Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Another Remake?—The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

My last posting was about Hollywood remaking The Magnificent Seven, one of my favorite western movies. No sooner did it go to press than I hear Paramount is remaking another one of my favorites, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. This remake is still in the initial stages, so actual projection onto a silver screen remains iffy. (Boy, the digital world is making lots of stock phrases obsolete.)

The original 1962 film starred Jimmie Stewart and John Wayne, with Lee Marvin playing the heavy. Vera Miles, Edmond O’Brien, Andy Devine, John Carradine, Woody Strode, Strother Martin and Lee Van Cleef also had significant roles in this John Ford film. Hard to believe Paramount can afford to put together that level of cast today.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance had a huge influence on the Steve Dancy Tales. Ransom Stoddard and Steve Dancy are eastern educated city dwellers trying to survive a raw frontier, both stories make use of political subplots, and the movie and books present day to day life as a backdrop to the action. At bottom, the film and the Steve Dancy Tales are fish-out-of-water/buddy stories.

I hope this particular remake never gets a green light. The original is a true classic and a new production is sure to fall short. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a sophisticated, complex story, directed by a master, with a once-in-a-lifetime cast. Hollywood should quit trying to live off past glories and make new films that will be eagerly watched a half century from now.

Honest westerns filled with dishonest characters.

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