Shane

Shane

4.8 11
Director: George Stevens

Cast: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin

     
 

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The simple story of a Wyoming range war is elevated to near-mythical status in producer/director George Stevens' Western classic Shane. Alan Ladd plays the title character, a mysterious drifter who rides into a tiny homesteading community and accepts the hospitality of a farming family. Patriarch Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) is impressed by the way Shane handlesSee more details below

Overview

The simple story of a Wyoming range war is elevated to near-mythical status in producer/director George Stevens' Western classic Shane. Alan Ladd plays the title character, a mysterious drifter who rides into a tiny homesteading community and accepts the hospitality of a farming family. Patriarch Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) is impressed by the way Shane handles himself when facing down the hostile minions of land baron Emile Meyer, though he has trouble placing his complete trust in the stranger, as his Marion (Jean Arthur) is attracted to Shane in spite of herself, and his son Joey (Brandon De Wilde) flat-out idolizes Shane. When Meyer is unable to drive off the homesteaders by sheer brute strength, he engages the services of black-clad, wholly evil hired gun Jack Wilson (Jack Palance). The moment that Wilson shows he means business by shooting down hotheaded farmer Frank Torrey (Elisha Cook Jr.) is the film's most memorable scene: after years of becoming accustomed to carefully choreographed movie death scenes, the suddenness with which Torrey's life is snuffed out -- and the force with which he falls to the ground -- are startling. Shane knows that a showdown with Wilson is inevitable; he also knows that, unintentionally, he has become a disruptive element in the Starrett family. The manner in which he handles both these problems segues into the now-legendary "Come back, Shane" finale. Cinematographer Loyal Griggs imbues this no-frills tale with the outer trappings of an epic, forever framing the action in relation to the unspoiled land surrounding it. A.B. Guthrie Jr.'s screenplay, adapted from the Jack Schaefer novel, avoids the standard good guy/bad guy clichés: both homesteaders and cattlemen are shown as three-dimensional human beings, flaws and all, and even ostensible villain Emile Meyer comes off reasonable and logical when elucidating his dislike of the "newcomers" who threaten to divest him of his wide open spaces.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Often described as the "perfect" western, Shane simultaneously reaffirms and transcends genre conventions. This 1953 film's basic premise -- the violent struggle between greedy cattlemen and intrepid homesteaders -- is as old as the horse opera itself and is depicted by director George Stevens in stark, unambiguous fashion. The characters, too, are familiar types: the courageous farmer (played by Van Heflin), the dutiful wife (Jean Arthur), the hired killer (Jack Palance), and so on. Shane himself, played with admirable understatement by Alan Ladd, is positively archetypal. A former gunfighter, he seeks his redemption by helping the homesteaders, only to find them in desperate need of his "professional" skills -- the use of which, he realizes, will make him an outcast. Under Stevens's masterful direction, and bolstered by the Oscar-winning cinematography of Loyal Griggs and Victor Young's evocative musical scoring, every cliché seems fresh and every emotion rings true -- an achievement that ensures Shane a permanent place in the pantheon of great westerns.
All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
Despite being burdened with grand pretensions, George Steven's Shane stands securely as one of the most intelligent westerns of its era. The story, underscored by potent historical conflicts between cattle ranchers and homesteaders, and broad philosophical issues contrasting the rugged individualist of American lore with the value of belonging to a community, is mythic in scope. The massive, imposing and ragged landscape of Wyoming's Grand Tetons, captured capably by Oscar winner Loyal Griggs, provides an appropriately awe-inspiring backdrop to the action. Stevens rarely passes up a chance to offer up attention-seeking directorial flourishes (long takes capped by extended fades), but in the end his faithfulness to the characters and their stories preserves the movie's greatness. Jack Palance, whose sneering charisma is palpable, is the embodiment of evil as the ranchers' hired assassin. Alan Ladd, who is enigmatic and mysterious as the neo-pacifist ex-gunslinger titular character, is quietly imposing (despite his lack of physical stature) in the role. As a man with a dark past, Shane willingly martyrs himself in order to atone for past sins and to save his newly adopted family. Therefore, it is appropriate that his son-by-proxy Joey provides the predominant point-of-view, since it is his coming-of-age that reflects the maturation of the American west. Some of the more subversive critics have pointed to the psychosexual nature of the exchanges between Joey and Shane as evidence of the film's subconscious perversity. Nominated for 5 Oscars, winner of one for its stunning color cinematography.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/19/1997
UPC:
0031504065226
Original Release:
1953
Rating:
NR
Source:
Paramount

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alan Ladd Shane
Jean Arthur Marion Starrett
Van Heflin Joe Starrett
Brandon DeWilde Joey Starrett
Jack Palance Jack Wilson
Ben Johnson Chris Callaway
Edgar Buchanan Fred Lewis
Emile G. Meyer Rufe Ryker
Douglas Spencer Shipstead
John Dierkes Morgan Ryker
Ellen Corby Mrs. Torrey
Paul McVey Grafton
Edith Evanson Mrs. Shipstead
Leonard Strong Ernie Wright
Ray Spiker Johnson
Janice Carroll Susan Lewis
Martin Mason Ed Howells
Helen Brown Mrs. Lewis
Nancy Kulp Mrs. Howells
Ewing Miles Brown Actor
Rex Moore Actor
Henry Wills Actor
Charles Quirk Clerk
Jack Sterling Actor
Elisha Cook Frank Torrey
John Miller Atkey
Howard Negley Pete
George Lewis Ryker Man
Chester W. Hannan Ryker man
Bill Cartledge Ryker man
Steve Raines Ryker man
Beverly Washburn Lewis Daughter (uncredited)

Technical Credits
George Stevens Director,Producer
Joe de Young Consultant/advisor
Loyal Griggs Cinematographer
A.B. Guthrie Screenwriter
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
William W. Hornbeck Editor
Gordon Jennings Special Effects
Emile Kuri Set Decoration/Design
Tom McAdoo Editor
Ivan Moffat Producer
Hal Pereira Art Director
Jack Sher Screenwriter
Walter Tyler Art Director
Victor Young Score Composer

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