Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The (Blu-ray) (1962)

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Released 27-Jun-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1962
Running Time 123:21
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Ford
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring James Stewart
John Wayne
Vera Miles
Lee Marvin
Edmond O'Brien
Andy Devine
Ken Murray
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $19.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Finnish
French
German
Italian
Norwegian
Spanish
Swedish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

“You cannot shoot back with a law book”

     Respected Senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) and his wife Hallie (Vera Miles) unexpectedly arrive in the small town of Shinbone. They have come to pay their last respects at the casket of local man Tom Doniphon. Ransom has built his political reputation as “the man who shot Liberty Valance”, while Doniphon is unknown. While there, Ransom tells his story.

     Years before, as a new, idealistic law graduate, Ransom had come west by stage coach. Near Shinbone the coach was held up by Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) and his gang. Attempting to protect a woman, Ransom is beaten unconscious by Valance and left for dead. He is found by rancher Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) and his hand Pompey (Woody Strode), taken into town and left to recover in the hands of café owners Peter and Nora Ericson and Hallie, who Tom considers to be his girl.

     Shinbone is in a territory on the cusp of attaining statehood within the U.S., a town where the law is the gun, and gunmen, such as Liberty Valance rule, the town Marshall Link Appleyard (Andy Devine) lacking to courage to do anything. Ransom believes in the rule of law and justice, and he receives an unexpected ally in Tom, the only man capable of standing up to Valance. But as Tom points out, a law book is no good against a thug carrying a gun. In Shinbone, values are tested but in the end, to establish the rule of law do you need to use a gun?

     The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was directed by the legendary John Ford towards the end of his career. It is a mature work of art, no longer idealistic about the values of the American west as seen in such films as She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). The film is helped immensely by the quality cast and a solid script. James Stewart is fine as the man whose values are tested, but the best performances come from John Wayne and Edmond O’Brien. Wayne plays second fiddle to Stewart for most of the time but gives a subtle, and surprising depth, to his performance; he also loses the girl. O’Brien has a whale of a time as the newspaperman Dutton Peabody and he steals every scene he is in. In contrast Vera Miles does not really convince and Lee Marvin is a one dimensional villain, which works OK in the context of the film. It is also pleasing to see Lee van Cleef as one of his henchmen.

     The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, while set in the American West, is far more than your standard Western. It is a morality play, a reflection on values with a great cast and remains a classic film 50 years after its release. And it looks just great on this Blu-ray release.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Blu-ray of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, in 1080p MPEG4-AVC code. The original theatrical ratio was 1.85:1.

     The black and white print looks very good for a 50 year old film. It has good sharpness and contrast while shades of blacks and shadow detail is fine, giving a nice depth of field. Brightness is consistent. I saw the odd speck and a slight amount of motion blur but otherwise the print was artefact free.

     Subtitles are available in a wide range of European languages including English for the hearing impaired.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio available includes English Dolby True HD 5.1, German, Spanish, French and Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps and the English restored mono 2.0, the original audio track.

     It is good to have the original mono audio track available. It works well, with clear dialogue, useful in a film that is dialogue rich. Effects, such as gun shots and hooves, as expected lack the resonance of more recent films, but they sound fine. Hiss is absent. In truth, the 5.1 adds only a little separation and depth, with ambient sound and music in the surrounds on occasion. The sub-woofer was pretty much silent.

     Lip synchronisation was fine throughout.

     The score by Cyril Mockridge was only occasionally heard, as the dialogue dominated the film. Forgettable.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     Nothing, not even a trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There is no Region A US Blu-ray currently listed and the Region Free European Blu-ray seems the same as ours. None have the commentary and 50 minute documentary that were available on the Paramount Centennial Collection DVD released in 2009 in Region 1.

Summary

     Add director John Ford, the star power of James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles and Lee Marvin and a great script and you get The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, a morality play, a reflection on values, and a classic film by any standards, still relevant 50 years after release.

     The film looks great and the original mono audio is available as well as a 5.1 mix. No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, July 30, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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