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Author Topic: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)  (Read 30765 times)
Groggy
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« Reply #75 on: May 08, 2009, 08:04:01 AM »

You know, it's been at least three years since I've seen this movie. It's desperately in need of a rewatch.

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« Reply #76 on: June 11, 2012, 11:22:51 PM »

So I just saw this movie for the second time. When I first began watching Westerns 3 years ago, I began with many of the famous Ford films  but basically have not seen them since. So decided to go back and watch 'em all again, and I began with TMWSLV

Well, I am so blown away, I can't even begin to describe. No doubt this is on my top 10 list of AW's. Maybe even my Top 5.


 Unfuckingbelievable. This movie is just so wonderful. I'm almost speechless (sorry Groggy, you know I am never really speechless  Tongue... btw Grogs, funny, I just noticed that the last post on this thread is from you, 3 years ago, saying that it's been 3 years since you saw the movie and it's in a need of a re-watch. That was around the time I first saw it, and now I just re-watched it, 3 years later Wink)


Stewart, Wayne, Miles, Marvin, Strode, all terrific. The newspaper editor as well, as was Carradine in the election scene. That whole scene was amazing.

Two criticisms on the movie: A) the Andy Devine sheriff character was just plain ludicrous. You can show an incompetent sheriff without having him being the village idiot too. And B) This movie is lacking the wonderful sense of location that Westerns should have. You virtually never see any landscapes (except in the opening shot of the train and in a few scenes by Wayne's house). All the exteriors look just like they are in a studio. And that is a shame for a Western, cuz a great town set adds so much to the movie. Eg. Carlo Simi's town sets added so much to Leone's movies. There are so many exterior scenes in TMWSLV where you just feels as if it's shot in a tight set on a studio backlot, and there are no wide angle shots or establishing shots. It does detract from the movie. And one more thing -- this movie is obviously a conscious comment on the life of the West and progress and the end of the Old West etc. But did anyone feel that maybe these themes were brought out a bit too literally, and a bit more subtlety could have been better?

Anyway, this movie is simply a masterpiece! 10/10 Afro Afro Afro

I rented the dvd from Netflix -- it was the Centennial version. Picture looks beautiful.

btw, DVD Beaver mentions that the Centennial version shows a little more information on bottom of the screen. But, it is evident from his screen grabs -- and he neglects to mention this -- that the Centennial version shows less information on top of the screen.




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« Reply #77 on: June 12, 2012, 12:37:08 AM »


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.

IMO Indio is by far and away the greatest Western villain ever. But after him, those guys you mention are definitely among the greatest

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« Reply #78 on: June 12, 2012, 05:39:05 AM »



Two criticisms on the movie: A) the Andy Devine sheriff character was just plain ludicrous. You can show an incompetent sheriff without having him being the village idiot too. And B) This movie is lacking the wonderful sense of location that Westerns should have. You virtually never see any landscapes (except in the opening shot of the train and in a few scenes by Wayne's house). All the exteriors look just like they are in a studio. And that is a shame for a Western, cuz a great town set adds so much to the movie. Eg. Carlo Simi's town sets added so much to Leone's movies. There are so many exterior scenes in TMWSLV where you just feels as if it's shot in a tight set on a studio backlot, and there are no wide angle shots or establishing shots. It does detract from the movie.


Don't you think that the lack of location was done on purpose considering the film's content?

Do you know what a wide angle shot is? And how it looks?

What I don't like in TMWSLV is again, just like in all films of Ford, the silly humour. Not only the Devine charakter in this film, but he's the most annoying. And the film is often too theatric.

But a very important film for the genre in any case.

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« Reply #79 on: June 12, 2012, 07:38:57 AM »

Yep, saw this also in theater when originally released, great film.  And the theme "print the legend" is the basis for a zillion other films.

Y'all know that the popular song "The Man who Shot Liberty Valance" was not ready in time for the film's release, so came out after. 

Y'all notice the size of the steaks on the platters in the restaurant?  My friend's favorite scene in any film !!!  And notice that the steak almost falls off the platter when Jimmy Stewart slams it down on the plate, they used that scene as is.

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« Reply #80 on: June 12, 2012, 12:51:23 PM »

Y'all notice the size of the steaks on the platters in the restaurant?  My friend's favorite scene in any film !!!  And notice that the steak almost falls off the platter when Jimmy Stewart slams it down on the plate, they used that scene as is.

Yeah, just watching the restaurant scenes makes me mighty hungry.

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« Reply #81 on: June 12, 2012, 12:55:02 PM »

Don't you think that the lack of location was done on purpose considering the film's content?

William Clothier (the DoP) is quoted a number of places saying the film was made on the cheap, necessitating black and white photography and the set-bound setting. There does seem to be some conflicting testimony on this score, however.

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« Reply #82 on: June 12, 2012, 01:21:21 PM »

yeah, those are some mighty big steaks!

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« Reply #83 on: June 12, 2012, 02:17:25 PM »

William Clothier (the DoP) is quoted a number of places saying the film was made on the cheap, necessitating black and white photography and the set-bound setting. There does seem to be some conflicting testimony on this score, however.

But it fits the film anyway. It is the only Ford film which does not need any spectacular outdoor scenes. Well, 2 Rode Together could fit in the same category, as it is basically a bleak film.

And why should a film with Wayne and Stewart get only a b-picture budget? Both were still big stars with a loyal audience.

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« Reply #84 on: June 12, 2012, 02:35:07 PM »

The impression I get is that Ford did the film mostly to fulfill a contract with Paramount. I'll have to dig out my sources later to be sure of the circumstances.

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« Reply #85 on: June 13, 2012, 11:11:54 AM »

John Ford being one of the few truly great American artists of the 20th century, his body of work should be embraced by every film lover I feel. But to appreciate 50, or even 70, 80 year old films one must put them into context and watch them equipped with antennas to catch the artist ambitions and subjects. VALANCE is next to GRAPES OF WRATH and HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY my favorite Ford film. Those other two are flawless masterpieces, but VALANCE (as does SEARCHERS and THE QUIET MAN) comes pretty close.

It was by no means a 'low-budget' production. Those rumours were probably picked up once decades ago and then made the rounds - even until now. It's budget was over $3 Million, Wayne alone got $750.000. Ford had bought the (Cosmopolitian) story himself for his own company and later brought the project to Paramount because Wayne had just signed a 7-picture deal with the studio (HATARI!; VALANCE, DONOVANS REEF, IN HARMS WAY, KATIE ELDER, EL DORADO, TRUE GRIT).
Ford decided for black & white mainly because of one scene: he wanted the 'shooting of Valance' in the good old Greg Toland style, light & shadows. Also of course color was not really needed, no big vistas were part of the story. This is not a film about scenery or the wide open country of the west, it was an allegory of American history. Ford avoided 'beautiful' vistas, wide shots, color and a large number of sets to heighten to importance of the dialogue. The absence of landscapes is a testimony of Ford's loss of faith in the American frontier, a process that had started years earlier. Masterful in it's economical style it is quite fascinating that Ford's cinematic testament is a more or less theatrical film. After all, Ford was celebrated as the best visual Director for decades prior to VALANCE. A touching and important 'good bye' by the western films' oldtimers made the same year Randolph Scott & Joel McCrea gave their farewell in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. VALANCE's themes of the changing and therefore dying west from now on became the subject of the films of Ford's succesor, Sam Peckinpah. The two met only once, on the doorstep at MGM.

some of my first release posters:

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« Reply #86 on: June 13, 2012, 11:20:04 AM »

Thanks for clearing things up Mr. Siegel. I stand corrected. Afro

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« Reply #87 on: June 13, 2012, 03:12:40 PM »

Ford's final 2 Westerns (not counting the segments of How the West Was Won) were The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Cheyenne Autumn, so you can definitely say that in the twilight of his Western career, Ford was re-evaluating the Western myths (about American idealism and treatment of Indians) that he had had a part in creating.

As for the other Ford movies mentioned by mike siegel: I didn't care much for How Green Was My Valley or The Quiet Man. With The Grapes of Wrath, I'll freely admit that it is hard for me to judge a movie fairly as a piece of art when I so staunchly disagree with its politics. The other Ford non-Western I've seen is The Informer, that's a good movie featuring a well-deserved Oscar performance by the great Victor McLaglen.
I saw The Searchers twice, and I've never really understood its great appeal. There are 6 Ford Westerns that I love: TMWSLV, Fort Apache, The Horse Soldiers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Stagecoach, and My Darling Clementine.

p.s. I went to a diner early this morning and gave serious consideration to the deep dish apple pie. But I ultimately I chose the blueberry   Tongue

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« Reply #88 on: June 14, 2012, 03:40:25 AM »

A similar taste leads to an understanding smile and a connection, but even our closest (film) friends can't share the love for our Top 20 films. Since I'm 10 years old I eat up (most) films on an emotional level, that's why I often find it very difficult to read threads in forums about films that are very dear to me. In those last 35 years I could never fully understand why certain social issues well-handled by great film makers are not universally welcomed and cherished. But that's good, too understand everything, or even the thought of it, is very dangerous.
GRAPES, VALLEY and SEARCHERS do not work if the eyes of the viewer are not wet at least 2 - 3 times while watching them. Come to think of it, I get wet eyes watching 9 out of my Top 10 films. Well, I have to see 2001 again and watch myself. Maybe tears will come due to its greatness.
This is all close to discussing poetry, which doesn't make much sense (I think). Some people cry watching a beautiful sundown, others while standing on a mountain top. How can one explain emotions ? Boy, that discussions always comes up when discussing THE WILD BUNCH after a screening and there's always the group weeping at the end, and the other guys almost laughing: 'are you guys serious? why are you so shattered ??'
They go for the action (almost exclusively) , for us the emotional level, the brillant characterisations and the beauty of the film stands in the foreground. The (unmatchable) action is there anyway of course.

This all is one of the reasons too why I adore Leone. GBU is among my Top 10. But the $$ films don't make me weep, only out of joy when having the chance to see them on the big screen of course. But GIU LA TESTA had a scene that made me cry. In 1981 and even now. The Dead Sons is still among my Top 3 Morricone compositions. And OUATIA has many of such scenes. My kind of cinema. Yet OUATITW and the $$ films are so good I have to watch them every year ... Long live Leone


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« Reply #89 on: June 14, 2012, 04:56:40 AM »

A similar taste leads to an understanding smile and a connection, but even our closest (film) friends can't share the love for our Top 20 films. Since I'm 10 years old I eat up (most) films on an emotional level, that's why I often find it very difficult to read threads in forums about films that are very dear to me. In those last 35 years I could never fully understand why certain social issues well-handled by great film makers are not universally welcomed and cherished. But that's good, too understand everything, or even the thought of it, is very dangerous.
GRAPES, VALLEY and SEARCHERS do not work if the eyes of the viewer are not wet at least 2 - 3 times while watching them. Come to think of it, I get wet eyes watching 9 out of my Top 10 films. Well, I have to see 2001 again and watch myself. Maybe tears will come due to its greatness.
This is all close to discussing poetry, which doesn't make much sense (I think). Some people cry watching a beautiful sundown, others while standing on a mountain top. How can one explain emotions ? Boy, that discussions always comes up when discussing THE WILD BUNCH after a screening and there's always the group weeping at the end, and the other guys almost laughing: 'are you guys serious? why are you so shattered ??'
They go for the action (almost exclusively) , for us the emotional level, the brillant characterisations and the beauty of the film stands in the foreground. The (unmatchable) action is there anyway of course.

This all is one of the reasons too why I adore Leone. GBU is among my Top 10. But the $$ films don't make me weep, only out of joy when having the chance to see them on the big screen of course. But GIU LA TESTA had a scene that made me cry. In 1981 and even now. The Dead Sons is still among my Top 3 Morricone compositions. And OUATIA has many of such scenes. My kind of cinema. Yet OUATITW and the $$ films are so good I have to watch them every year ... Long live Leone



I am not really the crying type. I don't say that with any disdain or machismo, it's just a fact. But I will say this -- I came very near it while watching TMWSLV. When I was younger and used to hear people say they cried during movies, I thought it was silly, because they were generally crying over something sad that happened in the movie. Well, a movie is fake, so why cry over something sad that happens when you know it's only happening between "Action" and "Cut"?

But now I have come to realize that sometimes art can stir people in such a way that they cry -- it's not out of sadness at what happened, but the sheer beauty of it. Certain feelings bring out such insane emotions, the only thing you can do is cry, over the sheer beauty of it. I've never really cried tears but there have been moments where I got really choked up and emotional, when seeing a beautiful piece of art. TMWSLV did it to me. The end of OUATITW often does -- especially the final duel; that music is so unbelievably perfect for that scene it is hard to put into words how brilliant it is. And sometimes we can't put something into words, so we can only cry. Like when looking at a beautiful piece of art. I get chills every time I watch the video of Secretariat's performance in the 1973 Belmont, which was the greatest race ever run: 1.5 miles in 2:24, winning by 35 lengths. The announcer said on that day that the mark may never be broken, and it still hasn't, 30 years later. I just get chills watching him run, with the announcer uttering the now iconic, "Secretariat is widening now! He is moving like a tremendous machine!"


With that said, everyone handles emotions differently. Some people are like me and never actually cry. Others do. Everyone, male and female, handles emotions differently, and I wouldn't say that someone doesn't appreciate a movie if they haven't cried while watching it. (In that case I have never appreciated a movie!) Some people just don't cry; everyone expresses their emotions differently. And I don't get too emotional about a movie to the point where I basically refuse to acknowledge other people's rights to argue against it, or ask questions about it.

as for you statement RE: my comment about [iThe Grapes of Wrath [/i]that you could "never fully understand why certain social issues well-handled by great film makers are not universally welcomed and cherished": I'm not sure what that means. Do I have to accept a movie made about a social issue just because it was made by a great film-maker, and just because it was done well in an artistic sense? I am not denying that from a purely film-making standpoint, TGOR was done well. But it is hard for me to like it because I so staunchly disagree with its message.

When watching a movie, I definitely don't try to think too much about its political message -- if I did, I would never enjoy any Spags, a large number of which have very Socialist messages. I try to just accept the filmmaker's point of view and enjoy it as a piece of art. But there are some instances where the whole movie is all about a political message, and it is absolutely impossible to ignore that point. And that applies whether you agree or disagree with the message.
 Is it possible to discuss Dances With Wolves -- which btw I loved from a movie standpoint -- without addressing its treatment of whites (which IMO was just as ludicrous of the 40's Westerns treatment of Indians? Is it possible to discuss October Baby without addressing the issue of abortion? (That movie meant a lot to me as a big pro-life advocate [not to mention the fact that I know a woman with a very similar story to the main character in that movie]).

When one's own opinions on the movie's message will affect his analysis of it, IMO the most honest thing to do is state where you are coming from so that the reader will know, and will understand the context your discussion is coming from. When I discussed October Baby, I stated where I stood on abortion. When I discussed Dances With Wolves, I stated how ludicrous the treatment of whites was. And I can't consider The Grapes of Wrath without addressing the issue that I couldn't possibly disagree more with the theme of the story, which is Socialism, plain and simple, though the word is never used. Capitalists are portrayed as greedy abusive scoundrels, while the only moral camp is the one run by the federal government. Call it "socialism," "communism," "collectivism," or whatever you wanna call it, but as someone who believes that the free market has been the greatest boon to prosperity for all, and that socialism is thoroughly immoral and causes poverty, TGOR is not a movie I could enjoy. I'm not gonna watch a message-movie, without considering its message. For me, TGOR is a bunch of Commie crap. And that is why, even though it's made by a great film-maker, I don't welcome and cherish it.




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