The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

1962

Drama / Western

5
IMDb Rating 8.1 10 60144

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
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July 20, 2018 at 12:12 PM

Director

Cast

John Wayne as Tom Doniphon
James Stewart as Ransom Stoddard
Lee Marvin as Liberty Valance
Lee Van Cleef as Reese
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1 GB
1280*714
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 3 min
P/S 5 / 26
1.95 GB
1920*1072
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 3 min
P/S 12 / 31

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mattyholmes2004 10 / 10

"This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend".

"This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend". - Maxwell Scott, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance In John Ford's most mournful tale, the legendary director asks the question "How did this present come to be? Just how did an inferior race of men whose only weapon was that of law and books defeat the old gunslingers of the great West? Just what exactly happened to the Western heroes portrayed by John Wayne when law and order came to town? How did the wilderness turn into a garden? In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, John Ford depicts a world where everyone has got everything they wanted, but nobody seems happy with it… sound familiar to anyone? Senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) arrives to Shinbone on a train with his wife Hallie (Vera Miles) to visit the funeral of an old friend named Tom Doniphon (John Wayne, remarkably the film opens where this iconic star is dead). The newspaper men have never heard of him, so why would such a powerful political figure visit the town to attend this funeral of a "nobody"? Through the use of a flashback, Stoddard tells us the tale of how he came to the town as a young lawyer but was immediately attacked by the psychotic villain Liberty Valance (terrifyingly played by Lee Marvin) who teaches him "Western law". The rest of the film tells the tale of how the man of books eventually defeated the race of the gunslinger and what sacrifices had to be made for that to happen.

In truth, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is more of a melodrama than a Western. Gone are the vibrant landscapes of Ford's landmark movie The Searchers six years earlier, which was so proudly promoted as being in VISTAVISION WIDESCREEN COLOR and instead the film has given way to a bleak, claustrophobic black and white tale, with so many enclosed sets and not one shot of Monument Valley.

There's a lack of a real bar scene, lack of shots of the landscape, lack of horses, lack of gunfights. It's a psychological Western, probably unlike anything ever filmed until maybe Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven.

Why is this movie so good then? In basic terms, it's about the sadness of progression and without giving way too much away the film tells a remarkable tale which truly does examine what Ford's view of the West as promoted in his earlier work truly meant. It's a tragic and pessimistic movie but it's a rewarding one, with huge replay value and one that leaves you with so many more questions than it does answers.

Do we prefer the legendary tale of our heroes or the truth? Are tales of people such as 'The Man With No Name' just more interesting than Wyatt Earp? Is living a lie as a successful guy better or worse than quietly dying as a hero? The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is one of the most complex Westerns that has ever been put on film and is a remarkable film when you consider it was directed by a guy who made his living telling grandeur tales of the American West. Well acted, very well written and is one of the most rewarding Westerns for replay value in the history of the genre.

Matt Holmes

www.obsessedwithfilm.com

Reviewed by Nazi_Fighter_David 9 / 10

Honest, unpretentious and deeply moving...

Nostalgic, sour and powerful, Ford's "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" is one of the most memorable of all his Westerns... It's triggered off, and that's the right phrase, as it turns out, by flashback... The old device works well in the hands of the master... In fact, John Ford couldn't have got the feeling he's after in any other way...

Ford seems to be mourning the Old West... It's a mixed feeling—composed of pride, regret, and a sense of the inherent injustice of life, and certain forebodings about the future...

When a famous elderly Senator Ranse Stoddard (James Stewart), looking every inch the revered veteran political figure, gets off a train at a small Western town with his good lady (Vera Miles) you can tell by the way his eye roves for and rests on bits of time remembered that this is very much a sentimental journey… He's come to pay his last respects to a friend of the long, long ago—a small rancher in those days, played by John Wayne...

Dissolve into the distant story—presenting young tenderfoot lawyer Stewart, eagerly intent on bringing Eastern law-books to bear on the problems of the West… His first taste of the West is a sound beating up, by a man called Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) who is a gunman employed by powerful cattlemen who oppose statehood for the Territory...

Nor does Ranse find any real custom even among the law-abiding... He starts his career, in fact, as a kitchen hand in a café where he's been taken by Tom Doniphon (Wayne) following his nasty experience with Liberty... Ford is at his 'domestic' best in this café which is run by a Swedish pair (John Qualen and Jeannette Nolan) and where Ranse's wife-to-be is one of the employees... Stewart, wearing an apron contrasted with Wayne, pure frontiersman, is something to see in that kitchen... And there's always an edge to their meetings...

It isn't hard to guess that before long the waitress, Tom's girl, is going to fail for the injured tenderfoot who takes on her education... Ranse eventually hangs up his sign in the office of the local newspaper editor, Dutton Peabody, a typical 'character', played by Edmond O'Brien, and from then on it's the story of a territory growing up and seeking statehood, with Ranse Stoddard maturing, too, as the natural leader of 'civilized' law and order aspirations...

But none of it could have happened without the removal of Liberty Valance... Ranse confronts him and the bullets fly but the bullet that actually drops him comes from another Winchester in the shadows... Ranse goes to Washington on the strength of ridding the territory of Liberty Valance, but he knows that the shot was fired by another man…

It's another film about the right man being in the right place at the right time in order to advance the course of Western civilization... Skillful, undoubtedly, but in this case the right man never gets his just deserts—if he ever wanted them, because the Wayne character in his way is just as much a part of the Old West as Marvin...

Herein lies the bitter essence of the film... Wayne, at heart, is as contemptuous of what Stewart stands for—talk and conferences and thick legal tomes as the gunman is… And through him you feel Ford saying that the hard men who had it the hardest on the frontier are soon forgotten, and some of the frontier's simple virtues have been buried with them…

"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" is honest, unpretentious and deeply moving... In no other Ford Western does the audience feel so involved... The playing is brilliant—from the smallest role to the beautifully interpreted ambivalent relationship of Wayne and Stewart...

Their acting style are quite different... Stewart had developed a standard repertoire of mannerisms that his public had come to cherish... Wayne's style was spare, clean and unadorned; he stood tall, very much himself... Certainly this film exemplifies a wonderful blending of three great talents, Ford's, Stewart's, and Wayne's, and their seamless mutual chemistry is one of the salient aspect of it...

Reviewed by stephenclark1 10 / 10

John Wayne as Tragic Hero

John Ford was the first to see the potential in John Wayne and helped shape his image in a series of a classic westerns, including Stagecoach, Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and The Searchers. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, is the most subtle treatment of Wayne's character, and represents one of his most fully realized roles, approaching the tragic in its depth. The film deals with the passing of the American West's values of freedom and independence. In many ways it is a summation and re-examination of the whole notion of the West as promulgated by Wayne and Ford. The story begins at the turn of the 19th century. Senator Ransom Stoddard (Jimmy Stewart), is traveling by train to Shinbone, the town of his youth, for the funeral of Tom Doniphon (John Wayne). Stoddard is a senior senator with presidential aspirations. Doniphon is an unknown. Stoddard and his wife, Hallie (Vera Miles) go to the undertaker and stand before the plain box that holds Doniphon. Enter the local press. They must know why the Senator has gone out his way to attend the funeral of an unknown cowhand. There is an old stagecoach on blocks at the undertaker's—a reference to the stagecoach that marked Wayne's breakthrough role. Stewart hems and haws, dusts off the old stage. It looks like the one that brought him to Shinbone decades before. And so the retelling begins. It is the 1870's. Stoddard is a young lawyer journeying by stage to make his fortune out west. Bandits waylay the stage and Stoddard is beaten by the eponymous Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). Stoddard is the symbol of eastern civilization, impotent in the face of Valance's lawlessness. In the next scene we see Doniphon entering Shinbone with the beaten Stoddard thrown into the back of his buckboard. Between the impotent Stoddard and the lawless Valance is the figure of Doniphon, the only man whom Valance fears, and pillar of the town, friend to the newspaper editor, beau to Hallie, and foil to the inept marshal (Andy Devine). Shinbone is a dysfunctional town. Legal authority, as embodied by Devine, is cowardly, gluttonous and corrupt. Stoddard, the man with the intellectual ability to bring law to the town, is devoid of authority. Doniphon, the man who has the physical power and respect of the town to give force to the law and bring order to Shinbone hews to a code of individualism that keeps him from committing to the notion of a civil society. The political climate is fertile; statehood is being discussed and will change everything, bringing the rule of law and threatening the open range. At the local meeting to elect representatives, Valance tries to disrupt the proceedings but is held in place by Doniphon. Stoddard nominates Doniphon as a man uniquely qualified to represent the region. If he accepts the nomination, he unites physical and legal authority, bringing order to Shinbone and relegates Valance to the periphery. But he refuses. Accepting such a role is incongruent with his notions of individuality. Stoddard and the newspaper editor are instead elected. Valance vows revenge. Instead of supporting Stoddard, Doniphon counsels flight. He arranges a buckboard to take Stoddard out of town before Valance arrives that night to have it out with him. Doniphon's abdication leaves Stoddard with the decision: leave the town in the clutches of Valance, or stand and challenge him. Stoddard calls Valance out. Valance toys with him, shooting the gun out of his hand. Stoddard picks up the gun. Valance takes aim. Stoddard fires. Valance falls dead. Miraculously, Stoddard has liberated the town, also winning the heart of Hallie. Wayne goes on a bender, drinking himself into a stupor, then burns down his home, symbolically burning his own hopes for the future. He has lost everything. But the depth of his loss only becomes apparent later. Stoddard goes to the state convention, heralded as "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." On this wave of popularity, he is elected to represent the state in Washington, launching his career. As he is elected, Doniphon enters the hall. He is drunk and haggard. He calls Stoddard into a back room and confronts him. "You didn't shoot Valance, Pilgrim," he tells Stoddard, "Think back, Pilgrim." We dissolve to the gunfight in the street, this time from Doniphon's POV. He stands in an alley. As Valance makes his final shot, Doniphon shoots him, the shot simultaneous with Stoddard's, killing Valence, but in a manner without honor. In doing so, he loses his self- respect and violates the code by which he has lived. This illuminates his raging drunk. All is lost. Wayne approaches the tragic in this role. He was the best, but because of the limitations of his code, he defers acting against Valance and defers again. When leadership comes his way, he refuses. When events force him to act, he must do so in a manner that is dishonorable. Doniphon's only sin is that of pride—he will not stoop to the needs of the group and holds himself aloof. For this alone, he fails and ultimately transgresses against all he stands for. When Stoddard and his wife return to Shinbone for the funeral, their solemnity springs guilt. Stoddard has traded on the Valance shooting his entire career and he knows that he has lived a lie. Ironically, the reporter tears up the story at the end, saying "When the legend becomes the truth, print the legend." John Ford made the western what it is today. Here he gives us movie that is a complex and, at times sardonic, critique of the genre, while at the same time giving Wayne his deepest, most tragic role. There was not to be another western of equivalent depth until Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven. It rewards repeated viewing and is a capstone to the career of Mr. Wayne.

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