Video Clips Worth Watching: Wayne v. Marvin

Friday, February 17, AD 2017


The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), perhaps the greatest of Westerns, contains this gem of a scene with John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Jimmy Stewart, Strother Marvin, Lee Van Cleef and Woody Strode.  Marvin as Liberty Valance is the archetypal mercenary gunslinger, his days, and the days of his kind, about to come to an end.  Wayne as Tom Doniphon, rancher, is the obverse of Marvin, a man just as tough as Valance, if not tougher, but no bully.  However, his time is also closing.  Their destroyer?   The almost clown like figure of Ransom Stoddard, portrayed by Jimmy Stewart.  He knows nothing about guns, but he knows a lot about law, and law and civilization are fast coming to the range.  This is John Ford’s eulogy to the Old West, and to this type of Western.

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3 Responses to Video Clips Worth Watching: Wayne v. Marvin

  • This is an excellent post. The “Frontier Thesis” was abroad in which many believed that the end of the frontier represented the beginning of a new stage in American life and that the United States.

    An artist’s requiem to the “Old West” can be seen in the works of Frederick Remington – his paintings and sculptures.

  • “Marvin as Liberty Valance is the archetypal mercenary gunslinger, his days, and the days of his kind are about to come to an end.”
    No disrespect here. It occurred to me that the gunslingers and bullies of yesterday have only traded iron for text. Today’s full of the Liberty Valances of yesterday. Some use iron. Cop killers use iron. Berkeley thugs use gasoline and rocks. To me these hateslingers are made from the same mud as Liberty. Different times, same bullies.

Video Clips Worth Watching: Davy Crockett Tells the Truth in Congress

Thursday, December 10, AD 2015



I voted against this Indian bill, and my conscience yet tells me that I gave a good honest vote, and one that I believe will not make me ashamed in the day of judgment.

David “Davy” Crockett

Fess Parker as Davy Crockett speaking against the Indian Removal Act of 1830 in the Walt Disney bio of Crockett made in the fifties.  Crockett lost his seat in Congress in 1831 due to his stand.  He ran for election in 1833 and regained his seat, only to be defeated in 1835 at which point he rode off to Texas and immortality, telling his erstwhile constituents that they could go to Hell while he would go to Texas.

Myths clustered around Crockett during his life, as he became one of the first of the media-driven celebrities.  However, there was a core of greatness about the man as the above video clip celebrates.

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One Response to Video Clips Worth Watching: Davy Crockett Tells the Truth in Congress

10 Responses to Video Clips Worth Watching: Dudley Summons the Choir

  • I love that movie Unforgettable scene, for sure. For my money, that movie is just brimming with unforgettable scenes.

  • I have a little stack of Christmas DVDs and this is one of them. A recently discovered oldie that I also love is “Come To The Stable”. Have you seen that one, Donald?

  • I have heard about it, but I have not seen it.

  • Sometimes I can almost wish I lived back in those days: days when the Church guarded what we read and watched and had a list and if something was banned, it did not fare well. The days with the TLM and full churches and schools and confessionals; days when the pope was trusted and that was a good thing.

    But then it might have been too easy. Now we live in a time of trial and growing tribulation. We might have thought that the persecution against faithful Catholics was passing but now it has revved up again and by the ‘powers that be’ in the Church. We cannot trust what is coming out of a Vatican that is going hand in hand with the way of the world. Rather, we must cling to Christ and beg for holy shepherds. We must educate ourselves with the true teachings of Our Lord and His holy Church and adhere to them. We must see holiness! It is the only counter to the evil that is within and without the Church.

  • the backstory of Come to the Stable is discussed in my book Christians in the Movies: A Century of Saints and Sinners. If you get Turner Classic Movies, set your DVR for its showing December 20 at 3:45 PM Eastern time

  • @Peter Dans: Thanks for the tip. I wasn’t aware of your book and it looks to be right up my alley. I just put a request in for it with my library. Merry Christmas, fellow film buff!

  • Peter: I see on Amazon that your book was first published in ’09. Then again in 2011. Does the 2011 edition have more in it than the original publication?

  • Elizabeth: First thanks for your interest in my book. I think you will like it. Don did and so did Michael Medved and Steven Greydanus.. As for the dates of issue, the publisher, to my dismay, priced the hardcover at $49.95 for libraries.When it had almost sold out to libraries from Harvard to New South Wales, they agreed to put out a paperback at a more reasonable $26.95 (less on Amazon). The content is the same and the pictures are well-reproduced. So, get the paperback.

  • @Peter: Thanks. I’ll look for the paperback.

Video Clips Worth Watching: Shane v. Jack Wilson

Sunday, November 29, AD 2015

Shane: Yeah, you’ve lived too long. Your kind of days are over.

Ryker: My days! What about yours, gunfighter?

Shane: The difference is I know it.

Ryker: All right. So we’ll all turn in our six-guns to the bartender. We’ll all start hoeing spuds. Is that it?

Shane: Not quite yet. [to Wilson] We haven’t heard from your friend here.

Wilson: I wouldn’t push too far if I were you. Our fight ain’t with you.

Shane: It ain’t with me, Wilson?

Wilson: No it ain’t, Shane.

Ryker: I wouldn’t pull on Wilson, Shane. [to Will Atkey} Will, you’re a witness to this.

Shane: So you’re Jack Wilson.

Wilson: What’s that mean to you, Shane?

Shane: I’ve heard about you.

Wilson: And what’ve you heard, Shane?

Shane: I’ve heard that you’re a low-down Yankee liar.

Shane, 1953

Perhaps the greatest Western ever made, Shane is a snapshot of the West as the old West of cattle barons and gunfighters is coming to an end.  Alan Ladd as the gunfighter Shane realizes his day is done, even as he comes to understand that his attempt to change his life is futile, just as his adversary, cattle baron Rufus Ryker, does not:

 Right? You in the right! Look, Starrett. When I come to this country, you weren’t much older than your boy there. We had rough times, me and other men that are mostly dead now. I got a bad shoulder yet from a Cheyenne arrowhead. We made this country. Found it and we made it. We worked with blood and empty bellies. The cattle we brought in were hazed off by Indians and rustlers. They don’t bother you much anymore because we handled ’em. We made a safe range out of this. Some of us died doin’ it but we made it. And then people move in who’ve never had to rawhide it through the old days. They fence off my range, and fence me off from water. Some of ’em like you plow ditches, take out irrigation water. And so the creek runs dry sometimes and I’ve got to move my stock because of it. And you say we have no right to the range. The men that did the work and ran the risks have no rights? I take you for a fair man, Starrett.

Clashes of right and wrong are morally simple, while clashes of competing rights are more morally complex and Shane does a good job showing this, just as it illustrates that we can do a lot with time in this Vale of Tears, but we can’t freeze it.

Jack Palance as hired killer Jack Wilson had his breakthrough role in this film which was populated with flawless performances, many of the actors and actresses involved giving the best work of their careers to this masterpiece.  If you haven’t seen this film, please remedy this omission as soon as possible.

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6 Responses to Video Clips Worth Watching: Shane v. Jack Wilson

  • Not my pick for greatest western ever, but maybe greatest showdown. Scenewise, I’ve always enjoyed the choreography of the Shane/Wilson pas de deux.

  • Wasn’t this gem filmed around the Grand Tetons? (One of the grandest places on the planet)

  • I’ll have to see this film. I’m sure I saw it as a youngster. Age changes us.
    My favorite western is “The Searchers.” I’m not sure the Ford/Wayne cavalry movies fit this genre, but are also favorites. The main attractions, for me, of these movies include the scenery, horsemanship, subplots, characters.
    Someday, I’m abruptly going to jump in the car (I’m way to old for a motorcycle, younger brother tried it last Summer) and head west to give praise to God at His western USA creations.

  • My favorite western is “The Searchers.”


  • T. Shaw.

    Praising God in his western USA creations.
    If you have the time, please travel north to Braniff and Jasper in British Columbia.
    The Artist par excellence did a marvelous job up there as well.

    BTW. 1969 True Grit starring John Wayne is one of my favorite Westerns. The Coen brothers rendition in 2010 wasn’t bad. Mattie had more substance in the later version.

  • Everybody must still be recovering from the excess of tryptophan. Let’s see if we can’t liven the place up a bit, shall we?

    If the greatest western evah isn’t Johnny Guitar, then it must almost certainly be Hawmps!.

Video Clips Worth Watching: Ernst Janning Testifies

Friday, November 20, AD 2015

Ernst Janning: Judge Haywood… the reason I asked you to come: Those people, those millions of people… I never knew it would come to that. You must believe it, you must believe it!

Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Janning, it “came to that” the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Start of a new series.  Burt Lancaster as German Judge Ernst Janning, Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), explains how going along with the Nazis made his life “excrement”.

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5 Responses to Video Clips Worth Watching: Ernst Janning Testifies

  • Great movie.

  • “Herr Janning, it ‘came to that’ the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.”
    Pontius Pilate who decided the fate of Christ preceded Herr Janning. The SCOTUS Justices who decided the fate of unborn babies succeeded Herr Janning. I see no substantive change.

  • BTW, at one point in the video, Herr Janning said, “We must go forward!” Is that not the motto of the Obama Administration?

  • In 1933, just after the NSDAP seized power in Germany, Josef Pilsudski asked France, who then had the biggest army in Europe, to team up with Poland and get rid of the Nazis. Pilsudski told France to occupy the Rhineland, while the Poles would move in from the East. The Nazi government, without significant military strength, would be forced from power.

    France refused. An opportunity to stop the Nazis was lost.

  • Great movie. We lose our way at first making excuses and rationalizing until it then becomes too late.