googletag.enableServices(); }); Liberty Theatre | Camas WA | Stagecoach (1939)
Stagecoach (1939) (NR) Release Date: June 15th, 2019
Runtime: 1 hr. 36 min.
Director: John Ford
Genres: Western
Starring: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine, John Carradine
80 years ago, the Western genre was forever changed by its greatest pioneer, the legendary John Ford. At a time when audiences were becoming bored with the genre recycling the same tired plots and story structures, Ford completely revitalized the Western with this single film. Stagecoach was a game changer. It took the previously well-worn tropes and expectations of the genre and flipped them on their head. Where outlaws used to be heinous and evil, in Stagecoach they are good, kindhearted, and portrayed by an up and coming prop-man turned actor by the name of Marion Morrison (that's John Wayne to you Western fans.)

Stagecoach also reinvigorated the genre with a profound sense of identity, introducing the world to Ford's beloved Monument Valley, the locations of which are now synonymous with the legacy of the Western. It became Ford's favorite place in the world, using it again for many other Western classics including My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache, and his opus, The Searchers. All of these films have had an incredible influence on modern directors, but Stagecoach in particular had a particular impact on the craft of filmmaking itself. Stagecoach exhibits some of the earliest instances of ceilinged sets, which is typically credited instead to Citizen Kane. Orson Welles actually studied Stagecoach when in preparations for his first film, citing it as: "my movie textbook… I wanted to learn how to make movies, and that’s such a classically perfect one.”

It cannot be overstated how important Stagecoach is, not only in the context of reestablishing the importance of the Western genre, but in the broader context of film as a whole. A more in-depth look at its legacy and influence can be found here. Today, on it's 80th anniversary, let us take some time to appreciate this fantastic film from one of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers. What are your own thoughts and ideas about Ford's masterfully revolutionary Western classic?
Special Fathers Day weekend presentation, times are TBA
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