Substantial Guide to the Great Westerns
|October 7, 2011||Posted by Ariadne under Western Literature, Westernfilms||
What did Wyatt Earp tell John Ford about the real gunfight at the O.K. Corral? What problems did Joan Crawford cause on the set of Johnny Guitar? Why did Steve McQueen fake a car accident prior to filming The Magnificent Seven?
Answers to these questions can be found in Stagecoach to Tombstone, a book full of interesting details about 27 great Westerns. Howard Hughes, the author of the book, based his choice of films on the lists collected from various Western experts, ensuring the book will cover relevant films in the genre.
Before I got my hands on this book, I expected a simple guidebook – a quick and an easy read. However, it was clear at the first glance that Stagecoach to Tombstone is a result of an extensive research – the pages are tightly filled with text, with an occasional photograph on every few pages. To my great delight, the chapters turned out to be written in a way that easily grabs attention, amuses and perhaps even educates. While not quick, this turned out to be a rather easy read after all!
Hughes is very informative and writes about a lot of things, mixing plot overviews with trivia facts and a comprehensive background of the film in question. I must say, his writing would sometimes make me feel as if I transported back in time when the film was made. Also, while writing about Western films based on historical events, such as Butch Cassidy and Sundance the Kid, he makes comparisons between the facts and fiction.
Stagecoach to Tombstone is a versatile delicacy: all the Western enthusiasts who want to take a deeper look behind their favorite films will enjoy it; then again, this is also a great starting point for those who would like to learn something about Western films. Just one thing though – if you never saw (some of) these films before, beware of the plot spoilers. Another warning: this book is heavy with facts, so if you’re looking for a guide with a lot of photos and less text, you might end up disappointed.
Red River, High Noon, Shane, The Searchers, Once Upon a Time in the West, Unforgiven and The Man from Laramie – these are only few of the Westerns discussed in the book. In short, Stagecoach to Tombstone is a stagecoach taking you to the excellent ride down the valley of some of the best Western films ever made.