Skip to content

Stagecoach (1986)

There’s no point starting here with a big negative by pointing out this is a variation/remake of the 1939 John Ford/John Wayne classic. Let’s be positive and say it’s an enjoyable telefilm that featured four iconic singers who had found a renewed interest in their music after teaming up together to form the outlaw country group, The Highwaymen. I refer to “The Hoss” Waylon Jennings, “The Man in Black” Johnny Cash, “The Red Headed Stranger” Willie Nelson, and “The Silver Tongued Devil” Kris Kristofferson.

If you know the sound of a Willie Nelson guitar lick then you’ll know who it is playing on the soundtrack just as the film opens up with a stagecoach on a tear through Apache territory. You’ll also be quick to notice the stage driver under a heavy unkept beard is one of the Dukes of Hazzard and part time country singer himself, John Schneider.

The coach makes it safely to the next town where Johnny Cash is the sheriff. Schneider is gearing up for the next leg of the journey and needs a shotgun rider to tag along. Cash signs up to take the job while passengers holding tickets consist of Anthony Newley’s whiskey salesman, Elizabeth Ashley as the fallen Dallas, Mary Crosby as a pregnant woman going west to join her husband and Waylon Jennings as a gambler who owes Mrs. Crosby’s husband a debt of gratitude and will see that she safely makes it to the end of her journey. Also joining the group is none other than western legend Doc Holiday as played by the ever charming Willie Nelson himself.

Just as the stage pulls out, banker Anthony Franciosa, catches a ride with a bag full of money in hand after embezzling the banks funds and fleeing from his gold digging mistress played by a beautiful woman any self respecting Waylon Jennings fan should recognize, Jessi Colter. Aka Mrs. Waylon Jennings. Word is out that the Ringo Kid is on the loose after breaking out of prison which has Cash on the lookout for Kris Kristofferson taking up the Duke’s character. On foot in Apache territory with Geronimo on the warpath leads Kris to flag down the Stage and place himself under arrest to Cash. For the time being anyway.

It’s a good thing there’s a Doctor on board the coach even if he is only a gunfighting dentist. One of the more amusing scenes in the film features Willie as the baby delivering Doc Holiday who has to be told by the patient to put out his cigar. Still to come is a showdown with marauding Indians and a gunfight that will see Kris meet his enemies with Johnny’s blessing and Waylon and Willie backing him up. As it’s all done for television, this isn’t what we’d call a violent western as the genre had become in the 1970’s. It’s rather tame and with the leading foursome it’s really just a bunch of pals getting together to film a movie in between concerts. So don’t be surprised if June Carter Cash turns up briefly as well at a station line stop where the coach can switch horses. A keen observer might also notice country music renegade, David Allan Coe, as one of the outlaws in the final stanza.

My favorite line in the movie comes from Waylon’s gambler as he walks out of a card game with most of the cash, “I’m a gambler. I play for money and I don’t give it back.” One look from an hombre who looks like Ol’ Waylon is enough to convince any hot tempered cowboy to back down.

Anthony Franciosa would still act for a number of years in film and television but his glory years and leading man era had really passed by the end of the sixties though he did have a leading role in the effective Dario Argento thriller Tenebre in 1982. Stagecoach was directed by Ted Post who had numerous TV credits to his name as well as big screen fare like Hang’Em High, Beneath the Planet of the Apes and the superior Go Tell the Spartans.

For more on the Highwayman and their film careers as well as yours truly attempting to cover a Waylon and Willie classic, just click here to catch a live take I recorded a couple years back.

1 Comment »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

%d bloggers like this: