The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962/Ford)


(John Welles) #1

John Ford’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” is a great western that has an overaged (but excellent) James Stewart and John Wayne, shocking everyone (including me), that he can act! Lee Marvin plays “Liberty Valance” and it seems to me that it was a great shame that he never appeared in any Spaghetti Westerns. There is some beautiful camrawork in this film and its probably Ford’s most grim western. What do you think?


(scherpschutter) #2

http://www.most-wanted-western-movies.com/the-man-who-shot-liberty-valance-new-dvd-release.html


(John Welles) #3

Great review scherpschutter!


(Starblack) #4

The hype is entirely justified. This is one of relatively few Ford Westerns that I like pretty much unconditionally.

It’s also one of the most intelligent, poignant, self-aware Westerns out there, without ever becoming arch. The tragedy of Wayne’s character is what resonates most powerfully for me; it’s expertly traced, and Wayne himself is excellent, betraying plenty of bitterness as his way of life and the woman he loves slip away, but not a shred of self-pity.

Crucially, Ford and cinematographer William H. Clothier handle the key moment - the shooting of Valence - brilliantly, underpinning the legend that subsequently builds up around the event.

For once, “masterpiece” isn’t wide of the mark.

Oh, and terrific review Scherp.


(John Welles) #5

[quote=“Starblack, post:4, topic:1797”]The hype is entirely justified. This is one of relatively few Ford Westerns that I like pretty much unconditionally.

It’s also one of the most intelligent, poignant, self-aware Westerns out there, without ever becoming arch. The tragedy of Wayne’s character is what resonates most powerfully for me; it’s expertly traced, and Wayne himself is excellent, betraying plenty of bitterness as his way of life and the woman he loves slip away, but not a shred of self-pity.

Crucially, Ford and cinematographer William H. Clothier handle the key moment - the shooting of Valence - brilliantly, underpinning the legend that subsequently builds up around the event.

For once, “masterpiece” isn’t wide of the mark.

Oh, and terrific review Scherp.[/quote]
I, also, only rate two John Ford westerns, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” and “Fort Apache”. For me at least, “Fort Apache” is the most typical western. It has the ignorant commander (played excellently by Henry Fonda), John Wayne and Indians.

I don’t like Ford’s so-called “classic” westerns. I found “Stagecoach” basically an average “B” picture with a nicely handled climatic shootout and Indiana attack, but nothing to make it stick in your head. “The Searchers” was one of the most pointless and pretentious films I have ever seen, and that’s saying a lot.


(Stanton) #6

My name is John Ford, I’m making westerns.

  1. My Darling Clementine 9
  2. Wagonmaster 9
  3. Fort Apache 9
  4. The Searchers 8
  5. Stagecoach 8
  6. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 7
  7. 3 Bad Men 7
  8. 3 Godfathers 7
  9. The Iron Horse 7
  10. The Horse Soldiers 7
  11. Drums Along the Mohawk 7
  12. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon 7
  13. Two Rode Together 7
  14. Cheyenne Autumn 6
  15. Rio Grande 6
  16. Sergeant Rutledge 5

(John Welles) #7

What! How come it’s only seven?


(Stanton) #8

Too much idiotic John Ford humour.
But that’s a main problem for me in all his films.

And the studio atmosphere. Even if this is not completely wrong considering the film’s themes.


(alk0) #9

I love “The searchers” and i strongly dislike “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”. It’s all a matter of taste. I could easily say that 'Liberty Valance" is

and i would give it 5/10.


(John Welles) #10

[quote=“Stanton, post:8, topic:1797”]Too much idiotic John Ford humour.
But that’s a main problem for me in all his films.

And the studio atmosphere. Even if this is not completely wrong considering the film’s themes.[/quote]
The John Ford humour that annoyed me so much in “Stagecoach”, I actuallly found funny in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”.

I think the studio atmosphere was perfect for the film’s themes.


(Starblack) #11

I think The Searchers, while not without typically Fordian flaws (again, the ill-judged humour) is superb, both as a character study and as a revenge Western.

I’ve never cared much for the cavalry trilogy - yes, each film is well made, with many individual strengths, but on the whole it’s too mawkish for me. Too many cliched boisterous Irishmen as well (no offence intended towards Irishmen in general).


(scherpschutter) #12

Most films have this ‘ill-judged Fordian humour’ (nice expression), but it’s more prominent in some films than in others. Ironically it often bothers me most in those films I like best, like Liberty Valence and The Searchers.

Of the cavalry I only like Fort Apache, one of Ford’s finest ; both Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande are rather dull movies if you ask me. I should rewatch Clementine, didn’t really like it last time I saw it, probably twenty years ago.


(Phil H) #13

You really should Scherps. It is one of Ford’s best in my opinion.


(John Welles) #14

I got a John Wayne-John Ford DVD box set collection a few days ago that had: “Stagecoach”, “Fort Apach”, “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”, “Rio Grande” and “The Quiet Man” on it. I’ve watched “Fort Apache”, which I found to be excellent (I have seen "Stagecoach"before on VHS), and after I have finished Orson Welles’s “The Magnificent Ambersons”, I’m going to start “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”, which I hope is going to be better than the other John Ford colour film I have seen by him, “The Searchers”.