After the death of her husband, Marian Starett takes on the arduous task of both raising a son, Joey, and protecting her farm from ruthless land baron Ryker. Nomadic gunfighter Shane ... See full summary »
Shane rides into a conflict between cattleman Ryker and a bunch of settlers, like Joe Starrett and his family, whose land Ryker wants. When Shane beats up Ryker's man Chris, Ryker tries to buy him. Then Shane and Joe take on the whole Ryker crew. Ryker sends to Cheyenne for truly evil gunslinger Wilson. Shane must clear out all the guns from the valley. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Shane" should be required viewing for anyone setting out to make a film. It tells its story visually, through subtext, and creates a realistic portrait of people; it is also emotionally and morally complex. It is never stated that Shane had been a gunfighter; we just understand this, from his appearance and from what we glean through the dialogue. Likewise, there are no overt moments of intimacy between Shane and Marion (Mrs. Starrett), but we are aware that there is a deep attraction between them. When Joe, Marian's husband, realizes it, it is not because of anything he states, just a line at the 4th of July party, when Marian (in her wedding dress) is dancing with Shane: "Looks like I'm fenced out," and what is spoken as a joke becomes serious as we watch the expression on his face. The closest he comes to actually saying anything is toward the end, when he's going to ride into town to face Ryker, and tells Marian that if anything happens to him he knows she'll be taken care of. Likewise, at the end of the film, when little Joey is calling across the plains for Shane to "come back," he yells to Shane, "Mother wants you, I know she does," and the words echo back, we see a close up of Joey, his expression changing, and we know the child realizes too that Shane does (or could) mean something more to his mother.
Stevens also didn't make the "bad guys" black-and-white villains. We understand that these men fought and tamed the land and are now being displaced by the homesteaders. What they want might not be fair, but it is not completely unreasonable either.
Most of the scenes, even the simple ones, play in montage. It looks as though Stevens shot each scene from about 15 different angles and edited them together. The effect is striking.
Far and away one of the best films ever.
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