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Author Topic: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)  (Read 30748 times)
DJIMBO
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« on: May 08, 2004, 01:00:16 PM »

saw this film on channel 5 (uk) today and im very impressed. i thought id seen it b4 but i hadnt.

Great forerunner of leone - the end of the old West (from OUATITW) and Ford actually questions the myth of the Western hero that he helped create. Theres only two Ford films that i like - this and the Searchers - theyre a bit more gritty and less sentimental. i think leone realised that and built on ford's final films - which are, it must be said, much better than his earlier ones like My Darling Clementine (which is just nauseating).

Also interesting 2 see Lee van Cleef as Liberty Valance's henchman Reese and Woody Strode as Doniphon's sidekick Pompey.

"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

What a great maxim

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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2004, 05:09:33 AM »

  I also remember Strother Martin lurking in there somewhere (wasn't he Vallance's other henchman).  

As I've said, I love this movie a great deal.  Not much more to say.  I like most of Ford's films, but this one's just above the rest.

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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2004, 05:40:12 AM »

i just love that flashback and when Doniphon tells Stoddard the truth.

And that final poignant line: "Anything for the man who shot liberty valance."

Just look at Jimmy Stewarts face

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Christopher
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2004, 09:56:17 AM »

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a great movie. I'd put it just behind The Searchers as Wayne's best.

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Beebs
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2006, 05:20:09 PM »

Just bought this movie and finally sat and watched it begining to end. It now stands as one of my favorites. Now I know Groggs will like this because I'm aware it's one of his favorites. What a movie. Emotionally stirring I think is what they call it. The evil of Marvin and his mates, the pity you feel for John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart's flaming sword of truth, and the pretty Vera Miles are all fabulous. Woody Strode has a well loved role as Pompey, and I love Andy Devine's voice. I grew up with him as Friar Tuck's voice in Disney's Robin Hood.

The story is great as well. Hats off to John Ford, who I am admiring more and more.

But one question I raise: John Wayne's character has a sad ending, though I can't see him doing anything to deserve it. He saves Ransom "Pilgrim" Stoddard twice at least, tells the truth, straight as it may be (I don't like things sugar coated anyway), but still loses the girl gets no credit for killing Valance and dies in the end. So why is his character so abused?

Another thing I love is the names: Ransom Stoddard, Tom Doniphon, Pompey, Link Appleyard, Liberty Valance, Dutton Peabody, Cassius Starbuckle. All very interesting names.


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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2006, 08:48:47 PM »

One of my favorites also.  Lee Marvin's portrayal of Valence puts him right up there as one of cinema's best meanies.  He almost recreates that character again in The Comancheros ( I think his role is far too short). Or did he do that movie first?
No, Tom Donathan didn't do anything wrong.  Maybe thats why characters like that are sad and they can get yuour emotions going.  They don't deserve it.  Maybe its like life, you don't always get the happy ending.
Like Eastwood said in Unforgiven, "deserves got nothin to do with it."
Lots of time I'll leave a movie and just think, that was nice, or interesting.  But if a movie gets me all worked up on some kind of emotional level, then I figure it was a good one.  Liberty Valence is one of those.

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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2006, 04:35:57 PM »

Yeah, I love the movie as you well know.  It's very cheaply made, so technically it isn't great, but it has a great story, an excellent screenplay, and most importantly, one of the best film casts ever assembled IMO.  Now I know a lot of guys find Edmond O'Brien and John Carradine's hamming it up annoying, but I'm not one of them.  John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart are at the top of their game, Woody Strode is as cool as ever (he really should've been a much bigger star than he was), there are amusing vaudeville-esque supporting characters like O'Brien, Carradine, Andy Devine, John Quinland, Denver Pile, and Ken Murray, plus Lee Marvin, Strother Martin, and Lee Van Cleef as some of the nastiest bad guys in any film ever.  All that's missing are Maureen O'Hara and Victor McLaglen.  Grin

The story of the movie appeals to me, it's both cynical and optimistic at the same time.  Similar to some of Peckinpah's films, even while criticizing US society/history there's still a ray of hope/positivity that shines through.

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Beebs
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2006, 05:50:23 PM »

I actually think Edmond O'Brien was great in the movie. An eccentic newspaper man with a wonderful vocabulary and gift at the English language. Some of his acting that would be considered "cheesy" I think is only part of the character.

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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2006, 05:42:45 AM »

I've allways thought that Lee Marvin didn't have enough screen time, I think if more emphasis was put on that part of the story it would have been better.

I've felt the same about Palance in Shane.

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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2006, 06:10:54 AM »

I actually think Edmond O'Brien was great in the movie. An eccentic newspaper man with a wonderful vocabulary and gift at the English language. Some of his acting that would be considered "cheesy" I think is only part of the character.

I agree, I'm not a big fan of O'Brien (didn't really care for him in "The Wild Bunch") but he was very good here.  Peabody was a very well-learned man who believed in what he was doing, he only really tended to be overly-eloquent when he was drunk.  I love when he was giving the "Henry V" speech just before being pummelled by Liberty's goons.  Grin

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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2006, 11:09:25 AM »

  TMWSLB also has another great flashback, a la OUATITW even if it was made a few years earlier, when Doniphon explains what really happened that night when Stoddard shot Liberty Valance. 

  My only problem, well major problem, with the movie is the sets.  With a few exceptions, the movie is shot on a studio set or at least it looks like it to me.  For me, it makes the movie seem like a TV western similar to Gunsmoke or The Rifleman.

  Still a great movie, and Wayne and Strode together are just cool, plain and simple.

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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2006, 12:52:26 PM »

Lee Marvin's Liberty Valance is one of the nastiest villians in an American western. And I agree with Beebs, Edmond O' Brien's character was very cool.

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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2006, 04:27:41 PM »

Good point about the sets Tim, and I agree, though I don't really mind it. 

Contrary to popular belief, Ford did not choose to shoot on sets for "nostalgia" or whatever, according to one of the Duke's biographers the movie was made on a very low budget because Paramount was being very penny-pinching at the time the film was being made. 

I love Lee Marvin as Liberty, he gives Angel Eyes and Frank a run for their money as the greatest Western villain ever (at least in my book).  He's a completely nasty guy but is nonetheless very cool and suave, and is very well-written.  And Marvin, needless to say, was perfectly cast.

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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2006, 08:23:05 PM »

TMWSLV is one of my fave Ford movies. My fave perf in the film is Jimmy Stewart whose opening scenes make him look like a more flawed version of Abe in the excellent Young Mr Lincoln.

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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2006, 11:58:24 PM »

Jimmy Stewart AND John Wayne!? How can you go wrong? On my list of top American westerns, this would be a strong number three.

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