The Western Film: Culture and Concept – “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”

One of 15 westerns released in 1962, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” was among Director John Ford’s last and most expensive features. It starred John Wayne and James (Jimmy) Stewart in the dark tale of two men bound together by the death of a common enemy whose truth becomes lost in the end. Sometimes referred to as Ford’s most cynical Western, it was filmed almost entirely on studio sets with the outdoor sequences shot at the Paramount Ranch, an uncharacteristic change from the stunning natural vistas Ford favored in earlier films. The theme song “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” composed by the prolific team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, became a giant hit and sold over 500,000 copies, despite not being featured in the film itself.

Following the screening, a discussion led by Jason Scott, professor at Arizona State University, will cover the film’s representation of heroism, truth, legend and history, as well as Ford’s stylistic direction.

Scott earned his Ph.D. in theatre in 2009 at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he also earned an M.A. with honors in 2004. He graduated with a B.F.A. in cinema studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he received the George Amberg Memorial Award for Undergraduate Achievement and the Founder’s Day Award for academic excellence. Scott currently teaches undergraduate courses in Sex and Violence in Cinema and Independent Film at Arizona State University. He has also taught several courses in theatre, film and television history, developed the Herberger online course Great Movie Musicals, and created the course FMP 330 (Professional and Technical Writing for Film/Media Industries). He is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture. On stage he appeared in the ASU production “shallow grave” in fall 2014, and he continues to serve the extended Arizona community as an adjudicator and respondent for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Presented in conjunction with Arizona State University’s Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture and the Arizona State University Foundation. Admission to this program is free to ASU students with I.D. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Not rated.