The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Continuity mistake: The colour of John Wayne's shirt changes from black to grey after entering the burnt out building. It can not be dust, as the covering is far too even and complete, and a couple of shots later it is black once more.

Mad Ade

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Tom Doniphon: Liberty Valance's the toughest man south of the Picketwire - next to me.

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Question: When Ranse confronts Liberty and reaches for the dropped gun, there appears to be something written at Ranse's feet in the dirt. What is it?

Answer: At first glance, it looks like the word "LEFT" in large, widely-spaced lettering. It's very unlikely that this would be a blocking cue, telling Jimmy Stewart to move left (which he does from that point). That's not the way blocking cues are done, for one thing, and a seasoned actor such as Jimmy Stewart wouldn't need such a cue. It's also very unlikely that it's a warning message from John Wayne who is hiding in an alley across the street, on Stewart's right. John Wayne didn't want anyone to know that he actually killed Valance, so he wouldn't alert Jimmy Stewart with any messages scrawled in the street. All hypothesis aside, it's probably just footprints in the dirt, an illusion of light and shadow.

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