When Senator Ransom Stoddard returns home to Shinbone for the funeral of Tom Doniphon, he recounts to a local newspaper editor the story behind it all. He had come to town many years before, a lawyer by profession. The stage was robbed on its way in by the local ruffian, Liberty Valance, and Stoddard has nothing to his name left save a few law books. He gets a job in the kitchen at the Ericson's restaurant and there meets his future wife, Hallie. The territory is vying for Statehood and Stoddard is selected as a representative over Valance, who continues terrorizing the town. When he destroys the local newspaper office and attacks the editor, Stoddard calls him out, though the conclusion is not quite as straightforward as legend would have it.Written by
Woody Strode frequently performed his own stunts, partly because he was such a good athlete and partly because it was hard to find a black double to match his build and looks (this had also been the case on Spartacus (1960)). In the scene where Doniphon sets fire to his house, Strode had to race in and drag him out of the building. John Wayne was using a double but the 47-year-old Strode wasn't. John Ford told his star, "Duke, Woody is an old man, and he's got to carry you and he doesn't need a double!" Wayne decided to do the scene without one. See more »
Throughout this film the lighting often varies from one scene to the next usually when viewing from a different angle. A good example of this is when Rance and Hallie first see the coffin in the back room before they enter it. The room appears to be quite dark except for lighting directly on the coffin. After they enter the room (shown from a different angle) the room is well lit. However it should be noted that this variance especially in black and white films was a common technique used for dramatic effect. See more »
[descending from railway carriage and consulting pocket watch]
Thanks, Jason. On time.
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I imagine that many will say that this movie is dated. Since it is filmed in black and white, that will add to it being viewed as an old movie.
However, I believe the characters and acting lead to a most powerful movie. While we often see heroes and heroines portrayed as perfect people, the heroes and heroines in this movie seem much more true to life. They are wonderful, but never perfect. As such the movie hits closer to home and is more heart warming than most movies.
It did take a few minutes before I saw the greatness of this movie. At the start it almost seems a normal western. But as the characters unfold, coupled with excellent acting, the movie simply becomes much more. While John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart have been in many good movies, it is this movie that I likely will remember them the best.
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