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The making of Stagecoach (1939)

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John Ford liked to bully actors on the set, and "Stagecoach" (1939) was no exception. At one point, he said to Andy Devine, "You big tub of lard. I don't know why the hell I'm using you in this picture." Undaunted, Devine replied, "Because Ward Bond can't drive six horses." Likewise, he attacked Thomas Mitchell, who eventually retorted, "Just remember: I saw [Ford's earlier film] 'Mary of Scotland' (1936)," effectively humbling the director.

Worst of all was Ford's treatment of John Wayne. He called him a "big oaf" and a "dumb bastard" and continually criticized his line delivery and manner of walking, even how he washed his face on camera. However, at least part of this was to provoke the actor into giving a stronger performance. Claire Trevor recalls how Ford grabbed Duke by the chin and shook him. "Why are you moving your mouth so much?" he said. "Don't you know you don't act with your mouth in pictures? You act with your eyes." Wayne tolerated the rough treatment and rose to the challenge, reaching a new plateau as an actor. Ford helped cement the impression that Wayne makes in the film by giving him plenty of expressive reaction shots throughout the picture.

Stunt coordinator Yakima Canutt explained how the stunt was accomplished where, as an Apache warrior attacking the stagecoach, he is "shot," falls off his horse, and then gets dragged underneath the stagecoach: "You have to run the horses fast, so they'll run straight. If they run slow, they move around a lot. When you turn loose to go under the coach, you've got to bring your arms over your chest and stomach. You've got to hold your elbows close to your body, or that front axle will knock them off." After the stunt was completed, Canutt ran to Ford to make sure they got the stunt on film. Ford replied that even if they hadn't, "I'll never shoot that again."

Asked why, in the climactic chase scene, the Indians didn't simply shoot the horses to stop the stagecoach, Ford replied, "Because that would have been the end of the movie." In addition, Apaches would have stolen the stagecoach horses rather than killed them because, in their culture, horses were valuable in calculating a warrior's worth.

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some of these hollywood stories make me think of life in my chosen fields , they all deal this out and they all have their pecking order , you pay your dues before you get to rise to your highest level , 


what bugs me and i dont remember this of ford , is why these types think they are anointed to some position of telling the rest of us what we should think and how we need to vote , what is worth believing in ...............i knida like the constitution and what it gives us all the liberty to think , vote , say , 


oi get it when your employed you gotta respect the boss - ford was the boss , i read JWs auto and he did not badmouth ford , i suspect ford was looking for maximum performance and thought that was the motivation , it seemed to work his productions were a success , and most that worked for him wanted to work with him again , i know little to nothing of the movie buisness but i know id not have wanted to work with actors in my work life , 


yes i did get exposed and still am , my wife and BIL were actors locally , my neice just graduated and is hired by the black hills theater company , we will be attending some performances but im still skeptical of actors - too manny lived in my house back in the day when the wife and BIL  were involved in a major local presentation ,  it was an interesting summer but id never do it again , those people are nuts 

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