Utah's beautiful Monument Valley, Stagecoach follows the adventures of a group of unlikely traveling companions as they cross the stage route in an effort to stay clear of Geronimo and his band. Along the way, the group picks up the Ringo kid (Wayne), a confirmed killer. As the journey progresses, the group's true colors come forth, a young prostitute who was driven from her home (played by Claire Trevor) becomes the true heroine, and the stuck-up aristocratic woman, the banker, and the whiskey peddler are forced to learn a valuable lesson--that true inner character is far more important than social status.
The movie itself is a masterpiece, from the brilliant storyline to the climactic ending with the Ringo Kid's battle in the street. The cinematics are spectacular (especially for that time), and Ford's directing is flawless. There have been many, many Westerns since this one (a great deal of them starring John Wayne), but no Western has ever changed the face of the motion picture industry like Stagecoach did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily one of the greatest Westerns ever made Aug. 11 2002
Format:DVD
STAGECOACH is a film that is great viewed once, but even better watched repeatedly. Although the story it tells is a simple one, it is told in a deceptively simple manner. In fact, it is a heavily nuanced, deeply complex film, and it is only on repeated viewings that the complexity is revealed. For instance, if one rewatches the film focusing on just one element, such as the physical distance and placement of each character throughout the film, one realizes the degree to which John Ford is the master of his craft. This is one of those rare films that, if watched frequently enough, shows you how films are constructed and made. In fact, "Masterpiece" is almost too weak a word for a work of this quality. It is almost more "Blueprint" for future films than merely a Masterpiece.
STAGECOACH is sometimes regarded as a John Wayne vehicle, but nothing could be further from the truth. He does manage a stunning debut in an "A" picture (his extensive previous work had been in "B" oaters), but this is an ensemble picture, the strength of the film deriving from the performances of a number of important characters, and not from the performance of merely one. Had Wayne been great, but John Carradine and Donald Meek and Berton Churchill and Andy Devine and Thomas Mitchell not turned in equally as compelling performances, STAGECOACH would have been only a shadow of the film it is. Although this is not a John Wayne vehicle, he does benefit from two visually stunning moments. The first is the marvelous close up when we see the Ringo Kid for the first time. The second is his dive to the ground at the end of the film as he takes on his enemies.
STAGECOACH is a nearly flawless film. The cinematography is extraordinary.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie buff
Lots of good scenery from Monument Valley. Good extras on John Ford interviews. Story line at sometimes comes across as being a little boring. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Movienut
5.0 out of 5 stars "Stagecoach (1939) ... Trevor/Wayne/Devine/Carradine/Mitchell ... John...
United Artists presents "STAGECOACH" (1939) - (96 min/B&W) -- Starring: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine, John Carradine & Thomas Mitchell

Directed by John... Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2011 by J. Lovins
5.0 out of 5 stars "STAGECOACH"
I HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN 1 REVIEW ABOUT THIS DVD, IT ARRIVED USED AS OFFERED BUT IN BRAND NEW CONDITION AND WITHIN A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME. Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2011 by Chales V. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Stagecoach
Stagecoach A great western. He is and always will be the Number 1 moviestar. He is his characters.
Published on July 29 2010 by Ms. Vivian Klein
5.0 out of 5 stars John Ford hits the deck running
I will not go through much of the story as that is why you are buying the movie. Alternatively, of course, like me you just want to see what they did with the movie and the... Read more
Published on July 20 2010 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars classic,brilliant western starring John Wayne and directed by John...
Stagecoach is a classic John Wayne western.the basic plot of the story
is this:a motley group of 9 people end up on a Stagecoach
together,which must somehow make it... Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2007 by falcon
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!
John Wayne's first major role, "Stagecoach" is both exciting and poetic! A great addition to anyone's western film collection! Grade: A+
Published on April 2 2004 by Steven Hancock
5.0 out of 5 stars Only Western that I Actually Liked
We had to watch this movie in one of my college courses and I absolutely loved it. a young John Wayne does a stellar job in his role as an outlaw with a good heart and the rest of... Read more
Published on March 3 2004 by S. Geeck
5.0 out of 5 stars READ MORE
1939 WAS COSIDERED THE BEST YEAR FOR MOVIES. AND HERE ARE ALL THE TOP MOVIES FOR 1939. DARK VICTORY,GONE WITH THE WIND[WHICH WON BEST PICTUE AND IS CONSIDERED ONE OF OR MAYBE THE... Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2004 by Suzy L. Dowell
5.0 out of 5 stars great must buy now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
the best year for movies was 1939 with hits galore such as gone with the wind/goodbye mr.chips/stagecoach/and the wizard of oz just to name a few. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2004
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