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The Flaw in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (1962)


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As a followup to my previous post, it could be argued that Doniphon's act of murdering Valance was an act of spiritual self sacrifice on his part.

The greater good was served by saving the life of Stoddard, a good man (plus Hallie, a woman he loved, wanted him saved). And the community was far better off without Valance.

But on the other hand Doniphon's guilt over the manner in which he achieved it (a bushwacker in the dark, rather than standing man-to-man with him) brought about a spiritual malaise in him from which he never recovered.

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Sho 'nuff.  That has to be pointed out.  Tom never mentioned it before because what HE did amounts to outright murder, while the perception  of Ransom shooting Valance was in the context of a confrontation with Valance and therefore( according to Western law) a "fair fight".   Plus, to all the other townsfolk Tom would have been looked upon unfavorably for doing that.  

And Hallie taking the time to get and place a cactus rose on Tom's coffin proved she knew how much Tom loved her because he was willing to take the "hit" in letting her go with the man she was in love with and be happy and also provide her with a life that he never could.  And still, by doing the cactus rose thing, it showed that Hallie still possessed a kind of love for Tom.  

And Tom too, realized what kind of man Ransom was and also felt he was the best man for the delegate position and felt compelled to tell the truth behind the Valance shooting to clear Ransom's conscience in accepting the role of delegate.  Ransom did  seem to be uncomfortable riding to glory on the back of a tainted horse.  And you also have to remember that Ransom challenged Valance NOT for his own motives, but to have Valance answer for what he did to Peabody. And in that sense, both Ransom and Tom showed a level of unselfishness that was noble.  Ransom in willing to risk his life to achieve justice for Peabody, and Tom willing, however reluctantly, to step aside and let Ransom and Hallie be together.  AND commit murder in order for it to happen.

Sepiatone

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11 hours ago, kingrat said:

 The subtle performances of Vera Miles and James Stewart in that scene are the polar opposite of the convention scene, where Ford lets his supporting cast ham it up, as is not uncommon in Ford films.

What, Edmond O'Brien, A HAM? What, John Carradine, A HAM? :D

Having said that, I think Lee Marvin and that creepy Strother Martin are both properly reptilian (love it when the Duke boots Strother in the jaw), while Jimmy Stewart gives a beautiful performance.

My folks took me to the show to see this one on the big screen, and I remember enjoying it while feeling properly melancholy with the ending.
 

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14 hours ago, slaytonf said:

The movie sure provides a lot of opportunity for discussion.  Everyone who's posted has their own take, and you know, I think they've all got a point!  Maybe Ford built in that ambiguity on purpose.  Anyway, nobody ends up happy, I think.  Truly an ill wind, what's known among philosophers as a bummer.  It makes me think Ford regretted the civilizing of the West, that he wanted it to stay open range, where he and John Wayne could play Freedom and rule with a rifle.  Strange for a man so ruled by ritual and ceremony.  But maybe because of that he need a playground to runaroundin.

Anyway, Doniphon had his chance.  He was too complacent (perhaps a little rightly) before Stoddard showed up, and not alert enough when he did.  He was realistic enough to know he'd lost Hallie, but not wise enough to realize he has no one to blame but himself.  If he'd gone out and married the woman, and not played around like he did, even if she'd felt an attraction for Stoddard, it would have been to late for them.

 

I think Hallie and Ransom are happy together,  they just both feel bad that Tom couldn't find his place in the more modern, more civilized west.  Hallie doesn't think she married the wrong man,  just like she isn't unhappy they moved to a city and lived a city life,  but instead sees that there were some good qualities in the country life and even in the uncivilized west but that one must make a choice.    This adds nuance to the overall theme of the film and what elevates it over a more black and white view of these different lifestyles.   

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2 hours ago, TomJH said:

 

Having said that, I think Lee Marvin and that creepy Strother Martin are both properly reptilian (love it when the Duke boots Strother in the jaw), while Jimmy Stewart gives a beautiful performance.

Marvin and Martin were both wonderfully repulsive in here....I wanted to wring both guys by their necks!

Also wouldn't mind give Carridine's character a good hard kick in the fanny about his wailing about 'worthy' citizen Liberty Valance.


 

 

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7 hours ago, TomJH said:

 

Having said that, I think Lee Marvin and that creepy Strother Martin are both properly reptilian (love it when the Duke boots Strother in the jaw), while Jimmy Stewart gives a beautiful performance.

 

:D

That boot in Strother's face is one part I usually drive my wife nuts with by re winding,(now reversing) and playing over and over again.  Cracks me up every time!

 

"I'LL git it LIBBERDY!"   *WHACK*!!  :lol:

 

Sepiatone

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This one was a little hard to find on the Internet because One Direction recorded a completely different song with the same title, so they're like the first two million listings on Google unless you refine your search a bit, but a very early Bacharach-David hit, and one not from an artist you would expect to record one of their songs, was "The Story of My Life", which was a #1 hit on the country charts and a #15 hit on the pop charts in 1957. Yep, Bacharach and David even had a #1 country hit!

Edit: Oops, the artists was Marty Robbins. Forgot to put that!

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49 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

:D

That boot in Strother's face is one part I usually drive my wife nuts with by re winding,(now reversing) and playing over and over again.  Cracks me up every time!

 

"I'LL git it LIBBERDY!"   *WHACK*!!  :lol:

 

Sepiatone

For your eternal pleasure, Sepia (and mine) :D

 

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gotta great idea for a prequel....

one day while senator stoddard is away at work, a young reporter knocks at the door of the stoddard home and asks to see him. graciously Hallie consents to talk with him. he relates a story about how he comes into some information concerning her husband but has been advised by his editor not to pursue it. he tells Hallie that it seems a man puchased some land adjacent to the old shinbone boot hill and comes across a pine box on his property. the grave marker is located and it turns out to be what's left of liberty valance. the reporter then relates to Hallie about a bullet being found in the box but...the bullet it seems has been determined not to have come from a hand pistol but a rifle, a winchester to be exact. Hallie asks the reporter to return the next day after she speaks to her husband...
that night Hallie demands the truth from Rance. he relates how he was disgusted by building a political future on the killing of a man, even such a dispicable outlaw as valance. he relates how he was in the process of leaving when Tom stops him and reveals the truth. Hallie is stunned, appalled and devastated by Rance's revelations. "but Tom came to the restaurant after the shooting. he said he arrived too late!" ...
"Tom lied to you, Hallie. it didn't want you to know what really happened." she proceeds to sob and cry. she exclaims "what I did to Tom!"...
stoddard consoles her saying that he could never break Tom's confidence. she makes the pilgrimage back to shinbone with Rance after news of Tom's death comes. after stoddard relates the truth, Hallie tells him that she wishes to remain until Tom is buried. afterwards she falls on his grave and sobs "forgive me, Tom!"

a broken woman bereft of happiness.

:D

Image result for vera miles hallie

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Eeh! How about the following instead here, Nipster.

A century and half after the events at Shinbone took place, we see a guy who often visits a certain classic movie-themed internet message board and who is absolutely CRAZY for John Wayne and seems to believe the sun rose and set over the guy and his legacy, ventures to the Pacific View Memorial Park cemetery in Newport Beach, California, and throws HIMSELF upon the guy's grave and begins to sob and cry out, "There will NEVER be as great an American as YOU, Big Duke!".

(...yeah, that might work too, huh!) ;)

LOL

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1 hour ago, NipkowDisc said:

that's a much better ending.

:)

You really know nothing about this film.   Tom wouldn't have won Hallie back and gained more respect for him if she found out Tom was a murdered.     Again,  Hallie didn't do anything to Tom.   It was who Tom was that Hallie rejected.    

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15 hours ago, Dargo said:

Eeh! How about the following instead here, Nipster.

A century and half after the events at Shinbone took place, we see a guy who often visits a certain classic movie-themed internet message board and who is absolutely CRAZY for John Wayne and seems to believe the sun rose and set over the guy and his legacy, ventures to the Pacific View Memorial Park cemetery in Newport Beach, California, and throws HIMSELF upon the guy's grave and begins to sob and cry out, "There will NEVER be as great an American as YOU, Big Duke!".

(...yeah, that might work too, huh!) ;)

LOL

Dargo you forgot his additional plea at the gravesite, "Please come back from the dead, Big Duke, so we can elect you President!"

At that moment a white wagon pulled up and two men with giant nets placed them over the internet message board poster and drove him away.

After his departure the ghost of the Duke can be seen emerging from the grave, walking over to the gravesite of Strother Martin and kicking it in the tombstone.

The End

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I think it is one of wayne's finest films but alotta people just doan cotton to a woman who breaks a fella's heart.

and I do understand the film having seen it for the first more than 40 years ago on a lazy saturday afternoon.

make no mistake. the ending is meant to elicit pity and sorrow for the film's unsung hero, Tom Doniphon...

the man who shot liberty valance.

 

cowboy hero extraordinaire,

Duke Wayne!

:)

 

Related image

 

 

 

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Quote

NipkowDisc said:

I think it is one of wayne's finest films but alotta people just doan cotton to a woman who breaks a fella's heart.

and I do understand the film having seen it for the first more than 40 years ago on a lazy saturday afternoon.

make no mistake. the ending is meant to elicit pity and sorrow for the film's unsung hero, Tom Doniphon...

the man who shot liberty valance.

 

cowboy hero extraordinaire,

Duke Wayne!

 

Well, HECK Nip. Just from the very first glimpse you saw of who plays Hallie in this thing those 40 years ago you mentioned, you should have known RIGHT OFF that John Wayne wasn't gonna end up with her.

Nope, 'cause of course it's Vera Miles and NOT Maureen O'Hara who's playin' the part, dude! And so you should have braced yourself for THAT inevitability over 40 years ago then, RIGHT?!

(...and so then maybe by NOW you might have been OVER all this apparent heartbreak of yours here, RIGHT?!) ;)

 

 

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3 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

It was Hallie who actually shot him.  Doniphon lied to protect her.  

Bytheway, what kind of name is Doniphon?  Sounds almost greek.

Gee slayton, I dunno.

(...but didn't they once make a movie about his brain or somethin'???)

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10 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Gee slayton, I dunno.

(...but didn't they once make a movie about his brain or somethin'???)

Remember, the flashback we see is only Doniphon's story, so it could beeee. . . . .

Sorry to say, that reference to the brain movie eludes me.  But there it is, you superior command of movie informatta.

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17 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

Remember, the flashback we see is only Doniphon's story, so it could beeee. . . . .

Sorry to say, that reference to the brain movie eludes me.  But there it is, you superior command of movie informatta.

Here ya go, slayton ol' buddy...

donovans_brain_poster_01.jpg

(...man, I tell ya...it's tough when ya's gotta 'splain 'em) ;)

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On 11/30/2017 at 8:47 AM, Sepiatone said:

Actually, the only "flaw" that sticks out for me in "Liberty ValAnce" is....

In the segment where Doniphan tries giving Ransom a shooting lesson that winds up getting him covered in paint, Doniphan says something about not liking tricks but it's what to expect from Valance, Stewart stomps up to Wayne, flattens him with a solid right and says, "I don't like tricks either.  So I guess that maisks us even!"  Jimmy kind of garbling the word, "MAKES". ;)

Oh, another flaw I usually point out in here when this movie comes up.......

At that convention to nominate the delegate, in the hall it shows those supporting statehood sitting to the LEFT when shown from the stage.  But a little later, when the hall is shown from the rear LOBBY view, they're suddenly on the RIGHT side of the hall.  :o

Sepiatone

Sepia, what about the other glaring "flaw" which is about Ford choosing to leave out the song as performed by Gene Pitney? Maybe Ford being an old grumpy, cantankerous, crabby curmudgeon just didn't want to pay Bacharach/David for the songwriting fees or want them to benefit from it being in the film?

I'm so glad to be back as I was psychically receiving messages that people here were discussing me. Please tell my oldest and dearest friend, Dargo [if he still posts here?] that I'm back from working for the last six months trying to decipher the 340 code of the Zodiac for that History Channel special.

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