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Classic Review: Stagecoach (1939)

John Wayne is the American western in my mind. I haven’t seen much of the genre, but the vision I have of it, includes some character with a hat and bandana with a resemblance to John Wayne. Before he had his Searchers or True Grit roles he stood out as the Ringo Kid in John Ford’s classic Western.

Stagecoach was a precursor to so many of the movies like The Breakfast Club, where we get a collection of characters brought together in a difficult situation. A sheriff, prostitute, bandit, rich-housewife, shady banker, drunk doctor, and a few other travel in a stagecoach, trying not to run into any Apache Indians on the way to their destination.

Surprisingly, I was watching the whole time the movie was on. Not, have it run in the background and browse the web watching, but actually paying attention, and becoming engrossed in the character stories and the action. Wayne, of course, steals every scene showing the flashes of what he would become, but stagecoach driver (Andy Devine) and the tipsy Doc (Thomas Mitchell) have some really great scenes. The former with the comedic role, and the latter with some more emotional screen time. There are some surprises along the way, the action is still “edge of your seat” worthy, and John Wayne is in it! If you like classic movies, there really isn’t any excuse not to see Stagecoach at least once.

My Rating: B+

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