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"There are some things a man just can't walk away from."
on May 7, 2003
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