The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

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  • Not a bad movie, although it should have been filmed in colour and on location. Some of the acting was over the top, especially from Andy Devine and John Carradine. Only Duke coulod have played Tom Doniphan, I just wish they had used a younger actor than Stewart to play the young lawyer.


  • On my slow road of discovery through the films of Mr. Wayne, I have just for the first time crossed paths with this strangely moving piece of filmmaking. This is the sixth John Wayne film I have watched in the past month, which began after I realized that I have foolishly been shunning his body of work for no good reason at all. Each film I have viewed has been a revelation, delivering the goods on both an entertainment and emotional level.

    I just received Paramount's Century Collection boxed set, and I have begun digging in. I watched the Shootist first, which I greatly enjoyed, even though it was a bittersweet farewell to the Duke and left me a little sad at the end. I followed up with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and was absolutely blown away by it, and it has been lingering in my mind for the past few nights. It really left its mark on me. A real heartbreaking story. So many great stars and memorable faces in this picture. So many talented individuals the likes of which we'll never see again.

    Of the 6 Wayne films I have seen thus far, Liberty Valance, like the man himself, pushes and shoves its way to near the top of my list of favorites, right up there with The Searchers and The Cowboys. I have liked everything I have seen thus far, and I plan on continuing with my next film tomorrow night, although I haven't decided which one to view yet (thinking about Island in the Sky...).

    A near perfect 10 in my book.

  • i liked this movie but i still wish Duke would have got the girl. i mean i know it wouldnt have been as good but i would have liked it. i am a BIG Jimmy Stewart fan so that being said it was kinda cool to see him get the girl over Duke!

  • this story was heartbreaking - john wayne was mean, moody and magnificent and i can t believe she chose james stewart over him
    i liked the way the story was told retrospectively and the fact that it was in black and white made it all seem more tragic somehow
    lee marvin was brilliant as liberty valance but it made me feel so sad when jw admitted he shot liberty valance to please hallie
    all in all, i m not sure..... i kind of like my john wayne films to have happy endings and this one didnt
    loved the line though: -
    Maxwell Scott: No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

    "Sorry don t get it done, Dude" (Rio Bravo)

    Hooked on The Duke

  • It's been mentioned before in this thread,
    about the Gene Pitney song, that never made the film.

    Here it is:-

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    Best Wishes
    London- England


    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Two Discs) (Four Stars)
    U. S.; John Ford, 1962 (Paramount)

    John Ford’s last great Western is a visually spare masterpiece about the new and old frontiers, a classic mostly unappreciated in its day. And it boasts the "Casablanca” of movie Western ensemble casts, a remarkable gallery topped by friendly movie legends James Stewart and John Wayne.

    Stewart is Ranse Stoddard, an idealistic eastern attorney at law, who listens to Horace Greeley, and “goes west” to the wide-open town of Shinbone, where he discovers danger and destiny -- and then returns years later for the funeral of an old friend. Wayne plays that departed friend: Tom Doniphon, a boisterous but fair-minded horse rancher, ace fast-draw gunman and Ranse’s sometimes unwilling guardian angel. Also in Shinbone: Vera Miles as Hallie, “prettier than a cactus rose,” caught between Ranse and Tom, a strong woman who learns how to read and sees the wilderness grow into a garden. Lee Marvin is Liberty Valance, the cattlemen’s demonic enforcer, gunslinger and murderer. Edmond O‘Brien is the drunken but eloquent newspaper editor, Dutton Peabody. They’re all fantastic, at or near their very best.

    The lusty supporting ensemble, including the remnants of Ford’s classic repertory company, has Andy Devine as the cowardly, free-loading Marshall Linc Appleyard, Strother Martin and Lee Van Cleef as Liberty‘s violent “myrmidons,” John Carradine as the cattlemen’s mouthpiece, Denver Pyle, Anna Lee, Ken Murray, O. Z. Whitehead -- and Carleton Young as the pushy new editor with a narrator’s voice of doom, who demands an explanation for Ranse’s presence at Tom’s funeral, and becomes privy to a shocking, poignant confession.

    Liberty Valance is practically a Western noir, shot in sometimes noirish black and white, with few landscape scenes and mostly interiors. And it’s framed as a crime-story murder mystery that finally reveals the deceptive underpinnings of our social fabric and national mythos. That’s “reveals,” remember. Ford’s stubborn detractors often scoff at the matchless Western-maker for the scene here where Young tears up his story, explaining “This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend“ -- completely forgetting that Ford has just “printed the fact” to all of us, exposing the conventional history of Ranse and Valance as a lie and the editor as a cover-up artist.

    Although much of Liberty Valance, is a boisterous, rollicking Wild West tale, done in a rambunctious, unbuttoned, and often highly theatrical performance style, it turns into one of the saddest Westerns ever made, as elegiac as Ford‘s How Green Was My Valley. I cried the first time I saw it, right at the moment when Willis Bouchey‘s effusive train conductor proclaims “Nothing‘s too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance!” and passenger Jimmy Stewart, giving a last dark look at his lost past, shakes out the flaming match in his hand. I still do.

    Extras: Commentary by Peter Bogdanovich, including audio interviews with Wayne and Stewart; documentary; trailer; picture galleries.

  • I like all movies and have seen quite a few in my time and can't help but notice that some pay homage to earlier films.
    Case in point (that's my Rod Serling impersonation) is Back to the Future Part III. Marty is zapped back to the old west and his nemesis Biff is now Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen. Thomas Wilson plays him exactly like Lee Marvin in Liberty Valance, complete with a quirt. I recall being highly amused seeing it with my kids at the time - enough so that they had to watch Liberty at a tender age when we got home.
    Harry Carey, Jr., Dub Taylor and Pat Buttram didn't hurt either.

    We deal in lead, friend.