Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF #35: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

 

The Great Western series continues. Prof. Marini and I move from the sacred law of the family–The Searchers–to the law of the city: Liberty Valance. We talk about love and law, nature and progress, the desert and the railroad, and the rest of the symbols and structures that stand out in John Ford’s best movie. Listen to our conversation, friends, and please share the podcast. If you prefer iTunes, go here, and please leave us a review/rating. You can also find us on stitcher and on pocketcasts.

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There are 32 comments.

  1. Larry Koler Inactive

    I’m looking forward to listening. This is one of my favorite all-time movies. 

    I loved your discussion on “The Searchers.” Thanks for doing these.

    • #1
    • June 1, 2018, at 8:34 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    This is one of my favorite movies too. It is hard not to like anything with both Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne. 

     

    • #2
    • June 1, 2018, at 8:52 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. George Townsend Inactive

    This was a good discussion.

    • #3
    • June 1, 2018, at 9:15 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Hoyacon Member

    I’ll be listening shortly.

    Lee Marvin’s performance is IMO central to making the film work.

    • #4
    • June 1, 2018, at 9:43 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’ll be listening shortly.

    Lee Marvin’s performance is IMO central to making the film work.

    & Edmund O’Brien’s Thomas Mitchell eloquent drunk impersonation is central to making the film fun!

    • #5
    • June 1, 2018, at 10:03 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Hoyacon Member

    Also one of the two times the Lees, Van Cleef and Marvin, worked together.

    No spoiler here, but a third cast member was also there.

    • #6
    • June 1, 2018, at 10:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Yes, it’s a very unusual role for Lee van Cleef, but he does it well. A jackal well done.

    • #7
    • June 1, 2018, at 11:30 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Judge Mental, Secret Chimp Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Yes, it’s a very unusual role for Lee van Cleef, but he does it well. A jackal well done.

    Plus, Strother Martin doing the archetype for the psycho sidekick, forerunner of many to follow.

    • #8
    • June 1, 2018, at 11:34 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Hoyacon Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Yes, it’s a very unusual role for Lee van Cleef, but he does it well. A jackal well done.

    Plus, Strother Martin doing the archetype for the psycho sidekick, forerunner of many to follow.

    Strother was the third cast member I mentioned above in the other vehicle in which Marvin and Van Cleef were together–a Twilight Zone episode called The Grave, in which all three appeared.

    • #9
    • June 1, 2018, at 1:42 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Hoyacon Member

    Great pod.

    I’ve always taken a more cynical view of the fact that Stoddard’s political rise was based on a myth. That makes me a child of the ’60s, perhaps, and it seems at odds with what Ford likely intended. It was nice to hear a persuasive, alternative viewpoint in the podcast.

    • #10
    • June 1, 2018, at 3:01 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Great pod.

    I’ve always taken a more cynical view of the fact that Stoddard’s political rise was based on a myth. That makes me a child of the ’60s, perhaps, and it seems at odds with what Ford likely intended. It was nice to hear a persuasive, alternative viewpoint in the podcast.

    It might be Ford’s intent was more general than that; a commentary history as we know it and the differences there might be between what we have been told and the truth.

    • #11
    • June 1, 2018, at 3:42 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hey, your stitcher link in the OP goes to The Searchers, FYI.

    Which I’m finally listening to…

    Your discussion makes me think of The Virginian, which I just studied with my 14 year old. The Virginian has to hang his cattle-rustling best friend, his affianced cannot see the difference between that law-in-your-own-hands action and lynching in post-Civil War South until Judge Henry makes her see that the former is a man’s attempt to bring law to barbarism where law has no reach, and the latter is barbarism to undermine the law.

    • #12
    • June 2, 2018, at 5:54 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Re my comment above, I think I was wrong and the link is fine; I just have fat fingers.

    • #13
    • June 2, 2018, at 5:57 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Larry Koler Inactive

    I loved “The Virginian” — and “Shane” too.

    I’ve read a lot of Louis Lamour books — when I was in high school but I always preferred Elmore Leonard’s westerns.

    • #14
    • June 2, 2018, at 6:03 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I like those writers too. Virginian is Owen Wister.

    • #15
    • June 2, 2018, at 6:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Judge Mental, Secret Chimp Member

    Why does Hallie choose Rance over Tom?

    The professor called Doniphan a god; I would say more force of nature, or a stand-in for the desert itself. With the line at the end about the desert being the same, you know that Tom was also the same man he was before the railroad. It wouldn’t have changed him at all. Rance may be a noble man, but he he first and foremost a man, not a god.

    If Hallie marries Tom, his plan is that he will build the world they will live in. He will do it for her, but he will do it, not them; he will present it to her as a gift. And the world he builds will be largely unaffected by the changes to the world around them. Rance, on the other hand, will be part of the changes in a way that Tom never could be, and they are changes to which she is looking forward.

    But the most important point is that Rance will need her help in a way that Tom never will. Gods don’t need help. Men do.

    • #16
    • June 2, 2018, at 10:33 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Judge Mental, Secret Chimp Member

    Now, I think I’ll watch it.

    • #17
    • June 2, 2018, at 10:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Doug Watt Moderator

    Lee Marvin’s character was a bit like Curly Bill Brocius:

    In Silver City he burned down a saloon after he shot out a lamp and it exploded. Another time he shot a hole in a freighter’s hat for his own amusement. He also shot a hole in the hat belonging to a reporter who wrote a story the gunman didn’t appreciate.
    One time in Galeyville a saloonkeeper was getting ready to take a drink from a tin cup when Curly Bill shot it out of his hand. Unfortunately the bullet went through the wooden wall and killed the gunman’s horse.
    Another time in Galeyville he went into a restaurant ordered a meal, then placed a six-shooter on each side of his plate and ordered everyone to wait until he was through eating before they could leave. When he finished Curly Bill laid his head down upon his arms and fell asleep. Everyone was afraid to move. Sometime later he awoke, paid for everyone’s meal and left.

    Although there is some dispute about Curly’s demise. It was from a shotgun blast that almost cut him in half in a confrontation with Wyatt Earp.

    Click on the link from True West on the story of the terror of Cochise County.

    • #18
    • June 2, 2018, at 10:37 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Judge Mental, Secret Chimp Member

    Oh, one more thing. I’m pretty sure the Doc could read. At least I hope so.

    • #19
    • June 2, 2018, at 10:47 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Larry Koler (View Comment):

    I loved “The Virginian” — and “Shane” too.

    I’ve read a lot of Louis Lamour books — when I was in high school but I always preferred Elmore Leonard’s westerns.

    Same here–but Hondo‘s still memorable!

    • #20
    • June 2, 2018, at 12:15 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Larry Koler Inactive

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Larry Koler (View Comment):

    I loved “The Virginian” — and “Shane” too.

    I’ve read a lot of Louis Lamour books — when I was in high school but I always preferred Elmore Leonard’s westerns.

    Same here–but Hondo‘s still memorable!

    Hmmm. That’s been a few years ago that I saw that and it’s not clicking in my memory. I better watch it pronto.

    • #21
    • June 2, 2018, at 12:21 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Hoyacon Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Although there is some dispute about Curly’s demise. It was from a shotgun blast that almost cut him in half in a confrontation with Wyatt Earp.

    Loved Powers Boothe’s (fictional?) Curly Bill in Tombstone.

    • #22
    • June 2, 2018, at 12:22 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Hey, your stitcher link in the OP goes to The Searchers, FYI.

    Which I’m finally listening to…

    Your discussion makes me think of The Virginian, which I just studied with my 14 year old. The Virginian has to hang his cattle-rustling best friend, his affianced cannot see the difference between that law-in-your-own-hands action and lynching in post-Civil War South until Judge Henry makes her see that the former is a man’s attempt to bring law to barbarism where law has no reach, and the latter is barbarism to undermine the law.

    It’s certainly better than Rome, where Brutus had not only to send off a king to install a republic, but to execute his kids…

    • #23
    • June 2, 2018, at 12:58 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Why does Hallie choose Rance over Tom?

    The professor called Doniphan a god; I would say more force of nature, or a stand-in for the desert itself. With the line at the end about the desert being the same, you know that Tom was also the same man he was before the railroad. It wouldn’t have changed him at all. Rance may be a noble man, but he he first and foremost a man, not a god.

    If Hallie marries Tom, his plan is that he will build the world they will live in. He will do it for her, but he will do it, not them; he will present it to her as a gift. And the world he builds will be largely unaffected by the changes to the world around them. Rance, on the other hand, will be part of the changes in a way that Tom never could be, and they are changes to which she is looking forward.

    But the most important point is that Rance will need her help in a way that Tom never will. Gods don’t need help. Men do.

    Yes, exactly! There is no going around the fact that women like comforts where men might like hardship. A man might want it his way where a woman might like it the easy way-

    • #24
    • June 2, 2018, at 1:00 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Although there is some dispute about Curly’s demise. It was from a shotgun blast that almost cut him in half in a confrontation with Wyatt Earp.

    Loved Powers Boothe’s (fictional?) Curly Bill in Tombstone.

    Yup. Lives on in the collective memory of, well, us & the memes…

    • #25
    • June 2, 2018, at 1:18 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t post this!

    • #26
    • June 2, 2018, at 1:19 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. Judge Mental, Secret Chimp Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Yes, exactly! There is no going around the fact that women like comforts where men might like hardship. A man might want it his way where a woman might like it the easy way-

    The paradox is that the comforts only come after taking risks, for example building a railroad. And the women are more risk averse.

    • #27
    • June 2, 2018, at 1:21 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Yes, exactly! There is no going around the fact that women like comforts where men might like hardship. A man might want it his way where a woman might like it the easy way-

    The paradox is that the comforts only come after taking risks, for example building a railroad. And the women are more risk averse.

    The women are, if you pardon the pun, standing on two legs–gov’t & the markets. They converge to rationalizing risk. You can take risks that yield results, not others. Risks in the service of abolishing risk.

    Who’d say no to that!

    • #28
    • June 2, 2018, at 1:42 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Larry Koler Inactive

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Yes, exactly! There is no going around the fact that women like comforts where men might like hardship. A man might want it his way where a woman might like it the easy way-

    The paradox is that the comforts only come after taking risks, for example building a railroad. And the women are more risk averse.

    The women are, if you pardon the pun, standing on two legs–gov’t & the markets. They converge to rationalizing risk. You can take risks that yield results, not others. Risks in the service of abolishing risk.

    Who’d say no to that!

    Also, women want long-term stability for themselves and their families, too. The United States seemed a pretty good bet for a lot of people. It’s important for women to harness men and their ambitions to lift them as high as possible and then to lock it in with tribal or national structures. 

    This is the symbiosis of the personal with the national writ at the family level.

    • #29
    • June 2, 2018, at 2:05 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Titus, your next assignment, should you decide to accept it …

    • #30
    • June 2, 2018, at 3:09 PM PDT
    • 4 likes