There are names that sound even better together than they do separately.. Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro for example. Their mere union already gives a certain peace of mind, because you know that both are going to end up bringing out the best in each other. Surely you have in mind many more examples, like the one that we are going to deal with today.
In this specific case we are talking about John Wayne and John Ford. Two names that separately are absolute legends of cinema and that together they released works that show the excellence of this medium, especially in the western genre. They’ve had lots of collaborations to remember, but there’s something special about the first one, ‘La Diligence’, which we can see on Amazon Prime Video, as well as on Filmin.
Two John, one big story
Before this project, none of the Johns were really regarded in the same reverential and almost mythomaniac way that came later. Wayne came from doing extra and stunt double, and starring in a film, but this completely changed the perception of him. Ford was more established, having won an Oscar for ‘the informer‘, but here began to cement his reputation as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.
They weren’t the only ones who changed their reputation. Also it raised the western again as a popular genre, solidifying the base to become the great cinematographic genre of the following decades. His way of applying the American aspiration to a film with drama, fast-paced action and adventure gave the whole a true greatness, making it transcendental.
‘The stagecoach’: majestic classic
The care he takes in telling this story, scripted by Dudley Nichols from a short story Ernest Haycox, helps this feeling of greatness. The way in which he follows this group of characters, diverse and brought together by circumstances in a vehicle that must circulate through Apache territory, shows Ford’s care beyond the majestic and memorable images.
An example of these iconic images is right where we first see Wayne. He, as we say, was not so well known at the time, but the film treats his entrance to it as an event, feeling almost amazed by his presence. And the wastes that charisma for which he would later be so celebrated and remembered.
That perfect understanding between actor and director is exactly the reason why they would end up working together for so long. And it is also why this delicious film, which is looking towards the future of cinema but also leaves details of the exquisite visual language typical of the silent era. A must-see movie for every movie lover..