Sunday, Sep 2020
Director: George Stevens
Screenwriters: A.B. Guthrie & Jack Sher from Jack Schaefer's novel.
Length: 118 mins
Theme Song: Shane, Victor Young
Released: 1953

Shane Poster

This frontier movie pits cattlemen against "sodbusters". As in the movies Tombstone and Silverado, the Cattlemen are a tough bunch. They are determined to stop the farmers from fencing the range. Riker (Emile Meyer), the leader of the Cattlemen, eloquently summarizes the animosity between the two groups: The Cattlemen "made this country...made the range safe" and the sodbusters "fence off the range... (and) fence off the water".

Tension between the two groups grows as the Cattlemen employ increasingly aggressive measures to drive the sodbusters away. The Cattlemen are clearly succeeding in their efforts until Shane (Alan Ladd) rides into the movie. From where he came and why he dropped his former gun-slinging profession is never clear. Perhaps he wanted to change his ways and reform himself.

Ladd quickly changes the balance of power and Riker is forced to hire the cold-blooded killer Wilson (Jack Palance). Palance's performance is superb as the leather-mitted quick-draw.

This movie is a beloved Classic Western. And it probably deserves to be. However, believing the diminutive Alan Ladd could pummel Van Heflin in a fistfight, let alone 4-5 Cattlemen in a barroom brawl is a bit of a stretch. Ladd may be miscast in this role. Compounding the problem is Edith Head's insistence on dressing Ladd in business casual for most of the movie. His prancing and posing reach a zenith during the 4th of July party.

Regardless, this is a complete Western and great story. As such, it must be called a Classic.

Cast:

  • Alan Ladd --- Shane
  • Jean Arthur --- Marian Starrett
  • Van Heflin --- Joe Starrett
  • Brandon De Wilde - Joey Starrett
  • Jack Palance --- Jack Wilson
  • Ben Johnson --- Chris Calloway
  • Edgar Buchanan -- Fred Lewis
  • Emile Meyer -- Rufus Ryker
  • Elisha Cook Jr. -- Frank "Stonewall" Torrey
  • Douglas Spencer -- Mr. Axel "Swede" Shipstead
  • John Dierkes --- Morgan Ryker
  • Ellen Corby --- Mrs. Torrey
  • Paul McVey --- Sam Grafton
  • John Miller --- Atkey
  • Edith Evanson --- Mrs. Shipstead
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