CowboySpirit.TV - One of the earliest Western movies with sound to entrance American audiences, John Ford’s 1939 Stagecoach starred a young John Wayne, Claire Trevor, and Andy Devine in a story about a group of individuals thrown together for a mad adventure in the American West. Still held by many fans of Western movies as one of the best films in the genre, Stagecoach is remembered for its cast and riveting story as much for its foibles.
Stagecoach Little Known Facts
A local shaman told John Ford he would conjure the exact type of clouds Ford desired to have in the movie; legend has it, the shaman’s promise came true.
Claire Trevor made more for the film than John Wayne; in fact, only John Carradine made less than Wayne for this movie.
It’s rumored that Orson Welles watched Stagecoach as many as forty times while he was filming his own classic, Citizen Kane.
Ford’s signature “dead man’s hand” appears in the poker game at the end of the movie; Luke Plummer wields the hand.
Stagecoach was nominated for seven Academy Awards - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Black and White Cinematography, Best Interior Decoration, and Best Film Editing; it won for Best Supporting Actor and Best Score.
Stagecoach Behind the Scenes Trivia
This was the first film Ford made in Monument Valley, and was followed by many other western movies both by Ford and other directors.
Ford insisted on having Wayne cast in the movie, despite the objections of the producer, Walter Wanger, who knew Wayne’s history as a straight B-movie star – even though Wayne had already done nearly 80 other films.
Close watchers will notice that the nominal stagecoach in the film crosses Monument Valley a total of three times. They will also notice tire tracks in the “wagon ruts” that the stagecoach follows for much of the film.
The Apache Indians in the film were actually played by Navajos.
Ford later directed Wayne in some of Wayne’s best performances, including Rio Grande and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
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