Thursday, Oct 2020
Director: Clint Eastwood
Screenwriters: Michael Butler & Dennis Shryack
Length: 115 minutes
Released: 1985

pale riderMany Westerns share common themes and stock characters: The drunken doctor, pickled newspaper editor, and the whore with the heart of gold. Because these characters are woven into many Westerns, it is not important which movie used the characters first. However, when the plot is nearly identical (along with the characters), it is impossible to not make comparisons. Pale Rider draws heavily from Shane (1953) and is said to be a "re-make" of sorts. It is a sort of Super~Shane. The Preacher (Clint Eastwood) is the unarmed stranger who comes to the rescue of the principled but hapless "tinpanners". The Preacher and the leader of the miners, Hull Barrett, begin work on breaking a large boulder much like Shane helps Joe Starrett with the tenacious tree stump. The leading lady her child fall in love and worship the stranger in both movies. In Pale Rider, a tinpanner is gunned down in town in a way that is nearly identical to the way Jack Palance guns down sodbuster, Frank Torrey, in Shane. Finally, Pale Rider ends with the child calling out to the Preacher as he rides away. All of these scenes made this viewer wonder, is Clint paying tribute to Shane? Is Pale Rider truly a Shane remake? And why isn't Shane noted in the credits?

The mythical and supernatural elements of Pale Rider are centered around The Preacher. Who is he? From where did he come, and where did he get all of those bullet holes? He moves with superhuman speed and stealth. He's under the stairs, he's in the hayloft, now he's behind the water trough. The guy gets around.

The scenery in the movie is magnificent. Sweeping vistas and majestic mountain scenes deliver a visual delight. And fans of Clint will be thrilled with his dry wit and many "make my day" one- liners. Despite being a Shane knock-off (or is it a tribute?), Pale Rider is a solid Good Viewer.

Cast:

  • Clint Eastwood.... The Preacher
  • Michael Moriarty.... Hull Barret
  • Carrie Snodgress.... Sarah Wheeler
  • Chris Penn.... Josh LaHood
  • Richard A. Dysart... Coy LaHood
  • Sydney Penny.... Megan Wheeler
  • Richard Kiel.... Club
  • Doug McGrath... Spider Conway
  • John Russell .... Stockburn
  • Charles Hallahan.... McGill
  • Marvin J. McIntyre....Jagou
  • Fran Ryan.... Ma Blankenship
  • Richard Hamilton.... Jed Blankenship
  • Graham Paul.... Ev Gossage
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