Film 68 in the “1001 Films to See Before You Die” challenge was 1962’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence”. Started humming a song from 1962! Did I just quote Bob Seger’s “Night Moves?” Regardless, this was my first look at John Wayne and a few things popped into my head while watching this. One main question I had was, does he call everyone “Pilgrim?” Or is that something he ab-libed? Also, everyone in this town, Shinbone, either was useless or didn’t know what to do! Everyone came across as the type of people you didn’t want to hang around with. Besides those little things, I found myself to rather enjoy this film and I am now looking forward to more Westerns in the future with the likes of “Shane”, “Destry Rides Again” and “Unforgiven” in the line-up. This was one of those film you watch and you easily tell that it was filmed in a studio. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but it was clearly obvious. Another question I have but I guess the film kind of answered it for me was, why did Tom decide to burn his house down? Was it because he hated the fact that Senator Ransom had helped her learn to read and write? Or was it something personal? I didn’t quite understand his reasoning but I’m sure if I was to give this a second viewing I would understand why a little but more. This film revisits the theme of “cleaning-up-the-town” from 1946’s “My Darling Clementine” (also on the list). If you have seen this film then let me know what you thought of it in the comments. Here is what I had to say while watching 1962’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence”.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Year – 1962
Director – John Ford
Staring – James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles
IMDb Rating – 8.1/10
My Rating – 7.85/10
Length – 118 min (1h 58min)
Genre – Western
Already liking this theme music
Nice to see Ivor the Engine still has a job
Welcome to Shinbone
They seem happy to see Link Appleyard
“Blabbermouth” – Is this still an insult?
That’s an odd phone
I’ll do the interview for your newspaper even though they fired me many years ago
Fancy a trip to the desert?
This isn’t a desert! It’s a countryside!
A countryside with a destroyed house with some cactus
Better grab a cactus with my bare hands
Meanwhile at the Shinbone Star
The Senator says he’s in town for a funeral
Who’s Tom Doniphon?
This feels like one of those film where you can tell that it was filmed in a studio
Your dead friend’s in there
Pompey? Isn’t that the nickname for Portsmouth Football Club?
Senator makes someone put Tom’s boots back on along with his gun belt before sharing a moment with Pompey
Bloody media has to interupt everything!
They really want to know who this Tom is
What’s in the box? WHAT’S IN THE FUCKING BOX?
It’s clear that that stagecoach hasn’t been cleaned in years
Time for a life story by the Senator
Well they’re surrounded
When in doubt, shoot at locks to unlock them
Why does Mrs Hallie look older in this flashback than she does in the future
Fuck your law books!
Nothing says beaten like a good ol’ whippin’
Tom arrives at Hallie’s house at 5:30am
I think his limp body just headbutted that horse
“He’s hurt real bad” – No shit, Sherlock
Does everyone have to walk around with a candle for light?
Does John Wayne call everyone “pilgrim”?
Coffee and Swedish Brandy mixed together! That’s something new
Just gonna use your candlelight to light up my cigarette
Tom offers Senator a shoot Liberty Valence and says law books mean nothing in the west
Better bring the Marshall
Is it a rule for every Marshall in westerns to be dumb?
Why does the Marshall sleep in the jail cell with a broken lock?
What’s a tenderfoot?
In the saloon!
Everyone in this saloon is wearing a hat!
I got thown out so I may as well go back inside
Marshall doesn’t know how to get rid of Liberty Valence so he asks Mr Peabody from the Shinbone Star
You’re complaining because your fork wasn’t on the left of the plate
Senator makes Hallie read from the law book
Hallie can’t read and write!
Senator says he’ll help her
Nora says reading and writing isn’t needed for women – Pretty sure it is
Marshall arrives and already makes a scene
Senator says he has every right to arrest Liberty Valence
Hallie agrees to take up Senator’s offer to learn how to read and write
Nice to know supper is beans on toast
Nora wants help to say her ABC’s in English and Swedish
Tom and Pompey arrive and gives Hallie a cactus
That is a big piece of steak
Tom says Senator’s sign has to be defended with a gun if he plans to hang it up
Tom then meets with Mr Peabody and they chat
Do all they have in this restraunt is steak and apple pie?
Hallie shows Senator the cactus
Senator asks Hallie if she’s ever seen a real rose and she says no
“Who ever heard of a man waiting tables?”
Liberty Valence arrives and steals a families meal
Marshall runs away!
Nothing like the classic “leave your leg out and let the waitress trip over it”
Tom and Liberty have a stand off over steak
Senator gets mad and does it anyway
Don’t mind if I take your brandy and throw it through the window
Is everyone in this town scared of Liberty?
Senator is still mad at Tom even though Tom saved his life
Tom ate that steak quick
Mr Peabody says Senator is news and says he’ll let him hang his sign outside the Shinbone Star
Senator agrees but Hallie doesn’t like it
He then tells Tom that he’ll never buy a gun
Tom says he’s leaving town for a while
Is Tom meant to be the officer?
Senator and Mr Peabody have a chat the next day at the Shinbone Star
Senator finds a newstory and likes what Mr Peabody wrote
Time for class about how to read and write
Marshall’s kids are all Mexican!
And they all know their ABC’s with the ABC song
I didn’t attend school because I thought fishing was a better option
Nora tells us about what she knows about the United States
Now for a lesson in amendments
Pompey tells us all about amendments and gets it right with a little help
It’s a good thing Senator knows Spanish otherwise that kid would have pissed his pants
Senator then uses Mr Peabody’s newstory to help with his lesson
Tom arrives and kicks Pompey out of Senator’s school
Tom tells everyone that Liberty has bought reinforcements with bigger guns
Hallie stands up to Tom and tells him that she does what she wants
Senator says Hallie should apologise to Tom – Didn’t catch why
Mr Peabody tells Hallie that Senator has been pratising with a gun for the last two weeks so he can stand up to Liberty
Tom and Senator have a chat at Tom’s house
Tom says he and Hallie are getting married and he’s building a room in his house to share
Tom then teaches Senator how to shoot a gun by shooting at empty paint cans
Well that was a waste of paint
Senator punches Tom for nearly shooting him
It’s Election Day!
So… Only men can vote in elections?
So… Elections involve pushing everyone around
Tom tells Mr Peabody that the Senator forced the bar to be closed during elections
Tom then makes Senator run the meeting as punishment
“A beer’s not drinking”
How did Senator get all that paint off his clothes since washing machines weren’t invented back then?
Everyone seems to agree with what Senator has to say
Senator nominates Tom and everyone agrees
Tom refuses to be nominated as he has other plans
Sounds like Liberty Valence is in town
One man votes Senator as well as Tom
Both of Liberty’s men vote for Liberty
Pompey steps in
Highpockets nominates Mr Peabody as well as the stuttering man
Senator wins of the election by a landslide
Elections over! OPEN THE BAR!!!
Liberty tells Senator to either leave town or be killed tonight
Tom says Senator should leave town and let Pompey deal with it
Mr Peabody has spelt “DEFEATED” wrong because he’s drunk
HE’S OUT OF BOOZE!!!
Is he talking to his shadow?
Marshall tells Mr Peabody that Liberty Valence is in the saloon
Mr Peabody says Marshall’s name will be a big as Buffalo’s Bill
Hallie’s still upset that Senator shut the school
Nora and her husband says he should leave now while he has a chance
Mr Peabody is clearly drunk
Liberty Valence is in the newsroom
Liberty isn’t happy and smashes Mr Peabody’s drink and shoves the newsstory down this mouth before destroying the place
Time for the whip!
Mr Peabody is dead! Better keep wrecking the place
Liberty even shoots at Senator’s sign
Senator sees that Mr Peabody is dead
Turns out he isn’t dead but is on the verge of death
Mr Peabody tells us that he told Liberty Valence about the freedom of the press before collapsing
Senator tells Marshall to tell Liberty that he’ll wait for him outside
Hallie tells Pompey to get Tom
Marshall confronts Liberty at the saloon
Better put all my poker winnings in my hat
Senator looks to see the doctor helping Mr Peabody before removing his sign
Liberty exits the saloon and confronts Senator
Liberty shoots at the jug before shooting Senator’s arm
Senator shoots Liberty and everyone surrounds him
Senator walks away holding his arm
Don’t think hot water is gonna help
The doctor declares Liberty dead after kicking him
Better use torn table cloths as bandages as we’re poor
Hallie tells Senator that she wanted him to say and cries all over him
Tom arrives and leaves
I didn’t know you could light a match by using a wall
Liberty’s men says Senator should be in jail
Tom throws both men out for interupting his drink
Pompey arrives and says it’s time to go home
Did the barman refuse to serve Pompey because he’s black?
I think Tom’s drunk!
Both men head home and Tom stumbles in drunk
He then decides to set his room on fire and sit in living room
Why did he do that?
Pompey rescues Tom and then frees all the horses
We’re at Capitol City (They’re spelling not mine)
Nice to see Mr Peabody’s alright
Senator meets Handy Strong before a debate takes place
Have a shot everytime this guy says “Order and/or quiet”
Or a shot everytime he bangs his hammer
Cassius Starbuckle stands up and gives a speech
His speech has no words written on it!
He nomites Custis Buck Langhorne to run at Congress
How did that horse get on that stage?
No one like this guy
That horse is now a drunk!
Mr Peabody have a quick drink before giving a speech
He nominates Senator to run for Congress
Cassiuss gives another speech and accuses Senator of murdering Liberty
Tom arrives and lights a cigarette before watching from the stairs
Senator leaves but Tom stops him
Tom says Senator didn’t kill Liberty Valence
It turns out both Tom and Senator shot Liberty at the same time!
Tom says he regrets saving his life and says Senator can have Hallie
Back to modern day and Senator says he won the election
The media decides to not write this story and say they’ll do a story on Tom instead
It’s only just accured to me that Pompey has grown hair!
Senator and Hallie leave
Senator then asks Hallie if she would be ok if they left Washington and lived in the West once again
Hallie agrees and says she put the cactus rose on Tom’s casket
Jason reminds Senator of the Liberty Valence shooting and gets sad