It is rare to see a black and white movie these days, even on channels specifically for old movies.  That’s a tragedy, because two of the best movies that were made in the last hundred years were in black and white.  Those would be, of course, To Kill A Mockingbird and High Noon, starring Gregory Peck and Gary Cooper respectively.  Yet there is another black and white classic Western that is often overlooked and not included in that list above, even though it’s fantastic and stars one of the best American actors of all time.  Now you can watch Jimmy Stewart in this brand new two disc collectors edition available you for you to bring home right now!

Starting this May 19th, now available in a special two disc collectors edition from Paramount Studios Home Entertainment comes the definitive edition of one of the classic Westerns from the best director of the genre, John Ford.  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – Centennial Collection is ready to amble right out of television screen and fill your living room with this tale of love, friendship and coming to terms with a past that has left you empty.  Bring home this magnificent classic today!

Ransom Stoddard is an attorney who sets out to civilize the Wild West and ends up in the provincial town of Shinbone.  But this town is run by the evil Liberty Valence, a corrupt man who controls all the crime and works to keep the territory from becoming a state.  Time after time he brings trouble to the people of Shinbone until Stoddard and his local rancher friend, Tom Doniphon decide that Valence must be stopped.  In a gunfight, it seems as though Stoddard kills Liberty Valence.  He becomes a hero, marries a local woman who was with Doniphon and become a successful politician.  Years later it is revealed that Doniphon actually shot Valence and Stoddard has struggled with the guilt of taking credit for that for years.  This movie stars Lee Van Cleef, Lee Marvin, Edmond O’Brien, Andy Devine, Ken Murray, Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne and was directed by John Ford.

The special features included in this two disc collectors edition are an optional audio commentary from filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich along with some archival recordings of John Ford and Jimmy Stewart, selected scene commentary introduced by Dan Ford and featuring archival recordings from John Ford, Jimmy Stewart and Lee Marvin, a seven part featurette about the making of this film, the original theatrical trailer and photo galleries of original lobby cards, the publicity for the film, John Ford himself and the production of this film.

This is a fantastic movie.  It’s a delight to see Lee Marvin in such an evil role and any movie with Lee Van Cleef is a classic in my opinion.  The Duke does a great job, but the real shining star of this film in Jimmy Stewart.  He gives a wonderfully nuanced emotional performance and is the true hero of this delightfully cautionary tale.  More than all of that, John Ford created one of his best films in this one, but it’s the story that sets it above most other Westerns.  It’s a film that takes place in normal life and although it’s far removed from our own time, we could see ourselves in situations which parallel this one.  Sergio Leone says this is John Ford’s best movie because he finally developed a sense of pessimism.  That’s precisely what makes this movie so resplendent.

Be at Liberty to watch this film whenever you want.

This DVD is available at Amazon.com.

Nathaniel Jonet – Follow me on Twitter

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