DVD Rating: **1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Stagecoach

The picture quality is not brilliant, but then this film is 65 years old and in black-and-white. The sound is excellent, however.

The Interview is a botched affair, in the sense that it attempts to mix the academic with the anecdotal. One would have been good and the other would have been good, also, but together they are less than the sum of their parts.

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Ex-film critic Peter Bogdanovich, director of The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon, gives the impression of a man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Hollywood. He talks like a dry historian, although it's difficult to imagine how a wet historian would have tackled the subject of John Wayne and John Ford.

In the time it takes to shake a tail feather, or play a round of horseshoe skittles, he flips through the Ford/Wayne movies, adding anecdotes here and there and providing insider knowledge - Ford was always chewing his handkerchief, for example. He calls The Duke "childlike" and then adds, quickly, "not childish," in case anyone might take offence. What he means is that the big man enjoyed his job and was never afraid to show it. He also called him "very likable." As for sexual chemistry, there was none better than the flame-haired Maureen O'Hara, with whom he co-starred in three movies, including The Quiet Man: "She was tall and she matched him every way."

Harry Carey Jr was a member of Ford's stock company of actors. Now an old man, he speaks of Wayne with a certain reverence. "When he walked into a room, the world stopped." Gary Cooper was originally cast as The Ringo Kid, but he didn't want to do it. "The Duke was eternally grateful to Jack Ford for giving him the opportunity."

Carey's contribution to The Interview is limited to personal observations of other Ford Stock Co players, but there is one astonishing clip of two men, one of whom is the young Carey, racing round what looks like a corral, each standing on the backs of two horses, a feat known as Roman riding. Before the introduction of trained stuntmen, this looks incredibly dangerous and quite thrilling. Carey is suitably modest. "I wasn't the best," he admits. "I reckon I was second best." The Interview is worth watching for this alone.

Reviewed on: 05 Dec 2004
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Stagecoach packshot
Classic western adventure.
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Region: 2

Sound: Dolby Digital

Extras: Interview with Peter Bogdanovich and Harry Carey Jr

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