Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The (1962)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), directed by John Ford.

One of John Ford's continuing themes is that the hard men who tame the West are not able to live in it after. Their fierce civilizing characteristics make them unsuited to actual civilization.

Such is his creative power that Ford can not only build this myth, he can take it apart again. What if time did not stop with the hero's triumph at the end of the film? Decades pass, men grow old and history is papered over with legend. What is the story of those who live long enough to see that?

Tremendous cast, an over-abundance of talent. James Stewart is too old to play the idealistic young lawyer, but maybe this is a second career. He's still has that earnest civic enthusiasm of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939).

Lee Marvin is great as the crazed, sadistic villain with a whip. You'd think a role this vivid would have typed him permanently, but he was able to play a variety of characters after.


Available on a fine-looking Blu-ray.