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April 30, 2009


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Based on the screengrabs, I prefer the 2001 release. Stewart looks TOO bright in the first digital example, TOO clean. I'm a dunderhead when it comes to this discussion, but black and white seems to suffer more in these transfers than color films do.

Anyway, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" is my favorite Ford film. My favorite Wayne film, too. It might have even been my favorite Stewart film, if Hitchcock had never gotten his mitts on him.

Account Deleted

I prefer the 2001 version too...and i'm increasingly concerned about this current trend to want everything to look 'perfect'. Perfect, in most of these cases, means bland.

Steven Santos

It feels like the 2009 restoration is erasing the texture and shadows from the image. In some ways, it is killing the mood the lighting is setting for this particular scene.

Even odder is that all those images show the lamp which is the light source for the room in the context of the scene. So, you wonder why the light in the 2009 restoration is so much brighter and flatter when they're really wouldn't be much natural light in the room?

Pete Apruzzese

Hard to say definitively without seeing them both, but I also prefer the look of the 2001 disc via these screen shots. The 2009 looks like they did digital smoothing then maybe added some edge-enhancement to raise the (perceived) sharpness.


I'm trying to remember something from Pauline Kael's negative review of the period: didn't they shoot the film in color and print it in monochrome? Could that affect the grain issue?


I'll pitch in with the barbarians and vote for '01. That said, I'm not a big fan of this film, despite loving Ford. It seems like the movie that, along with The Birds for Hitchcock, allowed American auteurists to thumb their noses at those who missed the boat...despite the fact that they themselves had just barely missed capitalizing on the directors' best periods (its an interesting irony that auteurism hit its stride in the U.S. just as the Hollywood system American critics were rediscovering collapsed). Its ideas are literary rather than cinematic, as in The Searchers, and the disappointingly studio-bound feel of the movie (something Kael astutely perceived) only emphasizes the somewhat moribund feel of the material.

But what do I know? (Dances off stage with fake grin plastered on face and straw hat in the air while audience pelts tomatoes and boos).


In case that sentence is confusing, I mean too suggest that The Searchers is "more cinematic" than Liberty Valance, not "as literary." I know, I know, evil words. But I think they're true.


cf. "Citizen Kane", where you can recognize in some digitally "refreshed" DVD versions Joseph Cotten sitting in the projection room after the newsreel screening. (Cotten was used as an extra just to fill the room...)


When Digital Restoration is applied to most of the movies that you see today there is very little if any grain reduction done. The main thing that is fixed is the dirt, example: positive and negative dirt, scratches reel markers and other anomalies that are very disturbing to many viewers. I worked on this both times in 525 and 1080p and when I applied restoration to these there was no grain reduction nor any sort of edge enhancement what so ever, the softness that happened probably occurred when the DVD was made by using too much compression.

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