The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
James Stewart, John Wayne, Lee Marvin, John Carradine, Lee Van Cleef
This is the Western for people who think they don’t like Westerns – in fact the Western setting is almost incidental, despite the cast list reading like a Who’s Who of the Hllywood Westerna genre. While the narrative thrust is typically Westernesque – straight-down-the-middle good vs. bad – the three main characters are far more nuanced and developed than was generally considered necessary for the genre. Stewart, Marvin and Wayne bounce off each other with highly watchable ease. Then there’s Ford’s direction. Gone are the sweeping vistas of New Mexico, instead the more intensely focussed sets of Paramount’s sound stages. The result is as much compelling drama as it is a classic Western. Made for a Sunday afternoon.