Stagecoach

In the history of American film, few movies stand out as more influential than Stagecoach. The film set the design for an entirely new genre, the Western drama. But perhaps just as important, the film established the rich career of three of Hollywood's most notable practitioners: John Ford as film director, John Wayne as actor and Ned Scott as a still photographer. Shown below is the most complete collection of still photographs from the movie along with original documents of interest which help flesh out the story of the movie's production. Foremost among these is a letter from Louise Platt, supporting actress in the role of the cavalry commander's wife, as she recounts the making of the film and her feelings about the fellow cast members and Director John Ford.

The majority of the photographs saved from the movie's production by Ned Scott bear captions pasted to the back of each print.  These captions were written and applied by Walter Wanger Productions staff in 1939.  The information they contain is reflective of the social mores of the time. Tags attached to each photograph quote these captions for authenticity. 

The New York Times Persimmon Hill Preview Persimmon Hill Magazine Walter Wanger Letter Letter from Kayenta, AZ Louise Platt Interview Stagecoach Movie Booklet 2002 Louise Platt Letter Misc Documents Character Portraits Movie Scenes

 

Monument Valley fromthe movie, Stagcoach

New York Times Published

ART/ARCHITECTURE; Eyes Wide Open to the Wide Open Spaces

In 1993, Norman Scott, then a real estate investor in Louisville, Ky., was leafing through his father’s old letters, looking for vintage airmail stamps to augment his son’s collection. Ned Scott, a Hollywood-based photographer who died of liver failure in 1964 at age 57, had been something of a mystery to Norman, who had never grasped his father’s place in the world of 30’s and 40’s photography. Then Norman read one of the letters, dated 1935. It referred to Ned’s photo session with Katharine Hepburn. Then he found a cache of negatives marked "Hepburn heads." Like all of Ned’s work, the Hepburn portraits had been filed in boxes, untouched since Ned abandoned Hollywood in 1948.

"I began to realize that my father’s work was more significant than I had ever imagined," Mr. Scott said. He established the Ned Scott Archive later that year. By then he had learned that Ned had shot the special stills for Paul Strand’s "Redes" ("The Wave") in the mid-30’s, as well as those for John Ford’s 1939 western melodrama "Stagecoach," the film generally recognized as the movie that put the western on the cinematic map, starring John Wayne as Ford’s archetypal hero.



Read more posted at The New York Times
 
From the magazine "Persimmon Hill". A highlight of the 2003 exhibit at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
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Article from the Spring of 1993 in the magazine "Persimmon Hill", a publication of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. An exhibit of John Ford's 1938 "Stagecoach", was the inaugural exhibit for the museum's Western Performers' Gallery.
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Walter Wanger Letter

A letter from producer, Walter Wanger, to UA Studios, discussing the Stagecoach movie booklet. Wanger endorses Ford's effort on the production.

 

Walter Wanger Productions Incorproated

1045 North Formosa Ave,

Los Angeles, California

 

Mr. Lynn Farol

United Artists Studios

729 Seventh Avenue

New York City February 9, 1939

 

Dear Lynn,

 

I think the booklet on "STAGECOACH" is interesting and attractive. It fails, however, to indicate the full measure of credit that is due John Ford for his part in the making of the picture.

I read the story--but after Ford had purchased it and brought it to me. Again, it was Ford who worked with Dudley Nichols in creating the fine script; and John Wayne as The Ringo Kid was also Ford's idea.

While I am proud to be the producer of "STAGECOACH", will you please to everything in your power to see that the picture is known as John Ford's achievement.

 

Sincerely,

Walter Wanger

Scan of Letter:

Letter from Walter Wanger, to UA Studios

Letter from Kayenta, AZ

Letter dated December 1938, from Kayenta, Arizona, to Gwladys Scott, 479 Mesa Rd. Santa Monica, California.

Readable copy of letter:

Date: Wednesday

Location: Kayenta, Arizona

Dearest--

I am writing only because if I don't, I'll catch hell when I get home--no--!--but I've been so goddamned tired and I've been so cold & busy that I've hardly had energy to write. They're crazy--this outfit--up at 5 A.M. and back at 6 P.M. then I have to unload & load & have super & a shower & by that time I'm dead. So glad I didn't bring my own equipment. Dust galore--wind--rain--snow--and more WIND. I'm fed up & want to get back home & to you. Think there is only about another day here & then we go to Tuba City & Cimarron & then I don't know what. Everything is going according to schedule--if there is any schedule! Ford seems happy with what has been shot so far so perhaps we will be back on time--maybe sooner! I doubt it though. Don't let my return alter your plans darling--think it would be swell if you got to Babs--and if you do--you should stay at least a week--if not longer. The change wouold do you a world of good altho it sure would be tough to come home and not find you. I shouldn't say that! The phone to Flagstaff has been out ever since we arrived but someone has been coming in nearly every day--am looking forward to wire from you about your plans. Love to you, my darling--Jesus! my bed is hard and lonely--20 are in one room--CCC camp--snoring galore--Good night, my sweet--I love you--Ned.

Transcript available here

 

Letter dated December 1938, sent from Kayenta, Arizona Letter dated December 1938, sent from Kayenta, Arizona Letter dated December 1938, sent from Kayenta, Arizona Letter dated December 1938, sent from Kayenta, Arizona

Stagecoach Movie Booklet

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Stagecoach movie booklet
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum interview with actress, Louise Platt, July 7, 2002.

Interview with actress, Louise Platt Interview with actress, Louise Platt Interview with actress, Louise Platt

TEXT of Stagecoach Movie Booklet:

Titled: That amazing STAGECOACH and some interesting facts about its history and the strange people who depended upon it...

Our country is great. Our pride in what it stands for is real. Our gratitude for what it has given us is unquestioned. If we stop to take inventory of the assets which have given us our our balance-sheet of dignity, freedom and respect of the world, we would be bound to highlights a thousand events in a glorious history. To compress it all into a single screenplay would be an impossibility.

Bearing this in mind, but without ever forgetting the whole pattern, Walter Wanger produced "Stagecoach". It is a single incident in the Westward progress of a people. Yet it is a symbol of our whole development.

"Stagecoach" presents a small group of people against the background of the panoramic West. They are a likely group of people, a representative group--yes, you could call them an ordinary, everyday group of people. Yet behind each of the them lurks his or her individual story. Ahead of each of them looms a personal future of much hope, but little certainty.

They are thrown together for a trip by Stagecoach. In forty-eight hours they will separate on paths as widely diverse as those which brought them together. Yet before the journey is over, some of them will have good reason for hate; two of them will have discovered love; there will be death; there will even be the birth of one new life.

Within the narrow confines of a Stagecoach, life goes on. And another brilliant page in history is written! Just as the production of "Stagecoach" is a glimpse on one romantic chapter in the growth of America, so these pages must serve as a glimpse into the artistry that has put that chapter on the screen.

THE STORY OF STAGECOACH

On April 10, 1937, Walter Wanger was reading the current number of Collier's. On page 18, there was a story by Ernest Haycox. Mr. Wanger's eyes wandered to the opening words. "This was one of those years in the Territory when Apache smoke signals spiraled up from the stony mountain summits..."

He read on: The Stagecoach from Tonto to Lordsburg was just about ready to leave. Its passengers were gathering for the long and hazardous journey. News had just been received that the murderous Geronimo and his Apaches were out to kill again.

There was nothing unusual about the small group of passengers--that is, nothing unusual unless you knew them, and knew them well. There was, for example, a girl named Dallas. To the naked eye she looked like nothing more or less than the dance-hall girl she was. There was Buck--the Stagecoach driver--blustering but a little afraid of what Geronimo might be having in mind. There was Hatfield, the gambler; there was Lucy Mallory, going to join her husband; there was Doc Boone being "poured" into the Stagecoach by the Temperance League; there was Curly Wilcox, going about the mysterious duties of U.S. Marshal.

Mr. Wanger read on--about The Ringo Kid and about Gatewood, the banker--the first an outlaw, though guilty of no crime; the second a thief, though still within the law.

Here was the beginning of a story born out of action, adventure and history--a story that needed only the magic touch of a master craftsman to take it off the page and put it, iife-size, onto the screen.

Who was to be that craftsman? There could only be one answer--John Ford. With a record of "The Lost Patrol", "Arrowsmith", "The Informer", "Steamboat, Roufh The Bend", "Mary of Scotland" and "The Hurricane" among many others, no one but John Ford could combine the romance, the adventure, the suspense, the speed and the humanity that were contained in the story of "Stagecoach".

Dudley Nichols was to be the one enlisted to write the screenplay. And after months of preparation, "Stagecoach" emerged ready for the call of "Camera!"

As Walter Wanger visualized the characters in the story, they practically cast themselves--taking shape very much like--

Claire Trevor as Dallas

She had no first name, and had no last. Dallas was what they called her--that is, when they took the trouble to call her by name at all. A young dance hall girl who had come from nowhere and kept moving because she wasn't good enough to associate with respectable women. Hardened by the frontier, toughened by a life no civilized woman was meant for, Dallas was amazed to discover that she was loved--that she, in turn, was a woman in love.

John Wayne as The Ringo Kid

He'd been wanting to get to Lordsburg to settle an old score with three men waiting for him there--settle it in the only way known on the frontier--by means of speeding, singing lead. But he was wanted by the law, and he couldn't get to Lordsburg unless he surrendered to the U.S. Marshal. He gave himself up, went along on the Stagecoach, and met his enemies. But--on the way to Lordsburg he also met Dallas, and that made a difference...

Andy Devine as Buck

One of the best and loudest drivers in the Territory--even if he was scared of Indians who, he claimed, were always ready to pop him off. Yet he preferred the dangers of the trail to the thought of returning to his wife, his eight kids and a multitude of sponging relatives too numerous to count on his fingers--and toes. Buck wasn't very educated.

John Carradine as Hatfield

Gambler, mystic, adventurer--deft in his manners, even more deft at cards. His strange past was filled with unconfessed crimes--but his were the highest ideals on the subject of pure womanhood. Where di he come from?--Where was he going?--Questions to which no one will ever know the answer. But his score with life was settled, though death was high stakes even for an adventuring gambler.

Thomas Mitchell as Doc Boone

Too "fluid" to stay put, the drinking doctor moved on with the Stagecoach. Maybe there was better drinking ahead--and no Temperance League. Nine cups of black coffee and a dim remembrance of medical tradition sobered him up enough to bring a baby into thr world--though the surgery was cabin in the wilderness and the operating table a floor of clay.

Louise Platt as Lucy MalloryLucy Mallory

Mrs. Mallory wanted to be with her husband when their baby was born. Courageously she chanced the long trip by Stagecoach. She reached her destination too late--but in sufficient time to witness the courage and character of a woman she had only despised.

George Bancroft as Curly Wilcox

Untied States Marshal--the arm of the law extending to the frontier of a great and growing nation. Ready to kill and be killed for the laws by which men live--but ready also to forget rules and regulations for he sake of humanity.

Tim Holt as Lieutenant Blanchard

Military genius in the no-man's-land of America's wilderness. Ambassador with Portfolio--of courage, tact, daring.

Berton Churchill as Gatewood

A pillar of society--but the termites had gotten to him--the termites of greed. He kept calling this a business trip--hoping no one would detect the embezzled fortune he was carrying off in his small black bag.

Donald Meek as Peacock

A whiskey salesman--and what if he mixed his sales talks with sermons? Didn't he always want to be a preacher until his wife inherited that distillery?

And so "Stagecoach" started on its epoch making journey with a group of passengers who were to live through love and hatred, kindness and greed, ambition and despair--each of them on his or her way to a destiny unknown.

"Stagecoach" is the story of these people, and what happened to them in the short lapse of forty-eight hours.

THE STAGECOACH COUNTRY

Except for a railroad station a hundred and eighty miles away, one or two roads of the axel-cracking type, a single telephone line, and an emergency radio phone--except for these appurtenances of civilization, the country where Walter Wanger's "Stagecoach" was filmed is exactly as it was in 1885--the time of the story.

After all, sea level changes very little in fifty odd years, and the Arizona plateau that greeted the eyes of John Ford and his company was practically as high--four thousand feet--as it was a half a century ago--as it has been, in fact, for the past 160,000,000 years. The expanse of the wasteland of which Monument Valley is a part, still measured a hundred by four hundred miles. The jutting buttes which Ford saw still rose sharply to heights of from five hundred feet. The mountain air was clear, distances were misleading, the arroyos were dry, and the sagebrush was everywhere. As the director of "Stagecoach" walked onto his location site, he went back m,ore than fifty years. There wasn't a Burma -Shave sign in sight. True, the "Stagecoach" company came in a fleet of cars and trucks. But once arrived, they had to function much as the early settlers did--unload, pitch a camp, and go to work. Also true, the Indians in Monument Valley didn't start shooting arrows into the pale-face movie folks' midriff. But Ford and his men now say they would rather have had a battle than go through the ordeal of getting the Indians to sign social security cards so they could appear before the cameras.

Much has been happening in the world, but to Monument Valley and its redskin citizens, it is still 1885.

There is, for example, the matter of money. Bills may be in circulation--in fact, highly acceptable--everywhere else. But in Monument Valley they don't exist. Silver coins are a novelty, considered all right enough to buy a few things necessary for life. Sometimes a Navajo of the Valley will even make himself a belt of silver dollars--a concession to the fact that these coins, when new, are pretty flashy. But when it comes to measuring his wealth, The Monument Valley native thinks only in terms of turquoise.

For centuries, turquoise has been treasured by the Navajo--mainly because it is the color of the sky. For centuries, he has been finding it, collecting it,and handing it down to his heirs. For centuries the Indian of Monument Valley as never parted with his precious turquoise unless dire need made it necessary.It is just the same today.

This tradition in the field of wealth can be applied to every branch of life in Monument Valley. Let cities grow upward and outward; let forests be destroyed and rejuvenated; let farming be mechanized and systematized. It means nothing to the Navajo of Northern Arizona who will go on forever as he has been going on for eons.

Navajo Indians are a nomadic people. A brave and his family any build and live in three or four hogans (or huts) each year--one during the corn growing season: another during the grazing season and still another during the winter season. Most Indians have a flock of 25 to 100 sheep to provide wool for weaving; a cow (or steer) and an Indian pony (cayuse) belonging to the buck.

Like his Astecian ancestors his religion consists mostly of a deep reverence for nature and many rituals inspired by sun, moon and stars. While the days of fantastic and fanatical Medicine Men have passed, present day Navajo and Apaches have great faith in their own religious cures.

The moral code of the Indian is strict, with the Squaw having far more freedom and dictation than is the popular belief. The squaw does most of the labor--builds the hogan, does the cooking, raises the family and weaves the cloth, blankets and rugs. The buck is the warrior and trader and extremely shrewd in his business dealings.

In the days of "Stagecoach", the buck wore little except a breech cloth and moccasins. They carried with them heavy woolen blankets (draped over their ponies) which served as a cover when they slept out of doors or when it rained. Today these red men wear an old white man's coat or come discarded army uniform coat, or a vest, or a shirt worn outside trousers or overalls and shoes or moccasins. Occasionally they wear old hats; seldom even one feather. They paint their faces only for tribal ceremonies.

Letter from Louise Platt in 2002

"In 2003-2003 the Ned Scott Archive collaborated with the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum to mount an exhibit honoring the making of the movie Stagecoach in 1939. Among the many interesting features in the exhibit was an edited excerpt from a letter written by cast member Louise Platt in 2002. In her letter, Louise reminisces about the process of filming the movie. She recounts tales about John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Thomas Mitchell, John Ford, John Carradine and other key members of the production. Her letter stands alone as an artifact by itself, offering a brief glimpse into the inner workings of film production.

 

Transcript of letter dated July 8, 2002 from Louise Platt of Southold, New York to the Ned Scott Archive in Louisville, Kentucky

 

I'm so old that I can remember when a typewritten letter was just for business. My father even sent back a letter of mine because it was not handwritten--I use that as a rationale for remaining computer illiterate--it seems to me that labor-saving devices actually take too much time.

You have asked me to remember and so I shall. Some of Stagecoach seems as close as yesterday--the rest has faded into a cloud.

The reason I am the sole survivor (of the cast) is that I was the youngest--I had a twenty-fourth birthday in the last seek of shooting. I will write things from that film as they come to me.

Claire Trevor was the most beautiful-hearted person that I had met, or ever met. We remained friends all those years since tho only by mail or the telephone. I cannot bear the sadness of her dying even tho' considering age alone it was to be expected. Alas! My own is the only departure of which I am certain. All whom I love should never die--.

She read the Oz books during the five weeks we were shooting--I think she finished Quickly Duild of Oz on the last day! She said she never read them or had them read to her when she was a child;that the longing to have had that churned in her mind too often--she reasoned that the only was to use her head for better things was to get rid of the invasive regret of never having had them. She said much later when I asked, that it had done the trick--I received a last letter from her just before she died.

Tim Holt and I looked alike! Perhaps that was because our fathers have exact images of one another--in fact I flew at Jack Holt when he came on the set to visit Tim. I thought he was my own dad!

John Carradine played heavies but was a dear pussy cat. He introduced me to the discovery that Edward De Vere, V.Chancellor to Elizabeth !, was the real author of the William Shakespeare plays. I have been obsessed with this identification ever since and hope that it will by fully accepted in my lifetime which gives the theory at least a year to explode. John and I saw one another rarely in N.Y. He was as marvelous on the stage as in movies. It was his voice and that long-boned face plus compete and basic honesty.

John and I talked of nothing else in the five weeks we worked together except Shakespeare. When the whole cast was at the dinner table before some Stagecoach event or other, Donny Meek (Donald Meek) in a sudden rage jumped up onto the dining table, broke off the neck of a coke bottle and came towards poor surprised John (Carradine) in the highest dudgeon--fortunately he was restrained by others but foaming at the lip he said, "All I've heard for five weeks is Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Shakespeare. I can't stand it another minute." In about two seconds Donny was smiling and munching chicken. Donny was lightly non compos mentis but certainly a great talent--he was a scene stealer, too. One time when he was in the background of a barroom scene of someone's close-up he reached for a slice of bread and with it wearily wiped his brow as though it was an unbearably hot summer day. You have to look sharp but part of his antic is still there.

You have specifically asked about Tommy Mitchell. Although I had known him ever so slightly in New York, he did not know me then and never indicated any memory of a certain occasion ie: I was sent to Philadelphia to replace a certain actress in a play which was directed by Tommy. As instructed I went to Philadelphia and saw he play. The sage manager came to me and said "Unfortunately the director is not here. " "That's Okay", I said. "I'll find him." I went to the bar, and sure enough Tommy was there, stoned. "Mr. Mitchell," I said, "I'm Louise Platt and I have just seen your play and...". "Don't tell me," he interrupted, "don't ell me what you think of it." "I like it very much," I said, "but I think the ingenue is really good." "there's always an actor who must pay by sacrifice," he said. "Anyway," I said, "There's no point in replacing her. "She's much better than I would be." I went back to New York. The play opened. It wasn't a hit but it wasn't a flop, either. The play had problems nothing to do with the actors. Tommy was right, though--when a play is in trouble certain of the cast will always be sacrificed on the altar of the theater-God. The young ingenue had been replaced--no better--no worse.

During Stagecoach our former meeting was never acknowledged so I assumed the occasion had faded into the mist--and yet: Tommy invited me and John Barrymore to his house one afternoon--tea was served--then he stood before the fireplace and with tears in his eyes he told this story: "You probably know that at one time I was a hopeless washed-up slob--I lost the people most dear to me. My wife, the best woman in the world was very patient but finally, sadly could no longer accept me as I had become--she and my daughter left me. I wept and wept and wept."

I've invited you here because I want you two especially to know what has happened. I have not had a drink in two years. I have courted my wife and daughter. My wife accepted my marriage proposal of yesterday afternoon. We're having a wedding to which you two are the first to be invited"--so saying he raised his tea cup. We three raised ours in celebration--John Barrymore went on the wagon for eight months after that and I thought that perhaps Tommy had remembered after all--that e invited John because John was a hopeless inebriate and because I had once seen Tommy in his cups. I certainly remember that afternoon--one of the best of all moments. I can vaguely recall the wedding--J.B. was completely charming and told anyone and everyone proudly that his present sobriety was in honor of Tommy Mitchell, the groom.

An appointment was made at Walter Wanger's office to meet John Ford and Dudley Nichols. As you probably know practical jokes were legendary in those days. Specifically against actors--one was pulled out of the hat that day. Now I had known many "patsy crultiss" in my young days and had always "taken" them quietly--this one hit me at a sensitive day, I guess, for I walked out and said I wouldn't be in their damned picture if it were the last film I ever made. I went back to the hotel, packed my bag and was waiting for a car to take me to the airport. Dudley Nichols came to persuade me not to go. "It was just a joke", he said,"nobody was laughing", I said. "That wasn't meant to be taken seriously", he said. I was shaking with anger and pride too because I'd finally had the courage to face the mean-spiritors down. After a day and a half Dudley persuaded me to change my mind.

The first scene shot with the whole cast was at the dining table. I said my lines. The camera stopped rolling. John Ford walked towards me. 'Here it comes", I thought. He leaned slightly towards me and said, "I don't want a Virginia accent, I don't want any charms. This gal is cold as a rock." He went back to the camera I played cold as a rock. John Ford never said anything else to me--except always"How would you like to do this scene?" I would say, he would nod agreement, and that was that. At the first showing of the movie we were all in the coach with a team of horses slipping and sliding neighing and snorting on the stage of the Pantages (theater). Now that was a ride--fortunately of short duration. Then we saw the movie for the first time. I was a little worried all that night--something wasn't quite right. By morning I knew what was bothering me. I telephoned John Ford. "Mr. Ford", I said quivering at my own temerity, "You told me that all Lucy Mallory is thinking of is getting there." "Yes--and," he said. "Well," I ventured she doesn't, for all the audience knows, 'get' there". "What do you mean." "Well," I said, "She's unresolved, the audience might think she was shot. They won't know." Somewhat acerbic, he said, "This story is not about Lucy Mallory." 'I know that," I continued, "but if the audience saw her arrive she'd be resolved." "Oh, God!", he said, "Another actress wanting more dialogue." "No, no." I said, "No dialogue, just arrival. It would be another chance to show how warm and good-hearted Dallas is--like your marvelous close-up of her saying, 'It's a girl.' " (Which is my opinion of a great close-up with a short piece of dialogue showing how good the woman is and what a loving wife and mother she'll be without exposition.) Without a word in reply the phone clicked and I thought that was the end of it. The next day i got a call to be at the studio at 6 for a retake. We did the scene I thought should be there--wonder of wonders--what began as a promised dreary experience ended up as a rare one.

Since Stagecoachh has become a classic, each person connected with it including the actors has said they always knew it would be one of the great films. Don't you believe it. It's success was a surprise to everyone but John Ford. John Ford said things a few a which I remember. "The saying about old soldiers is really about actors. viz: (old) actors never die, hey just fade away." I said, "It says in the script--she is a Virginian with a musical accent, charming and polite or perhaps Dudley said that." The reply was, "That's Dudley's direction, not mine and I'll probably never work with him again. I think a mote is for the eye. Dudley thinks it's to the ear. His next film will no doubt be three hours long--I like a minimum of dialogue--Dudley loves verbiage."

Of Claire Trevor; "I've always been a fan.

Of John Wayne: "Hell be the biggest star ever because he is the perfect everyman."

Of me: "You are the easiest to work with. (He was a;ways a little afraid that I will tell about his mean practical joke. I never have. Here I merely told that there was one.) and "You'll go back to N. Y.--the theater will be more suitable for you than pictures--"

If when you watch Stagecoach the early dialogue seems to fly past too speedily I think that is because some of the frames were destroyed.

The former director of A.M. Her. Cent (American Heritage Center) was planning to come East and asked if we could meet. In one of my moves his letter,, address, etc. was lost and I forgot his name--I kept meaning to take the trouble to find out is name in order to answer. Time slipped by so fast. I never contacted him. He probably has the drawing I mentioned--I regret I was so remiss. I now have writer's cramp. This is the first time I have answered a request like your own. And undoubtedly the last. I admire your effort in favor of Ned Scott who did his job netter that others did theirs. In case people don't know how important these stills are the verity of the movie depends on them. I saw a movie the other day--it was a story of the 1800's the leading lady starts the movie as a brunette--her hair became lighter and lighter as the story progressed till in her last scene she was almost blonde.

Another movie a man had on a green sweater--in the middle of the scene his sweater became checkered.

Once I saw and actor in a scene with an object in his hand (important to the plot) which miraculously must have changed shape in mid air--I could go on and on recounting these things gone wrong because the stills were inaccurate. A scene may not be shot in its entirety in a single day--so matching photos are essential.

I have writers' camp.

For your sake I wish I could have been succinct.

Sincerely,

Loise Platt

July 7/02


SCANS OF ORIGINAL LETTER

 

Louise Platt Letter
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Miscellaneous Documents

Location orders sent to  Ned Scott from Wanger Studios, October 1938 Telegram sent from Bakersfield, CA to Gwladys Scott

Portraits

John Ford as "Himself"

John Ford John Ford

Unkown Apache, "Apache Belle"

Stagecaoch 1939 film: A portrait of a Native Apache belle with necklaces of bear teeth, wolf teeth, turquoise and hand pounded silver, and her bright colored blanket is typical of her grandmother who saw the stagecoaches of 1885 cross the high plateau on their East-West run.  This beautiful Southwestern American is among the many Apaches appearing in Walter Wanger's spectacular drama

George Bancroft as Marshall "Curly Wilcox"

George Bancroft as Marshall Stagecaoch 1939 film: A portrait of George Bancroft as U.S. Marshall "Curly" Wilcox in John Ford's epic Western drama "Stagecoach".  Walter Wanger Productions staff applied this caption to the back of this print in Ned Scott's personal collection: George Bancroft in the role of "Curly", U.S. Marshall, in Walter Wanger's production, "Stagecoach".  Bancroft again plays the type of character that has made him famous--a rugged, two-fisted he-man.  This production marks his 14th anniversary since climbing to stardom." George Bancroft as Marshall George Bancroft as Marshall

Chief John Big Tree, Chief of the Iroquois Nation, as an Indian scout attached to the US Cavalry

Stagecoach movie:  1939 Caption attached to the back of this print reads: Chief John Big Tree, Chief of the Iroquois Nation, plays the role of Indian scout attached to the U.S. Cavalry in Walter Wanger's new dramatic production "Stagecoach".

John Carradine as "Hatfield"

John Carradine as Stagecoach movie: A portrait of John Carradine as Hatfield in John Ford's epic Western drama "Stagecoach".  Walter Wanger Productions staff applied this caption to the back of this print in 1939: John Carradine, portrayer of unusual roles, who has the part of "Hatfield" a seflish, suave gambler, in Walter Wanger's pioneer drama "Stagecoach".  During the perilous journey of the stagecoach, Hatfield reverts to an earlier Virginia gentility to aid a woman to whom he doesn't dare reveal his identity".  This woman is the pregnant cavalry officer's wife, Lucy Mallory, played by Louise Platt. John Carradine as

Berton Churchill as "Henry Gatewood", the embezzling banker

Stagecoach movie: A portrait of Berton Churchill from Director John Ford's "Stagecoach".  Walter Wanger Productions staff added this caption to the back of this print: Berton Churchill, in the role of the absconding banker in Walter Wanger's poineer production "Stagecoach".  Chruchill, as the blustering, threatening criminal trying to cover suspicion of his theft, draws upon his long career on the stage in the 1890's to lend historical authenticity to his frontier role."    Berton Churchill as Berton Churchill as Berton Churchill as

Andy Devine as "Buck", the skinner or coach driver

Andy Devine as Buck Andy Devine as Buck Andy Devine as Buck Andy Devine as Buck Andy Devine

Francis Ford as "Billy Pickett"

Francis Ford as Francis Ford as Stagecaoch 1939 film: A portrait of Francis Ford for Director John Ford's epic Western drama "Stagecoach". Walter Wanger Production Staff added this descriptive caption to the back of this print: "Francis Ford plays the role of Willy Pickett, frontier relay station agent who kept his spirits constantly keyed up with hard liquor.  One of the many interesting frontier characters in Walter Wanger's "Stagecoach".

Tim Holt as US Army Cavalry commander, "Lt. Blanchard"

Tim Holt as US Army Cavalry commander, The 1939 studio caption for this prnt reads:  Reviving the dramatic valor of the Army's most colorful branch, the rapidly disappearing cavalry, Tim Holt leads a troop in 'Stagecoach'. The unit comes to the aid of an Apache beleagured coach in Walter Wanger's dramatic story of 1885.  Holt is admriably suited to his role as Lt. Blanchard, having commanded Culver Military Academy's black horse troop during prep-school days."

Donald Meek as "Samuel Peacock"

Donald Meek as Samuel Peacock Stagecoach movie: The 1939 studio caption attached to the print reads: "Donald Meek, screendom's 'little grey mouse', who has an amusing role in Walter Wanger's production, 'Stagecoach'.  Meek plays the part of a subdued little man who wanted to become a clergyman, but who was forced to become a whiskey drummer when his wife inherited a distillery.  Next to Indians, he hates whiskey worse until given some after being shot with an arrow."   Donald Meek as Samuel Peacock Donald Meek as Samuel Peacock Donald Meek as Samuel Peacock

Thomas Mitchell as "Doc Boone", the inebriated doctor. Mitchell received an Oscar for his role.

The 1939 studio caption for this print reads: "A character study of Thomas Mitchell in the role of drunken Doc Boone in Walter Wanger's historical drama, "Stagecoach".  Mitchell, with splendid dramatic record behind him, is exceeding past performances by injecting a loveable-trait into the character of the wayward doctor, who despite his inability to stay sober, rises to an emergency and brings a lusty baby into the wrorld during the perilous dash of the stagecoach.  Mitchell was awarded an Oscar for his role. Thomas Mitchell as 'Doc Boone' Thomas Mitchell as Thomas Mitchell as 'Doc Boone' Thomas Mitchell as

Louise Platt as "Lucy Mallory", an army officer's wife

Louise Platt as Lucy Mallory Stagecaoch movie: Louise Platt plays the role of the pregnant cavalry officer's wife in Director John Ford's "Stagecoach".  Miss Platt's characterization is that of a stern little Southern girl who is determined to join her husband despite approaching motherhood and the rigors of the stagecoach journey. Louise Platt as Lucy Mallory Louise Platt as Lucy Mallory Louise Platt as Lucy Mallory
Louise Platt as Lucy Mallory Louise Platt as Lucy Mallory Louise Platt poses for a promotional shot for her role as Lucy Mallory, the army officer's pregnant wife in the movie 'Stagecoach', 1939

Mexican singer, Elvira Rios

Stagecoach movie: A portrait of Elvira Rios who played the role of a station keeper's wife in "Stagecoach".  Walter Wanger Productions staff added this caption to the back of this print: Elvira Rios, Mexico's highest paid singer.  Miss Rios sings in Spanish in Walter Wanger's frontier production, "Stagecoach". Possessing an unusual vioce of rich quality, Miss Rios has won fame for her interpretive singing into which is woven the folk lore, hopes, and tragedies of the Mexican Indian.  In "Stagecoach", she plays the wife of one of the relay station keepers.  Miss Rios sings in Walter Wanger's frontier production, "Stagecaoch".

Claire Trevor as "Dallas", the outcast girl

Claire Trevor Claire Trevor as Claire Trevor as Dallas Claire Trevor as Claire Trevor as Dallas Claire Trevor as Dallas
Clair Trevor Clair Trevor Claire Trevor in a private sitting for Stagecoach 1938 Claire Trevor playing the role of Dallas, the outcast girl, for the film Stagecoach Claire Trevor playing the role of Dallas, the outcast girl, for the film Stagecoach Claire Trevor in a private sitting for Stagecoach 1938
Claire TrevorClaire Trevor as Dallas

John Wayne as "Ringo Kid"

John Wayne as John Wayne as John Wayne as John Wayne as Stagecoach movie: A portrait of John Wayne as the Ringo Kid.  Walter Wanger Productions staff added this caption to the back of the print: "John Wayne, stalwart star of a hundred rugged adventures creates a new screen career for himself playing the male lead in Walter Wanger's "Stagecoach", a spectacular drama of the American frontier in the late '80s, when Indian warfare added to the growing pains of rapidly progressing Southwest territories."  Director John Ford later said of Wayne that he will be the biggest star ever because he is the "everyman". John Wayne as

John Wayne as John Wayne as John Wayne Photos John Wayne Photos John Wayne Photos

John Wayne as "Ringo Kid" & Claire Trevor as "Dallas", the outcast girl

John Wayne and Clair Trevor John Wayne and Clair Trevor John Wayne and Clair Trevor

Movie Scenes

Stagecoach movie scenes

Scene from Stagecoach Stagecoach movie:  The 1939 caption attached to the back of this photograph reads: "Remember, Mr. Gatewood, (Berton Churchill) that you are covering up your theft of $50,000 --so sputter and beller about everything that annoys you", says John Ford in rehearsing this scene for "Stagecoach".  Curly (George Bancroft) looks on.  Buck (Andy Devine) is on the driver's seat and within the coach are Dallas (Claire Trevor), Mrs. Mallory (Louise Platt) and Mr. Peacock (Donald Meek).  This frontier drama scene took place at the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, California. Scene from Stagecoach Navajo Indians, recruited to play the role of maurauding Apache Indians, ride to attack the coach in Walter Wanger's "Stagecoach".  This scene was filmed at Lucerne Dry Lake near Victorville, California.  The cayuse horses ridden in this scene belonged to the Navajos Scene from Stagecoach

Scene from Stagecoach Movie Stagecoach: 1939 caption attached to the back of this print reads: "Thomas Mitchell, who plays the drunken Doctor Boone, in Walter Wanger's "Stagecoach", looks down the gullet of his drinking buddy Billy Pickett, played by Francis Ford." Scene from Stagecoach Scene from Stagecoach

Movie Stagecoach: The caption pasted to the back of this 1939 print reads: "With pity, Hatfield (John Carradine), the cold blooded gambler in "Stagecoach", places a cloak over the doughter of the relay station keeper who has been murdered by Apaches.  The ocoach, with its nine passengers has just arrived only to find the staion burned and everyone dead.  The delay enables the Indians to prepare for an attack on the stage in Walter Wanger's presentation of pioneer days.  Stagecoach 1939 film: Cavalrymen rushing to the rescue of the passengers in the coach during filming of Walter Wanger's "Stagecoach".  Filming for this scene took place in Lucerne Dry Lake near Apple Valley, California. Impersonating Geronimo and his warriors, a group of local Navajo tribesman, recruited by Walter Wanger Productions for the film, gather on a bluff preparing to attach the pasengers traveling in the stagecaoch below.

Stagecoach 1939 film: This caption was pasted to the back of this print in 1939: Dallas' (Claire Trevor) bitterness slowly gives ground to the tender warmth of Mrs. Mallory's baby, born at a relay station in "Stagecoach". Mr. Peacock (Donald Meek) sheds his timidity long enough to coo at the day-old infant, tenderly held by the outcast girl."  Stagecoach movie: "Tsk, tsk, tsk", Buck (Andy Devine), the stage driver, says to himself as Dallas (Claire Trevor) hurls a parting insult at he women who are forcing her out of town.  "Stagecoach", under production by Walter Wanger and directed by John Ford, depicts the part these pioneer conveyances played in the lives of the people who rode them.  Through sun and sleet, over prairie and desert and stagecaoch carried its human cargo and as it jounced and swayed over meager trails, it brought great changes in the lives of those who rode in them.  To Dallas, the bitter outcast girl, it brought love and a new life.  Stagecoach movie: The caption pasted to the back of this 1939 print reads: "Exclusive for Fan Magazines.  Claire Trevor and John Wayne, co-stars of Walter Wanger's "Stagecoach", wishing each other a "happy landing" before Andy Devine drove the coach's six-horse team ontstage at a recent beneift in which the entire "Stagecoach" cast participated." Stagecoach 1939 film: The caption pasted to the back of this print reads: "The meek shall inherit the earth", observes "Cactus", the burro.  "Well and good", says Donald Meek, but if the meek have to carry loads like that I don't want the earth". Mr. Meek plays the role of Mr. Peacock, an unwilling whiskey salesman in Walter wanger's "Stagecoach".

Stagecoach movie: At the charity premier of "Stagecoach" in Hollywood, the coach, horses, and all nine actors in costume arived on the front stage to build the drama of the opening.  Here John Wayne is admonished by Donald Meek to keep his foot on the brake while Andy Devine is driving the coach onstage. Movie Stagecoach: Dallas (Claire Trevor) expresses disgust as she is driven from Tonto, Arizona in this scene from Walter Wanger's "Stagecoach". Her anger is shared by Doc Boone (Thomas Mitchell) a drunken physician who has just been evicted from his boarding house for excess drinkling and too little bill paying.  The sheriff and the local "purity league" bring up the rear. Movie Stagecoach: The caption attached to this print reads:  Mrs. Mallory, played by Louise Platt, learns that her Army-officer husband has been wounded in an Indian fight.  Miss Platt is in the foreground with John Carradine, George Bancroft and Andy Devine are on the driver's seat of the coach; Donald Meek and Claire Trevor are in the coach, and John Wayne is at the right. Stagecoach 1939 film: The 1939 caption for this print reads: "Five of the stage passengers in Walter Wanger's "Stagecoach", having dinner at one of the relay stations.  From left to right the players are: Claire Trevor as Dallas, an outcast woman; John Wayne as the Ringo Kid, an escaped prisoner; Marga Ann Deighton, as the wife of Billy Pickett, the station keeper; Louise Platt, as the wife of a Cavalry officer; John Carradine, as Hatfield, a gambler; and Berton Churchill, as absconding banker.

Scene from Stagecoach Stagecoach movie: The 1939 caption attached to this print reads:  Buck, (Andy Devine), the stage driver, is pleased with the swift trotting of his six-horse team because he thinks the coach is headed for the protection of a troop of cavalry.  Curly (George Bancroft), the U.S. Marshall with shotgun at the ready, doesn't share Buck's anticipation as he anxiously scans the horizon for attacking Apaches in Walter Wanger's "Stagecoach".   Scene from Stagecoach Scene from Stagecoach

Scene from Stagecoach Scene from Stagecoach Scene from Stagecoach Scene from Stagecoach

Scene from Stagecoach Scene from Stagecoach Scene from Stagecoach Scene from Stagecoach

Scene from Stagecoach Yak Canutt, the ultimate stuntman, takes a spill with his horse during a chase scene in the film Stagecoach Louise Platt in costume on the set of Stagecoach takes a moment to type a letter between scenes Stagecoach 1939 film: George Bancroft as U.S. Marshall Curly Wicox confronts John Wayne who plays the escaped prisoner, Ringo Kid, on the road in Walter Wanger's "Stagecoach".

A worried stage way-station keeper discusses recent rampages by hostile Indians with the stage guests in Stagecoach 1938 Stagecaoch 1939 film: Claire Trevor, as outcast girl Dallas, gets a sneer from the cavalry officer's wife, Lucy Mallory, played by Louise Platt and the Southern gentleman and arrogant gambler, Hatfield, played by John Carradine.

Stagecoach Cast

Stagecaost movie cast members in costume with Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine, John Carradine, Louise Platt, Thomas Mitchell, Berton Churchill, Donald Meek and George Bancroft. Cast from