Monday, January 19, 2015

267. SHANE (1953)

Running Time: 118 minutes
Directed By: George Stevens
Written By: A.B. Guthrie Jr., from story by Jack Schaefer
Main Cast: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon deWilde, Jack Palance
Click here to view the trailer

...100 TO GO

Let's not let the fact that I only have 100 movies left to watch before I call it a wrap on the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book stand in my way of the business at hand, which is Shane - a shoddy western from George Stevens starring the good looking Alan Ladd and the nefarious Jack Palance.

The film opens with Shane (Ladd) mounted on horse, traipsing across a picturesque countryside, complete with a deer drinking out of a stream and a towering, purple cast mountains looming overhead. He's approaching the homestead of Joe Starrett (Heflin), his wife Marian (Arthur) and their young son Joey (deWilde). Starrett plays nice at first, but later doesn't make any bones about telling Shane where to go. As Shane exits, a cattle baron, Rufus Ryker rides up, complete with a posse, and has some harsh words for Starrett. Basically Ryker wants Starrett and his friend to exit their land, so that he can seize it and of course, they don't want to. Shane shows himself from behind Starrett (he never left) and the two manage to scare off Ryker and company, for now. Starrett thanks Shane for the backup and offers him a hot supper and a place to stay. The two bond by tearing out a stump that Starrett had been working on for years and become fast friends. The rest of the film basically shows Ryker's men bullyng Starrett, Shane and company, burning down one of the men's homes, roughing them up more than once and calling in ace gunslinger Wilson (Palance) as one last ditch effort to move the homesteaders out. What they don't know is that Shane is a reformed gunslinger, who doesn't want to strap up his holster anymore, but won't rule it out if the going gets tough.


This is your basic, run of the mill western. It's the kind of thing I'd see my grandparents watching on Saturday afternoon, the fire undoubtedly running, as they seemed to always be cold. It had the music of a western, the feel of a western, the look of a western - it was a western through and through. I don't mind westerns totally, but I prefer a little uniqueness with my westerns and in fact, I think I'm more of a modern western type man. I dug McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Once Upon a Time in the West, westerns that really made an impact on me and showed me what the genre was capable of. Westerns like Shane, Johnny Guitar and most of the John Wayne vehicles, usually leave me wanting more and leave me wanting out by film's end. I won't say I hated Shane, but it wasn't even an average western and honestly, I had the whole thing played out in my head before the thing even ended. Shane would eventually buckle up his holster and head into town for one, final showdown with Wilson, who he'd shoot and kill, maybe taking a bullet in the shoulder for his trouble, maybe not. It was a paint by numbers movie and it dragged along at a snails pace, at times. If you're a lover of westerns I'm sure you can find many reasons to consider this among the best in it's genre, but for someone like me, who just isn't into the whole horses and spurs era, it's a tough watch. And damn, was that little kid annoying or what? Also, were we to believe that Shane and Marian had an affair? I think so. I think they just couldn't outright say that and of course, they couldn't show it, so they just used heavy innuendo to make us assume that that's what happened. That aspect of the story was sort of interesting, I guess. Maybe fans of the film can enlighten me more on the exact intended nature of the relationship between the married woman and the gunslinger...

RATING: 4/10  And that's a wrap folks. It's hard to say when I'll be back for the TOP 20 write up, but more than likely it'll be tomorrow.


January 19, 2015  7:22pm


  1. Oooh yes.. lets have a good agree on how utterly irritating the kid was.

    And, yes.. a very run of the mill western. For what is regarded as such a classic, there is little to make it stand out. It passes.. apart from wanting someone to shoot the kid (I jest, I jest, put me down people..)

    And Oh yes, I'm sure we are supposed to believe Shane and Marion 'had their moment'

    4 is fair.

    1. I'm in total agreement. Why is this western regarded as one of the best ones? It's so ordinary. And that KID! So annoying! Glad we're in agreement


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