Liberty Valance

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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

You've brought up another aspect I never would have thought about either, Lynn. See, I didn't even know that Hallie actually did find and speak to Tom---I thought she sent Pompey out to find him for her. This is another twist! Not many movies can prompt so many questions, it's almost like this is a mystery thriller and not a western we are discussing!

And Chris, it seemed like there was an understanding---namely, that as soon Tom got around to finishing that extra room they would marry---that extra room being explicitly built for her. However, when Editor/Founder/Publisher Dutton Peabody tries to get a definite answer on the subject for his paper from Tom, Tom just brushes him off with a "don't rush me." (Men haven't changed, ha ha!) His failure to rush a little may be what really cost him Hallie.
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Post by Lzcutter »

Miss G,

Glad you are enjoying the discussion. It's one of those great things about films, everyone sees things differently!

As for Hallie, it's possible that Pompey sent her back to Pete's and went to Doniphon himself telling Tom that Miss Hallie had sent him.

My only problem with that is that Doniphon is not a killer and I don't easily make the jump to him killing Valance just to save Stoddard.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

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"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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Post by MissGoddess »

That is a good point---but perhaps Doniphon reckoned all along that if it came down to it and Stoddard stayed to meet Liberty on the street, there would be no other way than that Doniphon himself should do the deed, but in stealth. That's why I think Hallie never knew who killed Valance, because Tom wanted it that way---wanted her to think it was Stoddard. If she knew it was Tom all along, it just seems so base of her to leave him, in effect giving the "reward" of her hand to Stoddard instead of the man who earned it.

I guess I raise all these questions because I would not have made the choice she did! *lol*
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Post by CharlieT »

Lzcutter wrote:Miss G,

My only problem with that is that Doniphon is not a killer and I don't easily make the jump to him killing Valance just to save Stoddard.
If I may interject... I disagree slightly with this in a sense. I think that Tom Donophon was ready and very willing to kill Liberty Valance when he was waiting for him to pick up his steak dinner. In fact, I think he was hoping that he could goad Liberty into going for his gun then and there. Tom wasn't a killer, but he would kill if the situation called for it. It was only his feelings for Hallie that kept him from being a different, but just as dangerous, version of Valance. I will concede that he had more respect for Pompey than Liberty had for Floyd and Reese, but Pompey was ten times the man either of them were.

Was Ransom Stoddard a prisoner of the reputation earned by Tom's actions and couldn't avoid his future whether he liked it or not?

I haven't watched this film for several months, so if I sound like I'm all wet, just tell me to dry up. :lol:
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Post by movieman1957 »

I watched the film again over the weekend just for this discussion. The one thing I noticed about Hallie asking Pompey to get Tom as Rance had a gun and was going to meet Liberty left me with the idea that she really meant for Tom to talk Rance out of doing anything. They all had been trying to get him to leave. Killing Valance was Tom's decision. He told later it was something he could live with.

As far as Rance being trapped in his life, he may have initally but I don't think you have the kind of career that Rance had unless at some point you are a willing participant, even if he had a guilty conscience about it.

I was reminded just how good Lee Marvin was in this role. Valance took such pleasure in being mean.

Edmund O'Brien was probably just right. He spent most of the movie drunk or wanting to be drunk which would account for his "over-the-top" style. In his sober times he seemed normal, if not a bit eccentric.
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Post by MissGoddess »

Hi Chris---I agree with you about Ranse Stoddard. When I saw this movie at the theater I particularly noted how Jimmy Stewart played up the "windbag" aspect of his politician Stoddard in the opening scenes, which clearly suggests a man who has adopted the persona of his peers and press clippings. This "caricature" makes his sadness and self-realization at the end stand out in relief.
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Post by Lzcutter »

Liberty Valance returns to TCM tonight at 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Guess you know where I will be!

Hope you guys will join me!
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

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Post by MissGoddess »

I couldn't resist going back. I visited Shinbone again and shed so many tears that Ranse Stoddard pulled the irrigation bill.
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Re: Liberty Valance

Post by Lzcutter »

The first time we see Hallie smile is when Linc suggests taking a buggy ride out to see the desert and the cactus rose which, of course, are all around Tom's old place.

And when the editor and reporters come to the funeral home and intrude and Ranse decides to go with them to tell the story, Hallie nods as if to say, "tell the whole story" and as Ranse and the newspaper men leave, Hallie takes the hat box (wherein, the cactus rose that Linc dug up from Tom's old front yard is wrapped) and wraps her arms around the hat box as if she is wrapping her arms around Tom to protect him from the fall out of Ranse's story.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

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Re: Liberty Valance

Post by MissGoddess »

Hallie takes the hat box (wherein, the cactus rose that Linc dug up from Tom's old front yard is wrapped) and wraps her arms around the hat box as if she is wrapping her arms around Tom to protect him from the fall out of Ranse's story.

That was beautiful, Lynn.
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Re: Liberty Valance

Post by Lzcutter »

That was beautiful, Lynn.
April,

Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate it.

I had to laugh this evening when Alec B called it Jimmy Stewart's movie. On the surface, it is Stewart's movie but pull away those layers and you discover it is as much Wayne's movie as Stewart's.

You just have to be open to looking at the layers.

Hallie always loved the man who shot Liberty Valance.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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Re: Liberty Valance

Post by MissGoddess »

I never noticed the significance of the gesture with the hatbox, it's all those little things that communicate so much. I agree with all you say. Jimmy's part is very "big" in terms of more lines, more scenes...but this is a good example of how "quiet" can exert so much power, even when not present.

If any in the Dallas, New York and L.A. area are interested, you can go see the shirt John Wayne wore as "Tom Doniphon". The Wayne family are going to auction it in October, along with many other of Duke's personal belongings. Here's the Appleyard: http://www.ha.com/c/content.zx?content=johnwayne

...and the blue shirt: http://entertainment.ha.com/c/item.zx?s ... otNo=44008
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
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Re: Liberty Valance

Post by mrsl »

.
I was right there next to you watching Lynn, albeit about 2,000 miles away. It's funny, I've been so lucky in finding these $5.00 Walmart DVD's of directors editions, and have one of this movie, but even owning my own, this is one film I cannot ignore when I see it listed in the nightly schedule.

It took me ages to realize there was a cactus flower in that hatbox which obviously was empty on the trip to Shinbone, and Hallie had every intention of going out to Tom's house to get a flower. For being such a crybaby during the whole of the story, Andy Devine almost made me cry with his reverent sadness while sitting with Hallie and Pompeii in that horrible little room. Something else I never noticed before was how nasty Liberty was to that lady on the stagecoach in the very beginning. I recalled the incident of the brooch, but missed (all these years), how he pushed her around while getting her back into the coach.

And, yes, this is definitely a John Wayne film. He may not be the main focus, but from his first appearance on screen, you never forget he's around somewhere.

.
Anne


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Re: Liberty Valance

Post by Gary J. »

I've always looked at this as a Ford film, but a melancholy Ford film. He fills it with his latest stock company (most had died off) but everyone is older and heavier. There is a sense of poignancy that hangs over the entire film. Ford was nearing his twilight and I'm always amazed that he found the perfect project to sum up his career.

That said the obvious studio sets are rather off putting. At times it looks like a cheap TV western set (the stagecoach robbery scene could had came straight from a GUNSMOKE episode) but in the larger context of what is to follow one has to feel that this is exactly the look that Ford wants to convey. Both leads are much to old for their parts but while Wayne detracts from that with his humor and energy, Stewart is trapped with enacting Jefferson Smith or Tom Destry twenty years too late. At times it sinks the movie for me. What saves it is Fords masterful storytelling which sucks the audience in reel by reel. This is a film I greatly admire as part of the Ford canon but not one that I can re-visit at the drop of a hat due to it's emotional baggage that it carries.
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