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Stagecoach is seen as a template for all movie westerns. How does Ford(TM) use characters, action and settings to create this for the rest of all westerns.

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Introduction

Essay question: Stagecoach is seen as a template for all movie westerns. How does 'Ford' use characters, action and settings to create this for the rest of all westerns. I will begin by discussing John Fords use of characters to set a template for all movie westerns. It has been said that Stagecoach was 'the first adult western' this is because he brought intimacy to his characters. The story is simple enough, a group all with different backgrounds and characteristics, find themselves on the stagecoach to Lordsburg, each for a different reason. There are ten focused characters that get onboard the stagecoach and on route they pick up another character that joins them on the journey his named as Ringo Kid who is on a mission for revenge. These characters are Lucy Mallory who is heavily pregnant (I as the audience did not realise until she was in labor and had the baby) and she wants to join her husband an officer with the US cavalry, Mr. Hatfield who is a gambler and joins because he had one look at the lady and then leaped aboard. ...read more.

Middle

Even the smallest roles are fleshed out with distinguishing detail. No one ever stands around in the background not having any activity when they are not talking which has made a change in westerns. In the film when the characters sit down to eat, prejudices surface, with Lucy Mallory refusing to sit near Dallas or Ringo, in which these two society misfits get on well together and discuss each others past. However when Dallas comes in to the room and enters with Lucy Mallory's baby girl, (another passenger) she suddenly becomes a lady to the rest of the passengers. Ford uses the technique of binary opposites where good vs. evil, with Ringo actually becoming the good and the Plummer brothers in Lordsburg are the evil. Ringo is a good character because he treats Dallas as an equal where as the others do not and the Plummer brothers are evil because they in the past had killed Ringo's father and brother. I believe the beauty of Stagecoach is that it combines, strongly drawn characters with frantic action and awe-spiring panoramas. ...read more.

Conclusion

Ford used great scenery and setting for this film and personally had a positive effect on me and for the rest of westerns to be produced thereafter. Ford defined images of the American West with some of the most beautiful and powerful cinematography shot in the Stagecoach film, this was said to be a huge influence to later western films. Set in the wide and dusty western frontier, where the decrepit shanty towns cower before the magnificence of Monument Valley (this is John Fords favourite location for his films other such films he filmed he are; The searchers, She wore a yellow ribbon, and Fort Apache) which really captured the scene and atmosphere. The setting is also very stereotypical of westerns movies with the cactus's etc this is where Ford has used the technique of prop which makes the film more realistic. Ford's evocative use of the territory for his Westerns has defined the images of the American West so powerfully that Orson Welles (American director) once said that other film-makers refused to shoot in the region out of fears of plagiarism. ...read more.

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