Vic Armstrong on Stagecoach’s Yakima Canutt

May 27, 2010

Newly restored for Criterion Blu-ray and DVD special editions, Stagecoach, the film that brought cachet to the western genre, remains a genuinely thrilling experience, thanks largely to its incredible, much-imitated stunts. In one of the release’s supplements, stunt coordinator extraordinaire Vic Armstrong (Raiders of the Lost Ark) introduces us to Yakima Canutt, the man who choreographed those amazing (and risky) action scenes, which include the famous leap by Wayne’s character, the Ringo Kid, from one pair of horses to the next and a nasty tumble taken by an unfortunate villain under wagon wheels. Armstrong says Canutt is not only a great stuntman but also “a great dissector of stunts.” Check out this short excerpt from Armstrong’s discussion of this master of movie illusion, which also includes clips of some of Stagecoach’s iconic moments.

Vic Armstrong on <i>Stagecoach</i>’s Yakima Canutt