Stagecoach

  • Directors: John Ford
  • Producers: Walter Wanger
  • Writers: Ernest Haycox, Dudley Nichols, Ben Hecht
  • Genres: Action, Western, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Andy Devine, George Bancroft

In Arizona Territory in 1880, a motley group of strangers boards the east-bound stagecoach to Lordsburg, New Mexico Territory. Among them is Dallas (Claire Trevor), a prostitute who is being driven out of town by the members of the “Law and Order League”; an alcoholic doctor, Doc Boone (Thomas Mitchell); Lucy Mallory (Louise Platt), who is traveling to see her cavalry officer husband; and whiskey salesman Samuel Peacock (Donald Meek).

When the stage driver, Buck (Andy Devine), looks for his normal shotgun guard, he is told by Marshal Curly Wilcox (George Bancroft) that he has gone out to look for a fugitive, the Ringo Kid (John Wayne). Buck tells Marshal Wilcox that Luke Plummer (Tom Tyler) is in Lordsburg. Knowing that the Kid has vowed to avenge the deaths of his father and brother at Plummer’s hands, the marshal decides to ride along.

As they start to pull out, U.S. cavalry Lieutenant Blanchard (Tim Holt) informs them that Geronimo and his Apaches are on the warpath, and that they will have no escort until they get to Dry Fork. Gambler and Southern gentleman Hatfield (John Carradine) joins them to provide protection for Mrs. Mallory. At the edge of town, the stage is flagged down by pompous banker Henry Gatewood, (Berton Churchill), who is sneaking away with $50,000 embezzled from his bank.

When the passengers finally arrive in Lordsburg, Gatewood is arrested by the local sheriff, and Lucy is told that her husband’s wound is not serious. Dallas begs Ringo not to go up against the Plummers, but he is determined to settle matters. In the ensuing shootout, the Kid dispatches Luke and his two brothers. He returns to Wilcox, expecting to go back to jail. He asks the lawman to take Dallas to his ranch. However, when Ringo gets on a wagon to say goodbye to her, Curly and Doc laugh and start the horses moving, letting him “escape”.

Bigfoot

  • Directors: Robert F Slatzer
  • Producers: Anthony Cardoza
  • Writers: Robert F Slatzer
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: John Carradine, John Mitchum, Christopher Mitchum

The basic plot involves people (including a young woman who bailed out of a troubled airplane and a motorcyclist’s girlfriend) who are captured by the legendary ape-like creatures in the mountainous Northwest and the scheme of a party of Hawkes-led huntsmen (bumbling at first, but in terms of rescuing the captured women, [not safely trapping, as the business-minded Hawkes was hoping to do all along, Bigfoot (actor James Stellar, the gigantic ‘King of the Woods’, in a monkey suit) alive for public exhibition profitability] victorious {with the help of others} in the end) and hip young college people riding cheap imported motorcycles to rescue the captured young women. In the middle of the film, the skeptical sheriff’s department and the ranger’s station are notified of the women’s disappearance, but to no avail on the part of the authorities with respect to actually searching for the missing women. The unlikely heroes in the very end are a hardy, gun-toting old mountain man who had previously lost one of his arms during a historical encounter (this encounter is not dramatized in this film as a flashback) with the gigantic, erect animal and one of the idiotic dynamite-armed bike riders. The old man hero’s wife, an Indian squaw, prophesizes “bad medicine” (for Bigfoot, that is) just before the final man-vs.-Bigfoot showdown. Note: some or all of the outdoor scenes may have been shot near Red Bluff in Northern California because the lady piloting the junky-looking airplane calls “Red Bluff Radio” during the distress transmission. Tehama County, CA is mountainous wilderness where some Sasquatch sightings have been known to have occurred.

The Grapes of Wrath

  • Directors: John Ford
  • Producers: Darryl F Zanuck, Associate Producer, Nunnally Johnson
  • Writers: Screenplay, Nunnally Johnson, Story, John Steinbeck
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Shirley Mills, John Qualen, Eddie Quillan

The film opens with Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) being released from prison and hitchhiking his way back to his family farm in Oklahoma only to find it deserted. Tom finds an itinerant ex-preacher named Jim Casy (John Carradine) sitting under a tree by the side of the road. Tom remembers that Casy was the preacher who baptized him, but now Casy has “lost the call” and his faith. Casy leads him to find his family at Tom’s uncle John’s place. His family is happy to see Tom and explain they have made plans to head for California in search of employment as their farm has been foreclosed by the bank. The large Joad family of twelve leaves at daybreak, packing everything into an old and dilapidated modified truck in order to make the long journey to the promised land of California.

The trip along Highway 66 is arduous and it soon takes a toll on the Joad family. Weak and elderly Grampa is the first to die on their journey. After he dies, they pull over to the shoulder of the road, unload him, and bury him. Tom writes the circumstances surrounding the death on a page from the Family Bible and places it on the body so that if his remains were ever found his death would not be investigated as a possible homicide. They park in a camp and they meet a man, a returning migrant from California, who laughs at Pa’s optimism about conditions in California and who speaks bitterly about his awful experiences in the West. He hints at what the Joads will soon find out for themselves. The family arrives at the first transient migrant campground for workers and find the camp is crowded with other starving, jobless and desperate travelers. Their truck slowly makes its way through the dirt road between the shanty houses and around the camp’s hungry-faced inhabitants. Tom says, “Sure don’t look none too prosperous.”

I ain’t never gonna be scared no more. I was though. For a while it looked like we was beat. Good and beat. Looked like we didn’t have nobody in the whole wide world but enemies. Like nobody was friendly no more. Made me feel kinda bad and scared too, like we was lost and nobody cared…. Rich fellas come up and they die, and their kids ain’t no good and they die out, but we keep on coming. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out, they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever Pa, cos we’re the people.