Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

THE ANN RUTLEDGE THEME (from Young Mr. Lincoln) is the main music theme of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. (There is also a theme song recorded called The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but it is not heard in the film.) The Ann Rutledge theme is played seven times:
1) Hallie and Link arrive in their cart at Tom's burned hut.
2) Ransom promises Hallie to teach her to read.
3) Tom brings a cactus rose to Hallie.
4) Hallie alone in the classroom.
5) Hallie binds Ransom's wound.
6) After the statement "print the legend", the train whistle, "getting late", Hallie's cactus flower on Tom's coffin.
7) After the statement "nothing's too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance", the train disappears in the horizon, THE END.

1) The main symbols: the cactus rose and the gun.
2) The psychologically sensitive actors Vera Miles and James Stewart, both Hitchcock regulars.
3) Das Unbehagen in der Kultur: the theme of civilization being built upon the repression / control of our wild primitive forces.
4) The unhappy, unsatisfied woman, the childless Hallie.
5) Alcoholism. What makes the man drink: Tom loses Hallie, takes to the bottle, burns his house, almost commits suicide, and in a way the rest of his life is a slow suicide.

The unique combination of the over-the-top (the character of Liberty Valance, several other characters verging on the caricature and parody) and restraint. The most beautiful scene of restraint is the one where Hallie sits besides Link, and their looks tell everything. During the film, Vera Miles acts with her eyes.

The eloquence of the restraint is evident on the cinema screen but may pass unnoticed on the home monitor. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is readily available on dvd and in tv programming, but to evaluate it it's necessary to see it on the screen.

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