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Visual Analysis of Memorable Dinner Table Scene

Paper is for Visual Analysis of Memorable Dinner Table Scene which is related with Stagecoach, a film.

Visual Analysis of Memorable Dinner Table Scene

Stagecoach (1939) is a classic Western film by auteur John Ford. On the difficult roads of the United States, a stagecoach moves. The people sitting in it are strangers, who have reduced the need for such a long journey. The girl of easy virtue Dallas was expelled from her native city and is now looking for a new shelter. Young pregnant Mallory rides to the front of her husband to see him before the baby's birth. Also, several men try to escape from their problems and sorrows. But such a journey is very dangerous because on the roads there are groups of Indians attacking strangers, and the bandit Ringo escaped from prison and walks around the neighborhood. “Major social issues and themes (sexual and social prejudice, intoxication, labor, greediness, disgrace, redemption, and retribution) are carefully varied together into a thrilling story” (Roberto8). The assembly of the film is formal, split fairly into eight sections, 4 actions and 4-character scenes. The short prologue regarding the cavalry and the telegraph wires. The initial portion of section 2 is “the Dry Fork way station where the coach stops for food that includes the memorable dinner table scene.”

In the second section the prologue, presenting the main characters, links to the speech in which the audience learns what occurs to each character when they reach their destination. The important section of the movie, the voyage itself, is punctuated by the way stations at Dry Fork and Apache Wells. At lunch before departing, the group is taken aback when Ringo invites Dallas to sit at the main table, and Mrs. Mallory is uncomfortable having lunch with a prostitute. Hatfield gives Mrs. Mallory a drink from his silver folding cup instead of taking it directly from a canteen. “She identifies the family crest on the cup and asks Hatfield whether he was ever in Virginia. He told that he won the flask in a card game, but also that he served in the Confederate Army under her father's command” (Jacob49).

John Wayne played the role of Ringo Kid, Claire Trevor as Dallas and  Louise Platt in the character of Lucy Mallory. The costumes play an important role in any film. Same as in Stagecoach, the costume of each person tells about his character in this film for example; Ringo represents traditional cowboy hero who is wearing a paneled, placket-front shirt with a neckerchief, and jeans with its pants legs rolled up outside of the boots. Stagecoach has the optimistic and clear-cut hero and villain of a pre-war Western.

The first female charter is of Mrs. Lucy, who is pregnant. She aligned with League of Decent ladies in town. Feels uncomfortable about a present company. She is a toffy-nosed with sharp features, and she thinks too much of herself.  Mrs. Lucy Mallory Outfitted conventionally in hat and gloves and shawl; the viewers first see Mrs. Mallory as she steps from the coach. Buck recommends her to stretch her “legs,” then fast adjusts himself and says” limbs.” The choice of words is significant for the. In the 19th century, legs were a vulgar, or common, term—thus the purpose why Buck modifies himself. She responds abruptly when he proposes she looks a little “peaked,” meaning ill. Her actions recommend dignity but also a superior attitude. Her body language is constricted, her arms tight and hands enfolded in front of her. There is another female character in this movie called Dallas. Claire Trevor played a character of Dallas; a prostitute, whose facial expression shows sorrow if not anger. Her dress is more glowingly patterned and frilly than the other ladies.

The Dry Fork way station where the coach stops for food that includes the memorable dinner table scene is one of the film's most expressionistic scenes contains the seating of the passengers at the way station's long table for a mid-day dinner meal. As food is served, Ringo casually, involuntarily and influentially supports Dallas (ignorant that she is a prostitute) into a seat before sitting down, giving her with respect. She is situated with Lucy (the lady) on her right at the head of the table and Ringo on her left. Ringo's impudent action by engaging Dallas too close to Lucy upsets the Southern woman's sense of modesty. It also reminders Hatfield's exaggerated valiant protection and chivalry to appear. Observing her discomfort and frozen posture, Hatfield rudely offers pious Lucy another seat further away: "May I find you another place, Mrs. Mallory? It's cooler by the window." (Stagecoach). Proudly, Lucy and Hatfield move and move to the far end of the table (joined by Gatewood), parting outlaw Ringo and whore Dallas equally lonely and sitting together at the other end” (Maria139). With a good-natured spirit, Ringo expresses insignificance toward the way they were dishonored. In a different talk at the other end of the table, Dallas talks with Ringo.

At the dinner table, what information about Hatfield’s past does Mrs. Mallory learn is very important, and it tells more about the character’s past life.  It is revealed that he was an officer in her father’s regiment. She is from Virginia, and so that would mean that Hatfield, as well as Mrs. Mallory’s father, were Confederate officers in the Civil War. The dinner table scene is more sensitively videoed, in that the response shots are indirect. In both scenes, however, Ford’s use of arrangement, reaction shots, and collocation of shots work together to spark audience understanding for both Ringo and Dallas.

In Stagecoach, they are portrayed as mysterious, though not above class distinctions as is evident in the scene where Mrs. Mallory snubs Dallas and acts superior to her. Dallas is a prostitute who is shown courtesy and deference only by Ringo (John Wayne), an escaped convict whose father and brother were killed by a dangerous gunman. He now seeks revenge for their deaths, for which he was wrongfully imprisoned.

Stagecoach had a formative and regenerative influence on all future westerns, raising the stature of Westerns for years to come. The Western is an American genre, which interprets and represents its history to itself. These kinds of films set approximately between 1860 – 1910, a period of American western expansion. Stagecoach is from a Classical Phase that elevates the Western to A status and solidifies conventional tropes. The movie is an allegory of American history of the period before and after World War II. It presents the formative period of the American nation, their values, and ideals (Malgorzata71). Stagecoach symbolizes the civilized society is meeting the ‘others.’ Ford elaborates on people’s behavior in stress conditions resulting from entering the unknown environment and the warpath. The Dry Fork way station where the coach stops for food that includes the memorable dinner table scene is one of the significant scenes of Stagecoach.

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