On May 25th Criterion is bringing out a remastered DVD and a Bluray of John Ford‘s legendary Stagecoach (1939). I’ve never thought of Bert Glennon‘s black-and-white capturing of this classic western as exceptional or stunning or anything in that realm, but maybe I’ve never really “seen” Stagecoach.

Cover of Criterion’s Stagecoach Blu-ray, due May 3rd; John Wayne as the Ringo Kid.

I know it’s an iconic film and all, but somehow it’s never quite rung my cowbell. I love that famous rapid dolly-forward shot of John Wayne as much as the next guy, but I’ve never really fallen for the thing as a whole. Among Ford’s 1930s films I’ve always ranked it below The Informer and Drums Along the Mohawk, and it’s way below The Grapes of Wrath, Young Mr. Lincoln and How Green Was My Valley.

Stagecoach‘s biggest accomplishment is that it made Wayne a star. It also won Ford a Best Director award from the New York Film Critics, and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for costar Thomas Mitchell.

I can’t for the life of me understand what Orson Welles was referring to when he called it “a perfect textbook of film making” and “claimed to have watched it more than 40 times during the making of Citizen Kane.” C’mon…