Berlinale: Programme


Film file

Retrospective

Stagecoach

Höllenfahrt nach Santa Fe

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A stagecoach sets out from the town of Tonto, headed to Lordsburg, despite an Apache uprising. Among the passengers are the local sheriff, the young wife of a cavalry officer, an alcoholic, a gambler, and a prostitute. They are joined by a banker and the fugitive Ringo Kid. Along the way, Ringo Kid and the whore Dallas start to bond. But any joint future for them is questionable. In fact any future at all for the passengers becomes questionable when the stagecoach comes under Apache attack … A tale of dark riders against backlight. Stagecoach was the first western that John Ford shot in Monument Valley. The opening credits set the scene, with the landscape’s contrast between vast open spaces and the shadows cast by the massive buttes. Ford subordinated much of the location shoot to the dictates of the natural light, despite the fact that during the horse chase, the horses are galloping in the ‘wrong’ direction. In 1967, John Ford told Peter Bogdanovich, ‘I did that because it was getting late and if I had stayed on the correct side, the horses would have been back-lit, and I couldn’t show their speed in back light. So I went around to the other side where the light was shining on the horses.’

USA 1939, 96 min

by

John Ford

with

John Wayne
Claire Trevor
Andy Devine
John Carradine