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The Western as a Genre
John Ford’s Stagecoach (United Artists) has been hailed as the official Western Classic. Released in 1939 after the lull in production of Westerns caused by the advent of sound and The Great Depression during the mid 1930’s, it is considered one of the key films that helped revived the A-Western in the 1940’s prior to WWII. Stagecoach has the classic Western recipe. The main staple of that recipe in Stagecoach were authentically dressed cowboys and town folk, the dress determined who or what they were; transportation in the form of horses, wagons, or stagecoaches; an authentic location, Monument Valley for example; and varying clashes some between Indians and settlers and some between individuals and communities… This recipe had been used many times over by the time Stagecoach is filmed in 1939.
The development of the Western genre originally had its beginnings in biographies of frontiersmen and novels written about the western frontier in the late 1800’s based on myth and Manifest Destiny. When the film industry decided to turn its lenses onto the cowbo…