Saturday, March 7, 2015

Stagecoach: The Breakfast Club of Classic Westerns

Stagecoach begins like a pulp fiction western. Geronimo is on the warpath and a set of stereotyped characters are all put on a stagecoach to travel through dangerous territory.

The Breakfast Club of classic westerns. So many tropes and types:
-The noble marshal
-The drunk doctor
-The prostitute with a heart of gold
-The comedic driver (classically played by Andy Devine)
-The lady with a secret
-The gambler
-The pompous financier
-and, of course, the just outlaw played by John Wayne
Put them all in what amounts to a locked room and you get some fun personality clashes.

In any classic western, you have to have landscapes, an Indian battle, fine stunts, lot of horses, a cavalry, and, of course, a shootout.

Most directors would just shake all the parts up and pour it out, but the writers put this one together carefully, creating a great blend of tension and comedy and enough character by-play to make it all interesting. Not deep, but a lot of fun.

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