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The Next Reel • Season 12 • Series: 1940 Academy Award Best Picture Nominees • Stagecoach


"We’re the victims of a foul disease called social prejudice, my child."

When John Ford decided to helm “Stagecoach” in 1939, he hadn’t done a western since his days in the silent film era. Yet it was this film, along with his relationship with John Wayne, that would lead to him making arguably some of the greatest westerns in cinema. Yet with this film, it was really more of a chance to make a western that could be a bit more serious, not just another b-level shoot-em-up, while still making a movie that was pretty light and entertaining. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our series on films from 1939 with Ford’s “Stagecoach.” We talk about John Ford as a director and what he was trying to do with this film, pointing out some Ford-isms along with debating his strength as a filmmaker. We chat about Dudley Nichols’ script adapted from Ernest Haycox’s short story, enjoying what he did with the nine principal characters in the film, even if there were some pacing issues throughout. We discuss the cinematography of Bert Glennon and the way he and Ford shot the action sequences. We chat about stuntman and stunt coordinator Yakima Canutt, marveling at the amazing stunts he performs in the film while also feeling pretty horrified at the methods he devised to get the horses to fall on camera. And we touch on the cast, touching on what each of them bring to their roles. It’s a fun film, even if not one of our favorites, but still gives us a great movie to talk about. So check it out then tune in!

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