Shane (1953) Poster

(1953)

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9/10
A classic western
Tweekums14 May 2019
This classic western is set in a remote part of Wyoming Territory where tensions are rising between those who wish to farm and those who want to graze their cattle on the open range. Shane, a retired gunslinger trying to leave his past behind, comes into the territory and starts working for Joe Starrett. He soon befriends the family, especially their young son Joey. The Starretts and their farming neighbours are being pressured to leave by cattleman Rufus Ryker and his hired thugs. Shane wishes to avoid conflict but Ryker's man make that impossible. Things only get worse when Ryker hires a gunslinger and other settlers decide they've had enough... inevitably Shane will have to reach for his gun once again.

If you are a fan of westerns then this is a must see; it might not be packed with action... in fact much of it is about avoiding violence and the desire to 'remove guns from the valley', but that doesn't stop there being a good sense of tension throughout. The central plot is a classic of the genre that has been reused in plenty of films since, including a couple of Clint Eastwood classics. Being filmed on location rather than a typical Californian backdrop certainly adds to the film with majestic mountains towering over the valley. There is a good air of mystery about Shane; it is strongly suggested that he had a violent past but it is never explicitly state what he used to do; Alan Ladd does a fine job in the role. The rest of the cast are solid too. The villains are suitably menacing but avoid being pantomime villains thanks to a speech Ryker gives about how changes are effecting those who were 'there first'... of course he ignores the fact that his kind followed in the footsteps of those who have now long gone. Overall I'd definitely recommend this to all fans of the genre... there is little to cause offence so it is suitable for all but the youngest viewers.
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9/10
A classic
kcterrell-2504618 January 2019
A beautifully directed, acted and filmed masterpiece. Cooper at his best. The first half of the film is a little anti-climatic as we are left to wonder who Shane really is. Even though he first shows up a the ranch with his guns slung low (a classic Western image of a gunfighter), we are left wondering who this man truly is. Cooper is humble and pretends to be down-trodden until the last 30 minutes of the film. Then he is forced to show his hand and revert to his roots.

Kudos to Buchanan, Ladd and the other supporting actors who really pull this off as one of the best classic Westerns of all time. Viewers may be amused to find Nancy Kulp (Jane Hathaway) in a supporting role. Watch for her. Anyone who is a fan of the old Westerns will find this moral story satisfying. This is a true black hat/white hate movie. As a kid, I loved this kind of story, but Cooper makes this one more multi-layered and interesting. Three cheers for Shane!
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9/10
The first king of cool
tomsview28 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The old saying, "It's the journey, not the destination" is true of the great showdowns in Westerns. It's the build-up, not the actual gunfight that delivers the real punch. "High Noon" is all build up - it's the classic. However the final confrontation between Shane (Alan Ladd) and Jack Wilson (Jack Palance) in "Shane" holds its own.

Although the film accepts a gun culture as a matter of course, Shane, played by Alan Ladd, admits that the days of the gunfighter are over.

As for the stars, they have all gone now - even Brandon deWilde, but it was perfect casting with Alan Ladd bringing something special to the role.

There are some showy performances in the film. Jack Palance, dangerous as he warns Shane, "I wouldn't push too far if I were you" while Brandon deWilde's hero-worshipping looks of amazement almost steal the show. Ben Johnson, Elisha Cook Jnr., and Emile Meyer as Rufus Ryker also created arresting characters.

However, Alan Ladd's stillness provided the perfect counterbalance to all the fireworks - even if his final ride into the distance with that haemorrhaging wound would today have paramedics working overtime to stabilise the patient.

Growing up in the 1950's, Alan Ladd was one the stars we saw most often at Saturday afternoon matinees. Nowadays I watch his movies with a sense of nostalgia, and a touch of sadness knowing his back-story - the impoverished childhood, the troubled mother etc. Despite this, it appears he was loyal to other actors further down the cast list and showed kindness to ones that were struggling emotionally like Gail Russell.

You read that he worried about his height. There are stories about other actors having to walk in a trench beside him. Apparently he was about 5'6" although speculation about his true height varied so much you would almost think he was "The Incredible Shrinking Man".

That aside, "Shane", with memorable performances, stunning scenery and a distinctive Victor Young score, more than lives up to its reputation.
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9/10
A MASTERPIECE THAT CAN NEVER BE REPLACED !
showbiz-richard-334-9883796 September 2018
I have viewed this film 35 times in my lifetime since I was in my teens in the 1950's . It is in my "Special 10 Greatest Films of all Time". I am not potentially a Western lover . . . but "SHANE" is so different in so many different ways :- Story , Actors, Photography and Direction. Alan Ladd & Brandon deWilde both deserved Academy Awards. If you have never seen this film, please put it on your 'Must See' list. I can guarantee you will love it !
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9/10
A Western that stands the test of time
calebrcrann4 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
After its heavy prominence in 2017's Logan, I thought Shane would be a film worth checking out. While the film is over sixty years old, I was pleasantly surprised at just how much the picture still holds up today. While Shane works as a piece of entertainment, the everlasting value comes from what's behind the surface. The film is supposed to be an allegory about the end of the gunslinger era, and by the end we come to understand this. From the beautiful landscape cinematography to the committed performances of the main cast, it is no wonder that Shane has been revered as one of the greatest Westerns of all time. What makes Shane truly stand out however are its themes. From the coming of age young Joe goes through, we cant help too but to marvel at Shane. Despite his reservation as a closeted man, he beams of confidence. This isn't a cold blooded killer, but it is someone who has done things he regrets. When Shane is forced to go down that path once more, its made all the more potent as we know he must leave the valley. Running away from your past isn't easy, and Shane knows this all too well. As he tells young Joey, "There's no living for the killing". As Joey yells for him to come back, you cant help but get a little weepy eyed.

So what is the final verdict? There isn't much that hasn't already been said about this film, but the answer is clear. The stakes are high, and this film soars. Shane is a pure classic of cinema. As much as older movies can grow dated, the heart of this story will remain its crowning jewel. For that reason, Shane will remain a gem for a very long time. If you haven't, see it already!
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9/10
A touching western with awesome cinematography.
Fella_shibby23 August 2017
I first saw this in the early 90s. Revisited it recently on a DVD which i own. When you love a western, it's a film like Shane that you go back to time and time again. Everything has already been said about this great film n there seems to be little left to say but as a fan of western films, lemme contribute by praising how good this film is. The single greatest asset is the wonderful cinematography. The mountains, the lakes, the hills, farms n houses all looked straight outta poetry n painting. Loyal Griggs did an amazing work with the film's cinematography. The story is about a mysterious gunfighter (Alan Ladd) who helps a farming family against cattle barons wanting the farmers land. Jack Palance in a role of pure malevolence with his evil smirk n few dialogues. George Stevens' direction is truly stunning. He made a very touching film. This film has contributed a lot towards the western genre.
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9/10
Retired gunslinger returns to defeat scheming cowmen.
dfwesley17 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
One of my all time favorite westerns. Alan Ladd, Van Heflin, and Jack Palance give fine performances in this classic. Jean Arthur is the wife trying to save her husband and Elisha Cook, Jr., is the heroic but outgunned homesteader. Heflin is the righteous husband who has the courage, but not the fighting skills, to confront his enemies.

Palance steals the show as the vicious hired killer. His confrontation with Cook is riveting as he humiliates and then shoots him down in the street mud. Palance's every move is sinister He is so evil that even the dog slinks away from him.

Jack meets his end at the hands of Shane in an epic gun battle. Shane challenges, baits him into drawing, and shoots first. His commentary on the dead man is "He was fast." Shane then blasts the rest of that evil family who is about to ambush him.

The movie ends as Shane, wounded, rides off into the twilight, and little Brandon de Wilde, who has witnessed the battle, calls after him wistfully to no avail.
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9/10
Alan Ladd as the mysterious and noble Shane in a Towering Western classic
Wuchakk28 August 2016
Released in 1953, "Shane" is a Western starring Alan Ladd in the titular role as a laconic drifter who takes up residence as a farmhand with a family of homesteaders in a Wyoming valley. While the family loves him there's a range war brewing as tough cattle baron Rufus Ryker (Emile Meyer) and his mean men (e.g. Ben Johnson) utilize intimidation tactics to scare the settlers out and seize their land, which was lawfully claimed under the Homestead Acts. Ryker is so determined he resorts to hiring an infamous gunfighter (Jack Palance). Van Heflin, Jean Arthur and Brandon De Wilde co-star as the father, mother and son of settler family. Elisha Cook Jr. has an important role as a brave-but-foolish ex-Confederate homesteader.

"Shane" is a classic Western that has influenced so many others, like Clint Eastwood's "Pale Rider" (1985) and Sam Elliott's "The Quick and the Dead" (1987). In fact, "Pale Rider" is an almost wholesale rip-off, although I'm sure director/star Eastwood would call it an homage. The question is, can "Shane" stand the test of time? This depends on if you can acclimate to its datedness, e.g. the lame old-fashioned score, the Waltons-like elements ("Good niiiight, Shane!") and the Disney-ish (and sometimes annoying) kid. I could adapt and therefore relish the movie. The way life out West in the late 1800s is depicted is more realistic than a lot of more modern Westerns, particularly "Pale Rider," which included a supernatural angle, but also Westerns like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," which is too goofy and mythic to be believable.

The success of "Shane" hinged on whether or not Ladd could pull of the key role. One critic criticized that he lacked the "charismatic stature" for the part. While he was only a little over 5'6" he made up for it with his laconic, but noble charisma and thus towers in the role. It was the same with his underrated 1948 Western "Whispering Smith." I knew a guy in High School who was a little shorter than Ladd, but he had this Fonzy-like charisma that attracted the hottest babes and no one dared mess with him because he was a genuinely badaxx dude, short or not. It's the same with Ladd in "Shane."

Speaking of attracting the babes, this is a somewhat subtle sub-theme of "Shane." Marian is naturally attracted to the drifter, but she's too wise to do something morally foolish. So she sticks faithfully to her (lesser) man and keeps the flames of her attraction to Shane down to loving admiration & respect, but it's obviously not easy at times.

There are numerous other highlights, like Ryker's fascinating and understandable explanation for WHY he does what he does and finds it justifiable. Then there's the knock-down-drag-out brawl at the end of the first act, which is totally serious and lacks the lame this-is-all-a-joke element of some Wayne Westerns (speaking as one who loves most of Wayne's Westerns). The magnificently shocking death of Stonewall Torrey (Cook Jr.) and the closing showdown are other standout sequences. Then there's the spectacular Grand Teton locations and Shane's notable refusal of filthy lucre. Not everyone can be bought at the expense of righteousness.

The film ends on a mysterious note (***SPOILER ALERT***) as Shane is clearly wounded when he rides off alone, disappearing into the night. Why doesn't he at least get his wound checked at the Starrett's ranch before leaving? My guess is the mutual attraction with Marian. To him, it's better to take his chances making it to the next town than risk hurting the beautiful Starrett family because Shane loves them so much. And this reveals another highlight of the movie: It has heart.

The film runs 118 minutes and was shot in Grand Teton National Park & Jackson Hole, Wyoming; San Bernardino National Forest, California; and Iverson Ranch & Paramount Studios, Los Angeles.

GRADE: A
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9/10
The overall rating is wrong
okruss24 October 2014
There is something wrong when a movie such as Shane garners an overall rating of only 7.7. Shane is considered to be one of the best Westerns (and movies) ever filmed. The camera work, cinematography, acting and storyline are all top notch. I did not give Shane a rating of 10 only because I felt that the graveyard scene was a little too drawn-out and slow. Yet, the overall movie is excellent. The final shoot-out in Grafton's Saloon is one of the best of all time. In fact it IS the best of all time. It is brief but it blows your socks off. To anyone who feels that Shane is not such a great movie, perhaps some day you will learn how to appreciate and critique movies that deserve commendation.
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9/10
One of Hollywood's most powerful productions
ra-kamal28 September 2014
A powerful movie that significantly raised the bar for western movie productions until the emergence of the spaghetti westerns ten years later. A common western film theme of the skilled gunfighter (Alan Ladd as Shane) trying hard to steer away from his violent past; in this case finding solace in settling in with a homesteading family. But, evil comes a calling and the gunfighter is forced back to his gun to save his adopted family from evil land-grabbers who up the ante by hiring a professional gunfighter (Jack Palance). The theme itself is far from unusual for western movies. The difference in this production was the clever way the storyline was shrouded in mysteries. Mysteries that make the viewer think and think and think. One measure of a successful movie production, in fact, is its ability to keep the viewer thinking about what he or she saw, many weeks, months or even years later. Did the homesteader's wife (Jean Arthur) fall for our hero? Did her son (Brandon De Wilde) admire our hero more than he did his farmer father (Van Heflin)? The ending was the most intriguing puzzle of them all; does Shane ride off wounded into the night to die alone or is he off to simply rejoin the ways of the gunfighter in realization that it is not possible to escape being a gunfighter and simply reenter the productive hardworking civilian family life. In support of the first case scenario the production has the hero gliding through a graveyard as he rides out of the movie into the night slightly slumped and nursing a stiffened wounded arm. The second scenario is supported by a handful of innuendos sprinkled throughout the movie about the endless fate of gunfighters to remain part of that violent subculture, unable to simply revert into a peaceful profession.

The boy's admiration for the hero, best illustrated in his desperate cries for Shane to come back, as the hero rides out of the movie into the night, touched the hearts of a whole generation of young boys growing up in the 50s and 60s becoming one of the movie industry's most iconic scenes ever. Whether the boy's cries are interpreted as cries for a departing security screen or as cries from a broken heart; coming of age boys learned that as you admired your father, it was also perfectly permissible to simultaneously idolize an alter hero role model as portrayed by the mysterious savior riding out of the mist to sacrificially face up to evil that threatens the order of which you are a part of.

The breathtaking majestic mountain scenery of the blue-gray Grand Tetons in Wyoming as backdrop was a valuable addition to the Shane story adding an ingredient of natural awe to the unfolding subplots of the storyline. The theme song of the film "The Call of the Faraway Hills" parallels the backdrop of the entire story. The hero image is cleverly played up in the production as the camera tracks our hero's long horseback trot at dusk into town for the climatic showdown, with the soundtrack accentuating the image of the lone hero riding back into the life that he had failed to shed. The power of this movie is its ability to glorify the gunfighter as it wraps him in pathos.
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9/10
Solid Gem of its Genre
marcin_kukuczka13 July 2014
Along with its obvious echoes of the specific period in Hollywood, SHANE stands out as one of the most enduring western classics. George Stevens, the California-born director who invented his own approach, brought something powerful and captivating in this work. Clearly, the movie reveals typical western landmarks, including the uncomplicated nature of the plot, certain idealization, no sophistication of characters, no duality of human nature and the geographical context as the backdrop. The centerpiece, however, are the characters that George Stevens and screenwriter A.B. Guthrie, the Professor at the University of Kentucky, supply with a 'western flair.' The most appealing one is, of course, the protagonist, Shane - a rider from wilderness heading for wilderness.

In George Stevens' notes, as the director's son points out in the disc commentary, he wrote: "You have to feel that Shane is on his way somewhere." The word 'way' sets the tone for the entire movie. Therefore, a viewer cannot ignore the obvious link between the geographical background and the characters who are incorporated into the context of the magnificent Teton Mountains. In this idyll, recalling the opening scene of simplicity, the story of genuine, good hearted homesteaders struggling against the cruel cattlemen takes place. In between comes Shane, he is not exactly the Shane of the book, there is liberty taken with the original literary source (he is not a man worn all in black) but he is, undeniably the courage incarnate and the embodiment of all values.

Initially, Montgomery Clift had been considered for the role but, at the moment, we might say FORTUNATELY, Alan Ladd was finally cast for the lead. Thanks to him, we have a straight and strong protagonist supplied with necessary vitality. Combining the energetic interpretation of a brave man of honor and the flamboyant portrayal of a temperamental man of choice, Alan Ladd leaves barely any viewer indifferent to his screen achievement. Equally skillful at fighting at Grafton's as supporting the homesteaders, his scenes are filled with vital action and increasing tension.

Our attention is also drawn by other characters. Let me start with the goodies...A young boy, Joey, seemingly the other protagonist of the story played by Brandon DeWilde is another great child acting achievement. Awed by the sound of gunshot and inspired by Shane's independence, he entirely holds the gist of the finale, which aids it, simultaneously, in its impact. His father Joe (played by Van Heflin) appears to embody certain combination of decent yet naive attitude, sometimes ridiculously naive. The major 'goodness incarnate' occurs to be Stonewall Torrey (Elisha Cook Jr) whose courageous toast to the sovereign state of Alabama and cruel death along with the touching funeral constitute the movie's major scenes of heartfelt emotions and touching sentimentality. Jean Arthur gives a nice performance as the female character in the story, the one who manifest certain animosity towards gun and an almost idealized mother and wife. Ben Johnson, a famous radio presenter at the time, plays Chris, the only character who undergoes change. Now a little bit about the baddies...

Here, everything might be focused on the performance of one man: Jack Palance as villainous Wilson, one of the Rykers, the cattlemen who become a true nightmare of the homesteaders. He is given considerably short time on the screen, yet, his performance supplies the movie with the essential western depiction of wickedness.

And where is George Stevens noticeable particularly?

On the subject of his concern for the test of time, we can all agree that Mr Stevens succeeded in this respect. SHANE, in spite of its three strip Technicolor, has not dated. The director's style, however, is most clearly revealed in 'observing camera' where action is in the eyesight of a character and a viewer. Consider, for instance, the scene of the fight where little Joey is showed to be observing the scene, actually, the same manner as viewers do. It is nicely observed in the disc commentary that the scene is energized by who is watching it (Ivan Moffat and George Stevens Jr). To the artistic advantage of the movie, it is important to add great music score by Victor Young which heavily relies on folk songs, including "The Call of the Faraway Hills" and the costumes that place the characters within the historical, geographical as well as genre context.

SHANE is an essential classic western very highly recommended and a film where truly great Hollywood echoes. Strong solid ground of reputation and a gem of its genre.
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9/10
my key to liking "Shane".
tmwest27 April 2014
I had a problem with Shane, I saw it for the first time in 1957 when I was 14 years old and my way of thinking at that time (as of many guys of my age) was that I had outgrown westerns of the conventional type, with good guys like Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy, and was looking for more complex heroes like the "James Stewart-Anthony Mann" and the "John Wayne-Ethan Edwards". "Alan Ladd-Shane" was too much like the first group I mentioned, and it took me until recently, even though I saw the film many times to finally admit it was a great film. What changed my mind was the book "Five Came Back" from Mark Harris, which tells the story of George Stevens (among other directors) in the army in Europe during the war, and how he was traumatized by what he saw in the concentration camps. "Shane" was deeply influenced by this trauma, showing the differences in the lives of a gunfighter(Ladd) and a typical family (Heflin, Arthur and De Wilde), and how killing changes a man.
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9/10
One of the best.
robert-259-2895412 March 2014
It's doubtful that anyone's going to read this, but "Shane" is one of my Top Six Westerns. The word I would use to describe this film is, "lyrical." It has a beautiful, wistful look that exemplifies the best of the genre, and certainly due to the remarkable talents of George Stevens, his trademarks all over this film classic. Although I've never been a huge Ladd fan, alas, his efforts here remain his best, in my opinion. While quite small in stature, his vocal command was in full bloom, and what I especially liked about his performance was his BODY LANGUAGE. He carried himself with a degree of grace and elegance that belied his diminutive size. As somewhat of a "gun slinger aficionado," the way he carried and fired his gun was a thing of beauty... an effortless, fluid, natural movement that looked totally authentic, certainly adding to the Wild West mythic of this wonderful film. P.S.— My friend was an actual stand-in on this film, and was partly responsible for one of the most memorable shots on the movie. Remember when they were laying the murdered farmer into the open grave? The reason the dog was reacting to the coffin being lowered is because MY FRIEND WAS IN IT, WHISTLING AND ATTRACTING THE ATTENTION OF THE POOCH. It was very "low tech," but it worked beautifully!
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9/10
Great
Cosmoeticadotcom7 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Mythic realism. That's the perfect term to describe director George Stevens' 1953 classic color Western Shane, one of the most unlikely great films I've ever seen. That's because much of the 117 minute long film plays out as if it's cheesy, with its lone, virtuous gunman who stands apart and above all others (a precursor to Clint Eastwood's characters in Sergio Leone's revolutionary Dollars Trilogy of spaghetti westerns), as a western version of the fathers of perfect nuclear families of the Eisenhower era sitcoms. Yet, below is a roiling realism that only serves to heighten the mythos, by contrast. This is the tension that is so unusual, yet remarkably powerful. I may have, when a boy, seen this film, in black and white, on television, for some scenes resonated as if I'd seen them long ago. Then again, such a seeming familiarity is part of the province of myth, and why this film achieves its greatness. It's a greatness that is wholly distinct from the more modern sort of Western that Leone pioneered in the following decade. Leone's films' greatness (especially his westerns) was based upon a knowledge of film, as a medium and art, whereas Shane reaches far back into the eons, to portray its lead character as something akin to a god, in a way as primal as the Gilgamesh epic. In this sense, what many of the film's detractors view as corniness, is archetypal characters and behaviors. But Stevens leavens this with well written characters and situations, and, to his credit, with believable villains who have real motivations, ones which actually gain a good deal of sympathy in the viewer.

Shane has so many elements that modern cineastes tend to look down on- a defense of basic human virtues, a hero that is not tortured nor clay-footed, and a triumph of real honor, yet it is a better, and, yes, greater, film than just about any other western directed by anyone not named Leone, and is certainly greater than any of the westerns that starred John Wayne in them; which, by comparison, almost always reek of artifice, on some level. In many ways, it is a filmic myth that shares many elements with the myth delivered in Herman Hesse's novella, Siddhartha; which features a similar hero encountering his own rather diurnal opposition, but in a manner that elevates him, and his tale, to something more. But it also features a child-like perspective that wipes away any possible excesses of these pre-Modern 'sins,' and in this regard the film joins two other worthy and underlooked films as classics of filmic child portrayals: Toho Studios' 1969 Godzilla's Revenge and 1944's The Curse Of The Cat People, directed by Robert Wise and produced by Val Lewton. Its mythic realism is so endemic to Shane that, strange as it sounds, the first and greatest film that comes to mind in matching it, in that regard, is Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Yet, one can also see direct influences from it: note the scene where the family goes to sleep, and Joey and his parents say goodnight, along with each other's names, and Joey ends the scene by shouting out to Shane, who sleeps in the barn, 'Goodnight, Shane!,' and one can see where the 1970s television drama, The Waltons, got its episode ending sequence of family members shouting goodnight to each other.

Shane is a film that spans the range of the human and cinematic experience, and it does so in a way that is classic, in the best sense of the word; from a scene where Shane and Starrett remove a tree stump and bond to the final image of Shane's lonesome ride back to the mountain skies, and is a pure fable. But it's a great one, and that's not an understatement.
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9/10
Shane and the American Male
govett19 December 2011
If a culture makes a people, Shane made the people--at least the men--of my generation. The Shane - High Noon - Man Who Shot Liberty Valance theme still resonates in our minds: Do what's right, despite the opposition, despite the lack of support from others. BTW, it's too bad the kid, Brandon De Wilde, was killed in a traffic accident at age 30 in 1972. He still lives on, though. Victor Young's music is first rate. If a culture makes a people, Shane made the people--at least the men--of my generation. The Shane - High Noon - Man Who Shot Liberty Valance theme still resonates in our minds: Do what's right, despite the opposition, despite the lack of support from others. BTW, it's too bad the kid, Brandon De Wilde, was killed in a traffic accident at age 30 in 1972. He still lives on, though. Victor Young's music is first rate.
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9/10
Still A Great Watch...
screenman9 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Alan Ladd heads a fine, mostly B-list, cast in this iconic western from the golden age of operatic presentation.

He's the mysterious stranger 'Shane' riding out of oblivion. Shane might be a lethal man to confront. Yet he's a basically good man, too - one for whom bad decisions in youth have tainted his destiny with bleakness. He is fearless in a fight, and peerless with a gun. These qualities enable him to behave with restraint and modesty. The insecurities that cause most of us to feel threatened don't influence him. And here he comes, a distant horseman exquisitely filmed in the golden sunlit, broad sweeping vistas of Americas west.

Shane is handsome, youthful and amenable, yet there's something mysterious about him too. That combination of fearlessness and modesty make him enigmatic. You can tell there's more to him than meets the eye. Something hitherto undisclosed sustains that quiet confidence.

He's the perfect character for a child's hero. And young Joey, watching his arrival will soon worship him. Van Heflin is the able rancher called Joe Starrett. He's a match for Shane in most ways but a gunfight. Not so handsome, perhaps; yet Joe is just as stout of heart and sound in character. Each have taken their decisions and applied their skills to life. There is an immediate bond of mutual respect. Joe's wife, Marian, also admires him. She finds him attractive in a way that any woman would. Yet she's a good wife who would never willingly compromise what she has. And Shane wants to outrun his troubled past; he would never lead her astray, out of respect for them both as well as their son.

Yet a man may be doomed to accept his destiny. Shane's arrival is apt to the moment; there's trouble between the smallholders and a baron who wants them out. Ony killing will resolve the issue.

This movie sets-up and quietly runs the plot of classic western opera at a pace that's near perfect. The littleness of human purpose seems etched into the vast wilderness. Characters are simple, but neatly described. I particularly like Elisha Cook Jr's character as the prickly former Confederate. Script is equally straightforward and believable. It's a treat to watch.

Good and bad in conflict, goodness prevails at a price.

There is nothing particularly outstanding about this movie. No one element outshines another. The result is just better than its parts. Clint Eastwood re-made it as 'Pale Rider' as part of his western revision. His was also an excellent work, but not better.

The slightly languid pace of 'Shane', epitomised by the lines 'Someone's coming pa,' 'Well, let them come,' may not suit the impatient, but those who are willing to set a spell gain a handsome reward.

Highly recommended.
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9/10
a sagebrush classic, but it needs a big screen
mjneu592 January 2011
The American West was always too large to accommodate mere mortals, so when Alan Ladd first rides into view, framed by the antlers of a noble stag, we know the stage is being set for a two-fisted myth of epic proportions. The title character isn't just another reluctant gunman; he's a knight-errant of the sagebrush, troubled by the violence in his past but unable to refuse a helping hand (and gun) to peaceable homesteaders in conflict with greedy ranchers. Women admire him, men respect him, little boys adore him (listen to the passion in young Brandon De Wilde's voice when he speaks his idol's name), but Shane is cursed with the brand of a loner and soon has to move on. It's a thin line between legend and cliché, but for all its stock characters and familiar plot lines this slow, stately prairie romance still packs an emotional punch. And when the enigmatic hero finally rides off into the sunset, with De Wilde's farewell cry echoing off the majestic Grand Tetons in the distance, he succeeds in trading one myth for another, more enduring image, becoming an immortal icon of the silver screen.
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9/10
A whole lot to like...though I am not quite as bowled over by this film as some...
MartinHafer11 May 2010
"Shane" has long been considered one of the greatest westerns ever made. And, while I really, really like the film, I can't say I'd put it among the very best. Exceptional, but not in the same category as a few of the best westerns such as "The Big Country" and "High Noon"--though it is close.

First, let's talk about what's to like in the film. The single greatest asset is the wonderful cinematography. The mountains are breathtaking and it's an amazingly pretty film. You can see why it won the Best Cinematography category at the Oscars. Part of this is, of course, due to the fantastic work by the cameramen. Part of this is also due to director George Stevens' great eye and wonderful pacing throughout the film. In addition, Alan Ladd was never better. Here, he IS tough but his character has more depth--he's more than a cookie-cutter type good guy. It also helped that he had some excellent backup through a marvelous performance by Van Heflin--a vastly underrated actor despite him having receive one Best Supporting Actor statuette in his career. And, in an uncharacteristic performance, Jack Palance was quite and subtle--and wonderful as one of the villains. I think what helped his performance is that he was used sparingly--and when he was there, his quite strength also worked great.

Now, what were the shortcomings--no matter how small. Here is where I think I am going to ruffle a few feathers. While Brandon De Wilde received many kudos for his performance, I really felt it was uneven. Yes, his wide-eyed surprised look when Shane showed him how to shoot was great and he was generally pretty good. However, a few times I really, really felt his character was a bit annoying as well--such as his running about yelling "bang, bang" too often--I just wanted to see Jean Arthur backhand him! As for Arthur, she was decent--but this probably wasn't her best performance--though she was one marvelous actress throughout her career. She's not bad, mind you, but her character is the problem--there just isn't much depth to her. Neither of these problems were huge--but enough to keep me from giving the film a 10---which would indicated perfection.

Overall, a truly wonderful western--one that is in many ways reminiscent of some of Randolph Scott's later films--but with better camera-work and an even slower and more leisurely pace.
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9/10
The Definitive Crowd-Pleaser
FightingWesterner26 December 2009
With hundreds and hundreds of mysterious dudes with violent pasts appearing across movie screens in the nearly sixty years since, it's hard to imagine (unless you were there) just how groundbreaking a picture Shane really was and still is.

It's satisfying western mythology of the highest order and still quite compelling, with it's mix of audience manipulation (the good kind) and neat, thrilling action.

The deceptively simple story is made great by it's breathtaking, Oscar winning cinematography and great performances by Alan Ladd and especially Van Heflin as Shane's stubborn employer, Emile Meyer and Jack Palance as the villains.

Meyer is especially good in the scene where he explains the motivations behind his reign of terror. Palance is nasty in the scene where he murders ex-Confederate/homesteader Elisha Cook Jr.

Other great scenes (and there's a lot!) include Shane's confrontations with Ben Johnson, the later fight between him and Starrett, and the excellent final showdown.
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9/10
Still Golden Age Hollywood's Must-See Western, Still a Masterful Work
EUyeshima4 September 2009
Filmmaker George Stevens' ("A Place in the Sun") meticulous mastery over the cinematic medium has never been more present than in this 1953 classic, a film that managed to reinvigorate the then-tired Western genre thanks to the director's stunning sense of composition and his sure hand with an excellent cast. Haunted by his traumatizing experience heading up a combat motion picture unit during World War II, Stevens made far more sober, serious-minded films afterward that focused on the plights of society's outsiders. This time, the outsider is primarily the eponymous gunman, but that sense of personal isolation is felt one way or another by every principal character in the film. Written by A.B. Guthrie Jr. and inspired by the infamous Johnson County War (which also inspired Michael Cimino's infamous disaster, "Heaven's Gate"), the story unwinds slowly as a reformed gunslinger stumbles upon a resolute conflict between peace-loving "sodbusters" and threatening cattle ranchers in 1870's Wyoming. Tensions escalate when Shane's bloody past comes back to haunt him as he defends the homesteaders, in particular, the Starrett family.

Shane becomes close to the family, especially the young son Joey who worships him as the hero figure that his father cannot seem to be. Complicating matters is corrupt cattle baron Rufus Ryker, who wants to rid the valley of the farming families to allow his cattle to roam free. When Ryder recruits a ruthless outlaw named Jack Wilson to instill fear into the farmers, it forces a showdown with the inevitable consequences. For a western, there is one major fist fight and surprisingly little gunplay; however, the impact of those events has strict dramatic purpose and brings a pervasive sense of mortality to this oft-told story. Character actor Van Heflin ("Airport") is often overlooked in reviews of this picture, yet he effectively provides the film's sometimes precarious backbone as Joe Starrett, the moral compass for the homesteaders. In her last big-screen role, Jean Arthur brings a subtle poignancy with only a hint of her past scintillating charm as his wife Marian. Stevens coaxed the 51-year-old Arthur to make the film after a five-year absence from the screen, and she slips easily into the painterly backdrop emerging almost fleetingly as a conflicted woman with an unspoken affection for Shane.

Much more demonstrative in his love for the gunslinger is ten-year-old Brandon De Wilde, who gives an indelibly memorable performance as Joey. In one of his earliest roles, Jack Palance barely has any dialogue or screen time for that matter, but he makes every menacing moment count as Wilson. Nevertheless, it is the underrated Alan Ladd ("This Gun for Hire") who brings the picture together with a superbly rendered performance in the taciturn title role. Known unfairly for his misperceived diminutive stature (he was actually 5'6"), the actor vividly captures Shane's sense of honor and remorse with a barely concealable fury. You will likely recognize Ben Johnson ("The Last Picture Show"), Edgar Buchanan ("Petticoat Junction"), Ellen Corby ("The Waltons"), and Elisha Cook Jr. ("The Maltese Falcon") in smaller parts. The 2000 DVD offers a pristine print transfer as well as an excellent commentary by the director's son George Stevens Jr. and the film's associate producer Ivan Moffat. A theatrical re-release trailer is also included on the DVD. If you haven't seen it, you should and on a big screen if possible.
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9/10
Lots of Little Pleasures
jayraskin114 July 2008
Shane was released in 1953, the year I was born, and I am ashamed to say that it has taken me 54 years to see this film. It is one of the few cinema classics that I had never see before.

A couple of quick reactions. I did not think it was the best Western I have ever seen (Stage Coach, Magnificent Seven, Once Upon a Time in the West, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, to name a few are ahead of it in my eyes) but it would certainly make my top ten Westerns list.

There are no spectacular scenes here, just a lot of beautiful and professionally done little ones. The shootout between Jack Palance and Elisha Cook Jr., for example, is hardly anything at all, but the subtle bits of business are wonderful: Palance putting on his glove and Cook hesitating between putting his gun back in his holster or continuing to draw, make it more memorable than a hundred other shootouts.

This film seems to have been the blueprint for my of my favorite television series, "The Rifleman". Lucas McCoy, played by Chuck Connors, was apparently a cross between the two characters Shane and Starlett.

All the acting performances are solid. However, I was disappointed to learn that Montgomery Cliff was originally selected to play Shane and left the project due to a scheduling conflict. Alan Ladd barely has any presence at all. At times he seems to melt into the the beautiful mountain scenery. I think Cliff would have been terrific and given the movie a real center.

Still, the movie is fun to watch. Brandon de Wilde's wonderful wide-eyed portrayal of he boy reminded me of myself as a child watching episodes of the Lone Ranger. Half a century later, I still become a goofy looking child again, staring in surprise and admiration at episodes of the Lone Ranger and movies like Shane.
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9/10
Among the finest westerns ever made.
SmileysWorld14 July 2008
He was a gunslinger trying to reform and settle down.The Starret's farm seemed like just the place to do it.Soon,though,he is forced to put into play the very way of life that he is trying hard to forget as he sets out to protect the Starrets as they and their neighbors are threatened by a group of land hungry outlaws.Shane is storytelling at it's finest.Alan Ladd is nothing short of great as the title character,and we also see a great performance from a young Jack Palance as one of the thorns in Shane's side.Along for the ride is an adorable little blue eyed blonde boy whose performance is guaranteed to melt the heart.Shane is simply one of the finest westerns ever made and no fan of westerns or great films in general should miss it.
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9/10
He was his own man
Aglaope7 April 2008
Shane was ahead of its time for the early 1950's, and one must remember that when watching it. It may be thought to be riddled with clichés,but to a certain extent it made those clichés.

A quiet stranger (Shane) comes to town. He befriends a family (The Starretts), and takes a job with them as a farm hand. The family all fall for the stranger, each in their own way. The mother flirts, the son hero worships and the father has a friend to take on challenges with.

The stranger, Shane, soon discovers that the local quiet is being threatened by a large cattle rancher (Ryker), who feels he has a claim on the area because he first settled it, and now the small farmers are fencing off land, using the water and making things generally more difficult for him.

The rancher tries many ways to get the small farmers to leave or give up and work for him, he sees Joe Starrett as their leader and he tries to negotiate.

Shane tries hard not to be drawn into the local squabble. However, problems escalate, and Ryker hires a gunfighter (Jack Wilson). Shane feels he doesn't need to prove anything to anybody, but his growing friendship for the family sees him drawn in. Once drawn in he knew there was no going back.

Jack Palance is excellent as demonic bad guy Jack Wilson. There was the air of inevitability when he entered the scene.
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9/10
A man has to be what he is Joey, can't break the mould.
Spikeopath2 April 2008
Shane is a weary gunslinger, one day he happens upon a homesteader family and begins to do chores for them, he finds an inner peace that he long thought was behind him. Sadly his peace is short lived because a strong arm cattle baron is determined to drive all the small farmer families off their land, and Shane finds himself drawn into the escalating conflict.

Taken from Jack Schaefer's popular novel, Shane holds up today as one of the most popular revered Westerns because it has mass appeal to the watching public. The main plot strand may be of a simple good versus evil type scenario, but it's the surrounding veins that enthuse the films heart with maximum results. The story plays out through the eyes of a young boy, Joey Starrett, he worships Shane for the guns he can sling, whilst simultaneously not recognising his own father for the honest hard working man that he is, this of course is not lost on the mother of the piece. The family axis then comes to the fore as Shane quickly becomes aware of his moral fortitude, and this gives us a fascinating inner picture to run alongside the outer evil cattle baron versus farmers story. Within this warm family environment Shane hopes to find redemption, but sometimes a man has to do what a mans got to do, and this leads us to the films crowning glory.

Alan Ladd is Shane, wonderfully attired and playing the character with just about the right blend of gusto and tenderness, perhaps dangerously close to stiffening up at times, Ladd however nails it and gives the Western genre one of its ever lasting icons. Van Heflin, Jean Arthu, and Brandon de Wilde play the Starrett family, all of whom come out with much credit, whilst Jack Palance leaves a lasting impression as the dark knight deadly hired gun, Wilson. Brutal yet sweet, and seeping positive morality into the bargain, Shane is a film for the whole family to enjoy, oozing fine work from all involved, it is a smashing and permanently engaging film. Sometimes when one revisits the film it feels like it is the prototype Western, all the genre characters are so vividly evident, but it's a testament to director George Stevens and his crew that Shane holds up to the iconic status it has garnered. Loyal Griggs won the best colour cinematography award at the 1953 Oscars, within three minutes of the opening credits he well and truly deserved it, as good an opening sequence as genre fans like me could wish for, and of course the rest of the fabulous Big Bear Lake location in California is sumptuously filmed.

Both as a technical piece of work and as a shrewd story of some standing, Shane deserves every bit of praise that has come its way over the years, oh yes!. 9/10
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9/10
They Call me Soda Pop
jcohen129 March 2008
I picked up the DVD for $7.99 the other day at Harmon, but I've seen the movie once or twice before. In the past I've come away impressed with the characters and the scenery. Van Heflin, pre 3:10 to Yuma and of course the character actors Ben Johnson, Elisha Cook, Jack Palance & Edgar Buchanan. Costar Jean Arthur is a standout.

This viewing leaves me thinking about all the contradictions you find in Shane, Joey & Joe. Shane is a gunslinger, but very slow to anger or fight. He can work a farm if he has to. Starrett is a farmer but is very able with his fists and nearly fearless. Joey is faced with two fathers and initially leans to the gunfighter side. Marion is also torn between the two men or two sides of a man.

The law is nowhere to be found in this film. Rare for a western with no Sheriff or US Marshal. Gunslingers obviously fill the void.

Last unique element in this film is seeing a badguy- Chris (Ben Johnson) changed to good guy on the basis of a barfight. Sounds hard to believe but it works.

This movie could generate a flood of masters theses. Bottom line, a great movie. Didn't mean to ramble. :-0
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