Individualism in "Stagecoach" and "The 39 Steps" Comparison Essay by PaxRomana

Individualism in "Stagecoach" and "The 39 Steps"
An analysis of the themes of individuality, pro-social violence, and affirmation of the American democratic system in two classic Hollywood films: John Ford's "Stagecoach" and Alfred Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps."
# 103331 | 1,839 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on May 04, 2008 in Film (History of) , Film (Analysis, Criticism, Etc.)

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This paper analyzes the two films, John Ford's "Stagecoach" and Alfred Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps." It shows how they both fit squarely into the category of the Classic Hollywood feature and both display many of the sensibilities of the American Western. The paper analyzes these two films and reveals the extent to which they adhere to strict Hollywood convention. It also exposes the ways in which both films diverge from expectations to claim their respective places in film history.

From the Paper:

"Aside from the callous presence of the Law and Order League, the American establishment is represented by Mrs. Mallory and Hatfield. Though Bernstein attempts to dismiss their unfavorable depiction as a critique on European classism, they are nonetheless as purely and distinctly American as anyone else on the coach. That Hatfield refuses to offer his silver cup to Dallas illustrates the ridiculous pretensions of establishment - in this case, even American democratic establishment of which both Hatfield and Mrs. Mallory are or once were a part. Bernstein claims that when the Ringo Kid kindly offers Dallas the canteen instead, this demonstrates Ringo's embodiment of "the true, native, and natural American democratic ideal." However, this kind of collective support seems a part of any political system as much as it does democracy, especially considering democracy's general insistence on individual strength and competition."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • "The Classical Hollywood Western Par Excellence." Matthew Bernstein. Film Analysis, A Norton Reader. Jeffrey Geiger, R.L. Rutsky, Ed. W.W. Norton Company: New York. 2005
  • "Classical Hollywood Cinema: Narrational Principles and Procedures." David Bordwell. Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader. Philip Rosen, Ed. Columbia University Press: New York, New York. 1986

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