The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/bN0onE09-8c?feature=player_detailpage” frameborder=”0″>
It’s often interesting to read reviews from when the time the film was originally released – and see how they bear up as to how the film is presently regarded.
Several movies that are now regarded as Classics were savagely ripped by reviewers of the day. But time often tells a different story. However …
Wikipedia tells us (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Shot_Liberty_Valance)
“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was an instant hit when released in April 1962, thanks to its classic story and popular stars John Wayne and James Stewart. Produced on a budget of $3.2 million, the film grossed $8,000,000 at the box office, making it the 16th highest grossing film of 1962. Edith Head‘s costumes for the film were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, one of the few westerns to ever be nominated for the award. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has continued its popularity through repeated television broadcasts and the rental market. It is also widely considered to be one of director John Ford‘s best westerns and generally ranks alongside Red River, The Searchers, The Big Trail, and Stagecoach as one of John Wayne‘s best films.”
The Critics liked – and the People liked it.
Below: A nice video presentation with a nice rendition of song The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance written by songsters Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis.
Warning: possible huge spoilers … if you’ve never seen the movie.
When you attend Art College, the first thing they do is take your colors away and lock ‘em up. Then they hand you a black crayon and a piece of white paper and say: “Shut up and Draw, pardner.”
And draw you do.
In 1917 John Ford was handed a black crayon and a camera – and between 1917 and 1927 he drew 62 black and white ‘moving pictures’. ’Silent films’ they called ‘em.
Some 40 of these ‘pictures’ were lost – basically thrown away. But in the process Ford learned the Mastery of composition, framing and direction.
Then, about 1928, somebody said: “Hey … maybe this guy can help us figure out how to use this thing called ‘Sound’.”
Wikipedia: “Stagecoach (1939) was Ford’s first western since 3 Bad Men in 1926, and it was his first with sound. Reputedly Orson Welles watched Stagecoach forty times in preparation for making Citizen Kane. It remains one of the most admired and imitated of all Hollywood movies, not least for its climactic stagecoach chase and the hair-raising horse-jumping scene, performed by the stuntman Yakima Canutt.”
Ultimately, in 1939, Ford finally got his colors:
Wikipedia: ”Drums along the Mohawk (1939) was a lavish frontier drama co-starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert it was also Ford’s first movie in color and included uncredited script contributions by William Faulkner. It was a big box-office success, grossing $1.25 million in its first year in the US and earning Edna May Oliver a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance.”
But Ford had learned something about Black and White – it could say things in dramatic ways that color often distracted from. So on occasion he went back to his black crayon and white slate, as in “The Man who shot Liberty Valence”.
So … pardon my colors.
In my study of Journalism, Graphic Design and Fine Arts, I learned a simple lesson: “Keep your mouth shut and let the pictures do the talking.”
These ‘stills’ from My Darling Clementine speak loudly. My Darling Clementine probably contains more ‘Iconic Images’ than any other Western ever made. These are just a few:
“I am… a mushroom; On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then.” / John Ford
Documentary Biography: Directed by John Ford (1971)
“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.” / John Ford
John Ford Western Filmography
Information edited from Screen Junkies:
John Ford Western Movies – Jackie Barlow
- “Rider of the Law“ - 1919, black and white silent movie – Told of the adventures of the Texas Rangers.
- “3 Bad Men” – 1926, Ford’s last silent western. Filmed in the Mojave Desert and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
- “Stagecoach“ - 1939, Ford’s first western with sound. Starring the unknown John Wayne, along with Claire Trevor, this movie is still the most admired and the most imitated of all the Hollywood movies.
- “MoDrums Along the hawk“ - 1939, Ford’s first Technicolor movie. It co-starred Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert.
- “My Darling Clementine“ - 1946, romanticized version of the legend of Wyatt Earp and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Film’s starred Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp, Victor Mature as Doc Holliday, and Linda Darnell.
- “Fort Apache“ - 1948, The first of Ford’s “Cavalry Trilogy”. John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and also Shirley Temple in one of her last movie appearances. It was one of the first movies to present a sympathetic and authentic view of Native Americans.
- “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” - 1949, second of the “Cavalry Trilogy”. In Technicolor.
- “Rio Grande“ – 1950, Third part of the “Cavalry Trilogy” starred John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, and screen debut of Wayne’s son Patrick Wayne.
- “The Searchers“ - 1956, The only western Ford made in the 1950′s besides “Rio Grande”, this movie was named “the greatest western of all time” by the American Film Institute in 2008. Featured the rising star Natalie Wood as well as Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, and others.
- “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance“ - 1962, said to be Ford’s last great movie. It starred John Wayne, Vera Miles, James Stewart, Edmund O’Brien, Andy Devine, Lee Marvin, Denver Pyle, and John Carradine.
“We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” / Navajo Proverb
Eagle Dance Song – Ronald Roybal – Native American Flute Music
John Ford Point … Monument Valley
“Director John Ford’s 1939 film Stagecoach, starring John Wayne, has had an enduring influence in making Monument Valley famous. After that first experience, Ford returned nine times to shoot Westerns — even when the films were not set in Arizona or Utah. A popular lookout point is named in his honor as “John Ford Point.”"
- Travels with Grama http://www.travelswithgrama.com/travels/monvalley.htm
Below: John Ford’s Point: Shot from the new movie: The Lone Ranger - starring Johnny Depp and Arnie Hammer.