(Roughly) Daily

“In many of the films now being made, there is very little cinema”*…

 

METROPOLIS (1927) Shot by Karl Freund, Günther Rittau, & Walter Ruttmann | Director: Fritz Lang

 

Honoring cinema’s past, frame by frame: from @TheGeoffTodd, a Twitter feed that delivers “One Perfect Shot” again and again…

* Alfred Hitchcock

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As we contemplate composition, we might recall that it was on this date in 1939 that Stagecoach was released…

Stagecoach was a major shifting point both in terms of the careers of its creators and of cinema as a whole. Ford had long failed to get his adaptation of Ernest Haycock’s short story “The Stage to Lordsburg” off the ground because the studios felt that Westerns were purely B-movie fare, the sort of thing best left to Poverty Row. And while Ford’s name is now synonymous with the genre like no other director, he had in fact not made a Western since 1926. Stagecoach finally got made with the help of independent producer Walter Wanger, who suggested Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper for the leads. However, he ultimately bowed to Ford’s preference for Claire Trevor and a relative unknown (and friend of Ford’s) by the name of John Wayne. All the film’s elements – a smart script by Ben Hecht and Dudley Nichols, the striking setting of Monument Valley, a great supporting cast, the exciting action sequences, Ford’s skilled direction, Wayne’s potent presence – combined to make it a hit not only with critics but audiences two. The film grossed $1 million in its first year, and was up for seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. From that point on, the Western became an important and respected element of American filmmaking, while Ford and Wayne would reteam many times to solidify their position as its seminal director and star. Stagecoach was also apparently used by Orson Welles as the blueprint of a “perfect movie” while making Citizen Kane, and it rightly remains a classic to this day.

Focus Features

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Written by LW

February 15, 2015 at 1:01 am

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