The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance / Oddity No. 2: The BILLING Mystery … Part 1 …

In Movies, Billing is a big deal.
Billing refers to Order, Place, Size, and Color of your name
as it appears on The Marquee, Posters, Advertising, Film Trailer,
and on Screen, etc. – if at all.
In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
I noticed some interesting Billing anomalies.

Between 1949–1957 and 1959–1974
John Wayne
was in the Top Ten Money Making Stars 25 times!!!

That’s a record number.
This includes 1962 when The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was made.
So you’d expect that Wayne would be Top Billed on everything, right?
But for some reason (unknown to me), he wasn’t.
Let’s start with the Official Trailer Preview.

James Stewart is Billed first!?
Wayne is Billed Second!:

Both Bills are the same size and configuration …
BUT Wayne’s Bill is still an obvious Second.

I doubt this could have occurred without Wayne’s approval.
Wayne had great respect and friendship with Stewart.
This was later reflected again when Stewart was handpicked by Wayne
for a nice role in Wayne’s final Film: The Shootist (1976).

And it’s notable that both Stars were Billed
ahead of the actual Movie Title Banner itself:

This reflects Stewart’s and Wayne’s Star Power of course –
They were the Draw.

However …
… on the actual Film Screen … things are different:
Wayne is Billed first – as we would have expected.

Stewart is second …

… and both are still Billed before the Film Banner:

Another interesting Billing oddity of that Lee Marvin isn’t Billed at all !!
in most any of the Movie’s advertising –
even though he plays the Title character, Liberty Valance.

Lee had not yet emerged as a Top Star.

That was soon to change.

We’re going to check the
Billing on the Movie’s Posters.

Author: jcalberta

Howdy! I love Westerns. ... and the intent of is to celebrate Western Movies/Film - old and new. This site will eventually show my top 30 favorite Westerns - or more. I will have original graphic work with regular updates. All this - and more ... Yee Haw ... !! - jcablerta / Moderator / Administrator

5 thoughts on “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance / Oddity No. 2: The BILLING Mystery … Part 1 …”

  1. What do you get when you have John Ford, John Wayne and James Stewart collaborating together in on a western? You have one of the many greatest westerns ever made 🙂 It has been frequently said that The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (along with Sam Peckinpah’s Ride the High Country – both released in 1962), served as an epilogue for the traditional western. This is not to say that westerns did not tackle the darker side of the old west prior to the mid-to-late 1960’s, but The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance debatably served as something of a transitional film in the genre – offering a little bit of what preceded it with the traditional western and everything it was about to become with the revisionist western. Interesting isn’t it? 🙂

    1. It definitely moved Westerns from being Story driven entertainment to being more cerebral and artistic? And when I watch it, I still can’t believe that Ford got away with pretty well shooting the whole darn thing in studio – and pulled it off. Somehow it seems irrelevant. Doubt you could do that these days.

      1. Actually, prior to the rise of the revisionist western during the mid-1960’s, the 1950’s westerns (or at least 50 percent of them) were cerebral and artistic, but in a more subtle way. Nevertheless, you are right that it was after The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance that filmmakers began to simultaneously experiment with the genre, while dissecting all of the hallmarks and myths that we viewers long associated the genre with. Here is an interesting fact for you, John Ford’s My Darling Clementine was actually cited by Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch) as one of his favorite westerns. That might come off as shocking considering how Clementine was a traditionalist piece whereas most of Peckinpah’s westerns deconstructed the elements present in that earlier film. But, it is not surprising to me and now I know why I occasionally think about My Darling Clementine while watching The Wild Bunch – the song Shall We Gather by the River is played in both of them 🙂 Interesting isn’t it? 🙂

      2. My Darling Clementine is truly an Art Piece. Every shot is framed and composed. I was a bit shocked when I first saw how brilliant it was.

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