Stagecoach

Summer school was ending.  I went out to buy some groceries, and then returned to take a nap as I watched television.  I saw Sally Struthers and Anthony Quinn on The Dick Cavett Show.  I walked over to Dollar Tree to buy some batteries, and then took the bus part of the way to the West Branch library to see Stomper.  I said hello to the people at the circulation desk and talked about the A’s season.  The librarian told us that Stomper needed a few minutes to freshen up.  I suppose that on a hot summer day, he was sweaty.  Stomper still didn’t talk even in this setting.  The kids got coloring pages, and the librarian took two photos of me with Stomper.  I walked home and watched the news before going into the record store.  I bought the Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition of “Wings of Desire,” plus vinyl albums of Joan Armatrading, Joan Baez, Deaf School, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and Boz Scaggs.  Back at home, I watched John Ford’s “Stagecoach.”  I was reminded me of many a disaster movie followed the design of this movie.  Claire Trevor was the biggest name in the movie at the time, the time being 1939.  I can’t remember another one of her movies.  Her character, named Dallas, is a prostitute, but it’s never explicitly stated.  When the women of the Law and Order League run her out of time, it seems like it’s for no good reason at all.  John Wayne isn’t introduced for quite a while.  I hadn’t thought about the zoom shot that affected the focus of his image.  John Carradine is one of the recognizable people in the cast, and he looked like a face out of “V for Vendetta.”  We see Uncle Billy from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which reminded me how some of the actors could be in John Ford’s movies or Frank Capra’s movies.  Thomas Mitchell’s character is Doc Boone, a drunk who somehow still does a good job treating broken bones and delivering babies.  I wondered if he killed anybody during one of his binges.  We see a pregnant woman who didn’t look pregnant.  The movie was an influence on Orson Welles, who used some of the ideas for “Citizen Kane.”  A bit of D.W. Griffith was noticeable in the picture, too.  We get no explanation for the actions of the Apaches.  They’re not real human beings.  Ford goes against expectations in many ways, including the attack on the stagecoach, which is not the end of the movie.  The stunts will remind movie fans of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”  I kept wondering if any of the horses were injured during the filming.  After this sequence, John Wayne’s character, The Ringo Kid, still has a shootout against three men.  Unlike “High Noon,” we don’t even really see the action.  We only hear the shots and the screams.  I don’t know if this shows more the avoidance of clichés or the effort of filming the scene.  The last part of the movie reminded me of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.”  John Wayne really looks like a young man.  His stardom lasted from this movie on through “The Shootist.”  The print for this movie is flawed, with a lot of scratches and other signs of age.  I wondered why “Gone with the Wind” is pristine and this film looks old when both were released in the same year.  I like watching “Stagecoach,” although the acting seems like it comes from another era, and “The Searchers” was the height of Ford’s achievement in the Western.  I can see how Ford influenced someone like Akira Kurosawa, when I think back on “Seven Samurai.”  The disc came with a lot of supplements, including Peter Bogdanovich’s discussion of John Ford.  He met Ford when he was 24 years old, and he was there during the filming of “Cheyenne Autumn.”  Ford was 69 years old, and Bogdanovich does refer to him as an old man.  The disc also had a silent film from 1917 called “Bucking Broadway.”  There was also an interview with Dan Ford, John Ford’s grandson, and another feature on the stuntman Yakima Canutt.  The booklet that came with the disc had the short story “Stage to Lordsburg.”  It was too much to go through in one night.  I tried to clean some of my records and record sleeves with a rag.  I didn’t want to watch the late night talk shows.  Since David Letterman went off the air, I’m not too enthusiastic about any of the shows.  What has Jimmy Fallon been doing?  I went to asleep.  I heard on the news that the Giants had lost yet another game.  Also, Mike Sugerman did his last segment for KCBS.  Elizabeth Wenger was doing the traffic reports for KPIX.  I thought about going to see the movie “Phantom Boy.”  I didn’t see any other new movie releases that interested me.  Some of the people who died on July 29 include Vincent van Gogh (1890), Mama Cass Elliot (1974), Harold Sakata (1982), Luis Buñuel (1983), David Niven (1983), Jerome Robbins (1998), Pat McCormick (2005), and Tom Snyder (2007).

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Movies. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s