Midterm Answer. Chen Xuanhong. Cine 121 - 01. . 1-Escapist

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Midterm Answer
Chen Xuanhong
CINE 121 - 01 1- Escapist entertainment and social commentary
2 to 2½ pages max. (170 Points)
While Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939) is representative of Classical Hollywood cinema providing its audience with escapist entertainment, it also develops an “acute social observation” of life during America’s westward expansion and it challenges elements of the myth constructed around this history (Bernstein 316).
a) What makes Stagecoach an example of Classical Hollywood cinema? Identify and explain the main characteristics, features, and conventions of this cinema that are present in the film.
b) What makes this film different from other Classical Hollywood westerns?
● Explain Bernstein’s main argument in
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b) “Stagecoach was the most critically acclaimed of several major studios 1939 Westerns that historians credit with raising the genre into big-budget production from the rut of B-studio, B-movie status” (Bernstein 300). Unlike the other classical Hollywood cinema, Ford chose western frontier as the open landscape for shooting. What’s more, Ford tried to cut dialogues to the minimum and focused on actions, showing how actors react to one another. Certainly, as a classical Hollywood film, Stagecoach reflects Ford’s appreciation of America’s westward expansion by showing chances for democratic life on the frontier. With the aim of specification contradictory beliefs, Ford made fully use of mise-en-scène and cinematography, such as setting and composition.
The epic, mythicized, and vast landscape of Monument Valley offers the basis for Western’s fundamental conflict. It includes grassland, desert, cactus, buffalo, horses, and the owner of this land, Indian tribes. In the visual environment, another typical group of “civilization" are brought by the invasion of towns, rails, churches, posts, etc. So, the setting itself contains conflicts of the natural environment and modern civilization. The conflict between the backward productivity and advanced productivity, the conflict between violence and law, the conflict between
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