Stagecoach Analysis

1034 words - 4 pages

Stagecoach is a 1939 production directed by John Ford, starring John Wayne, Clair Trevor, Berton Churchill, along with many other actors and actresses. The story line entails a stagecoach trip from the more civilized east to the more natural setting of the west, specifically Lordsburg. A random group of people end up traveling all together in a stagecoach for one reason or another and they all learn from one another as well as come to accept or at least tolerate each others perks and flaws. Their trip is full of memorable events that keep the audience interested.

The artistic intensions and the "messages" portrayed through the film are noticeable and suiting for the time frame and setting. The name of the movie is stagecoach, so naturally there are a lot of scenes set from inside and outside the stagecoach. The overall setting is the frontier, as it is with most old western movies. The rough, ragged, and vacant looking terrain, the mountains in the distance, the endless view of the big blue sky, the smoky war signs sent out by the Indians who live in that area as well as their authentic appearance, the run down villages they stayed in along their journey, and the dirt path that is followed by the stagecoach, all contribute to the overall western style setting of the movie. The style of dress and the mannerisms of the people also contribute to the time frame the movie is set in. The men and women and Indians all looked very out dated with their big dresses, their suits and hats, their Indian feathers and face paints, and their western cowboy attire .A good job was also done in setting the music to suit the scene it was played during. In my opinion, the artistic intensions of the film makers are very well portrayed.

I personally think that the setting, costuming, and actor performance dominate the artistic disciplines. When watching the movie for the first time, I felt I got a real sense of what it was like to be there during that time period. I learned things such as how to float a stagecoach across a body of water, where the phrases "I am going to sit shotgun" in reference to the front seat of a vehicle, and saying "grub" in reference to food, came from, just how poorly the white people and the Indians treated each other, throwing rocks at horses makes them run faster and increase their speed, and I realized just how long Wells Fargo has been around. The artistic disciplines interact and flow together very well in the movie and I really enjoyed every bit of what these three areas (setting, costuming, and actor performance) had to offer.

I am not quite sure what the sociopolitical message was in this movie, but the text book discussed how the ending symbolized "taming the wilderness" as Ringo and Dallas rode to the "edge of the frontier." Many parts of the movie represented the advancements of civilization that were about to occur as the approaching twentieth...

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