“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” is another of my childhood revisits and another reason for the fame of John Wayne and his use of the word “Pilgrim”. It’s not just the inexperience and western life ignorance that Stoddard wins this name from Tom but rather the ideals that Stoddard brought with him and the refusal to give up in his endeavors in the odd named town of shinbone. I did think that the movie as a whole really tried to reflect western life as it truly was. A small example is this picture of the undertaker.
Town undertakers were really just the guy that you went to when you needed something done with wood or if someone was stiff as a board. The story is fairly basic but those are the most popular. What makes this movie truly enjoyable is not only it’s nostalgic charm but the straight forwardness of the cinematography. It’s all blocked out and framed up nicely with evenly weighted views. In the below picture we see when Valance beats Stoddard nearly to death but the whole frame is evenly weighted even with it being a scene that has a lot of movement. the two henchmen on the left, Valance center, and the gnarly tree on the right. I personally love this capture because you can see Valance eyes perfectly and the hate and evil that lives behind them.
I think my favorite moments of this movie are captured below. I did all these captures with just your basic screen grab. I didn’t enhance or anything like that.
Stoddards shooting lesson from Tom was brilliant. Toms intent on showing that Stoddard is fighting a losing battle with the gun gets put on his butt with Stoddards raw anger but also his determination and beliefs in what’s right which doesn’t include backing down from Valance regardless of gun skills.