Stagecoach (1939)

Stagecoach (1939), directed by John Ford.

Enormously satisfying western about a disparate set of passengers on a stagecoach trip through hostile Indian territory. In Monument Valley, of course! The characters are well-known, but that doesn't harm the story. We have:

The little subplots and interactions are just great. All done with John Ford's customary realism and fine composition.

Seeing Claire Trevor makes me want to watch Key Largo (1948) again. This is a break-out role for John Wayne, but he had made over seventy pictures before. John Carrdine's is the only tragic character: the Southern gentleman who has fallen on hard times, still retaining a sense of honor and code of conduct. Perhaps a last chance at redemption.

Notice how the timid whiskey salesman starts giving orders after the baby is born. He's the only family man in the group.

A continuing theme in Ford's films is that the people who tame the West have no place there once it is settled. This story has perhaps the happiest resolution to the problem.

Criterion Blu-ray. The source is in rough shape and I don't know how much restoration has been done or is possible. Not much improvement over my Warner DVD. The Blu-ray does have some nice extras.