While John Ford would go on to direct several more pictures after this one, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance represents a sort of exclamation point of one of most celebrated directorial careers in American film. His previous high-water mark, The Searchers, was a film torn between the conventions of a previous era and emerging modern sensibilities. Liberty Valance is thoroughly modern by 1962 standards and virtually timeless by any other.
Directed by John Frankenheimer, this film teams with his masterpiece The Manchurian Candidate to form a potent one-two punch of Cold War paranoia. The earlier film, with Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey, boasted a more complex plot and a layer of political satire that’s not found here. That doesn’t make Seven Days in May a lesser film, just a different one with different goals. Continue reading