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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Western Painting
Alan Ladd starred in one of the most spare and beautiful westerns ever captured on film in George Stevens' portrait of a lonely gunfighter and the bond he forms with a family of homesteaders under seige out west. Jack Schaefer's very good western novella was lofted to greatness by Ladd's quiet performance as the gunfighter Shane, who gets a glimpse of the life he would...
Published on 12 July 2005 by starlighthotel

13 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice views of the mountains but.......
I can't believe all these ***** reviews. Before the lynching party can get booted and saddled up, sure, the film has a satisfying outdoor feel to it, and the theme of an outsider blowing in from nowhere like St George and having despatched Jack Palance's dragon blowing out again before he can eat his hosts out of pork and beans is a perennially fascinating one. The...
Published on 18 April 2010 by Humpty Dumpty

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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Western Painting, 12 July 2005
This review is from: Shane [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Alan Ladd starred in one of the most spare and beautiful westerns ever captured on film in George Stevens' portrait of a lonely gunfighter and the bond he forms with a family of homesteaders under seige out west. Jack Schaefer's very good western novella was lofted to greatness by Ladd's quiet performance as the gunfighter Shane, who gets a glimpse of the life he would have preferred rather than the hand he was dealt.
A story and film which sounds simple, and is often described as such, is really anything but, its complexity hidden by its scope and the subtle manner in which it is told. Shane is the mythic figure, riding in on the horizon and staying to help a family fend off a rancher trying to drive the farmers off their land. It is a story of changing times and complex relationships.
Shane forms a bond with farmer Van Heflin and becomes his friend because of his decency and acceptance of Shane, even though Shane's gun and his readiness to draw at the slightest sound reveals a past and a way of life Shane would like to live down. Shane knows he is on the way out as the west changes and it is ironic that he chooses to help the family trying to build a town and a community, the very things that will be his demise.
Brandon De Wilde is excellent as the young boy who needs a larger than life hero to look up to and finds him in Shane. As he and Shane form a bond, an inevitable confrontation between a deadly gunfighter hired to get rid of the homesteaders will force him to put on his gun and live up to everything the young boy feels in his heart for Shane.
Jean Arthur gives a wonderful and often overlooked performance as the wife who loves her husband and son dearly, but can not deny the feelings she has for Shane. There is a point in the film where she tells her husband to just hold her and not ask any questions; everyone who has been watching knows why she does this. It is a platonic love for Shane she would never act on but it is still there.
Heflin is also excellent as a solid man trying to hold the other farmers together even as a deadly gunfighter in black, symbolic of the good verses evil of the story, kills one of their own. He is no fool and senses the feelings between his wife and Shane, but knows that neither would ever betray him; Arthur because she loves him and Shane because it is not the kind of man he is.
Shane's feelings for Arthur are not the threatening kind, but more a loneliness when he looks at her, as she represents everything he wanted but knows he will never have because he is a gunfighter. He tells Arthur that a gun is just a tool like an axe or a shovel, no better or worse than the man who carries it. We know Shane is the good man, and Jack Palance the bad man, quick on the draw and evil, but no match for the soft spoken but deadly Shane.
The way the inevitable gunfight comes about and the way this film ends continues the larger than life myth of the American gunfighter. There is a nice score from Victor Young and good support from Edgar Buchanan as a farmer and Ben Johnson as a rancher who changes his spots, won over by the kind of man Shane shows himself to be.
Shane is not only one of the great westerns, but one of the best films of any genre. It is an artistic portrait of a gunfighter and the changing landscape of the American west, as general stores and churches began to replace the lawlessness that had been settled by a fast and accurate draw for so many years.
If you do not own Shane, your film library is incomplete. Every serious film buff has a spot for this masterpiece on their shelf somewhere. Make one on yours.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We need you, Shane!, 26 July 2005
Manco (Helsinki, Finland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shane [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
Shane is a masterpiece, irrespective of genre. Naturally, most discussion of the film comes up in the context of 'great Western' debates but this is a little unfortunate since Shane is a great film which happens to also be a great Western.
From the opening scene to the immortal closing shot Shane captures the imagination and the emotions. It is not that Shane offers anything particularly new in terms of storyline: the mysterious drifter wandering into a town where a struggle between homesteaders and cattlemen is going on was and has been a staple of Western story-telling from the beginning of the genre's popularity. Rather, Shane manages to encapsulate everything that we dream the West to be about - the good and the bad.
Each scene, character, line of dialogue, moment of action is so deliberately crafted and delivered that it borders on the extreme. Take for example Shane's arrival at the home of the Starrets, he is seen riding into view through the antlers of a grazing deer. Or the symbolic importance of Shane and Joe finally uprooting the tree stump which Joe states has been a burden for nearly five years - surely the fact that the stump is finally uprooted on the day of Shane's arrival and with his assistance holds serious implications for the meaning of Shane's presence in the valley. These are but two examples in a film which makes a point in every scene.
Such an approach to telling this tale has lead to the claim that Shane is film dedicated to the myth of the American West, that through the characters and the words they speak we see the West as we imagine it to have been, not what it was or will ever be. However, more than that the myth that pervades Shane is one that is true for all people in all places at all times: the hope for a new start, a life of peace and prosperity earned through hard work and self sacrifice, the renunciation of violence in favour of dialogue and compromise, integrity and principle instead of meaness and greed, chivalry, fidelity, friendship and love. The list is not complete, but you get the idea.
Shane was made more than 50 years ago. It is still as beautiful to watch today as it was back then when it won an Oscar for photography. As for the story, that too is as relevant today as then - by its own admission Shane is a fairy tale of sorts and as such is eternal.
One final point. In my book Once Upon a Time in the West is the ultimate Western fairy tale. Sergio Leone set out to deliberately tell a Western tale which drew on all the earlier great Westerns and present them in a romanticised fashion. The fact that Shane figures heavily as a point of reference in Leone's film is of no surprise. What precisely those references are I'll leave to you to discover for yourself!
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can be watched time and time again..., 7 Jun 2004
Philip G. Brown (Clevedon, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shane [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
In the extras, the two old gents speak engagingly of how they went out to make just another western, and how they came back with Shane. This speaks volumes on how a film can have intellectual depth without any pretension.
A beautiful understated study of unrequited love, perfectly acted by Jean Arthur and Alan Ladd, set against a magnificent landscape. Van Heflin being the opposite of Alan Ladd: uncharismatic, stolid, ordinary yet even so managing to convey convincingly a character that Jean Arthur would stick by. Brandon De Wilde growing up before our eyes, culminating in the poignant final scenes where we see the end of his childhood. Jack Palance giving us a great villain and the only hissable baddie in the film. All the supporting characters have light and shade, even the diehard free range cowman is able to explain where he is coming from and gets our understanding if not our support.
Although, technically unsophisticated by today's standards and the studio interiors do let the atmosphere slip sometimes, the DVD shows how superb tripack Technicolor was. I don't think the day-for-night shots have ever been bettered.
George Stevens has created a work of great depth in a simple style.
Oh! And the wood chopping sequence with Victor Young's music is one of my all time favourites.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great westerns., 21 Jun 2004
Simon (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shane [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
This is a classic and over the decades since its making has lost none of its charm. It has everything a good old fashioned western should have. Theres the quiet unassuming hero, Alan Ladd, who can only be pushed just so far and the dastardly bullying villian Jack Palance that he's going to have a reckoning with.The stirring music has you hooked from the start. Its wonderful, put your feet up and imagine yourself in the one and nine pennies at Saturday morning pictures.This is how cowboy films were meant to be. "Come back Shane, come back"
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Iconic western gets a lavish and fully deserved re-issue, 22 July 2007
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
Shane is one of those films that seems to viewed as genre specific .It's always lauded as a great western , quite rightly, because it is a great western. Genres should in reality be cast aside because Shane is ostensibly a great film that just happens to be a western.
Released in 1953, just one year after "High Noon" the film was actually filmed in 1951 but due to director George Stevens extensive re-editing of the movie it didn't appear till April 1953.Even then the original distributor Paramount considered selling it on fearing it would never see a profit , though it did go one to make a more than handsome one for the fretful studio. The film was almost never made because the directors original choices for the roles of Shane and Starrett-Montgomery Clift and William Holden respectively - weren't available. Alan Ladd as Shane and Van Heflin as Joe Starrett ,as well as Jean Arthur as Starretts wife Marian were chosen from a list of available actors with current contracts. Thus is movie history made , random choices from a cobbled together list.
Shane takes the premise of the mysterious stranger riding into the life's of a community and irrevocably altering events and futures and does it without sentiment or garishness. The film has a lean aesthetic poetry to it, from the sparse literate dialogue., to some of the wonderfully composed shots -Shane's gradual appearance through the antlers of a grazing deer may allude to him finding himself on the horns of a dilemma , or more likely suggests some elemental connection with the landscape-either way or not it's a fantastic image. The script here with young Joey Stark (Brandon De Wilde) saying " Somebody's coming Pa" and Joe replying matter of fatly "Well let him come" suggests that events are now in motion that cannot be stopped and they are ones that will have some irrevocable bearing on the life's of this family.
Shane's acceptance by the Starks gives him an insight into the sort of life he could have lived had he not chosen the life of a gunslinger . His attraction to Marian is based more on a unconsummated need for love and acceptance rather than anything sexual and his empathy with Joe Stark is gained through their almost ritualistic up-rooting a stubborn tree stump .Of course conflict comes through Shane's brandishing of his guns but as Shane explains to Marian "A gun is a tool , no better or worse than any other tool, an axe a shovel , or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it".I,ts a flawed argument for sure but in this movie guns are central to final resolutions. Incidentally Alan Ladd was not comfortable using guns .The scene where he teaches Joey how to use a gun had be re-shot 119 times.
Shane's affiliation with the Starks means he has sided with the "Sodbusters" a derogatory term used by the men of Rufus Ryker ( Emile Meyer) a cattle baron who wants to remove the homesteaders who have settled on his land . His sneering disorderly ranch hands constantly hang around "Graftons Mercantile " the towns main store riling and unsettling the farmers .This leads to the memorable bar fight where Shane is goaded by a ruddy faced cow poke (Ben Johnson) and the twos fist fight - a fascinating contrast of styles , Shane cool, studied and technically correct against the cowboys bull in a china shop approach -leads to an all out bar fight with Joe Stark fighting alongside Shane .The lines have been firmly drawn .
Joe Stark is faced with keeping the farming community together as some wilt under Rykers bullying and the plain fact his wife is attracted to Shane. At the 4th July dance , a rare moment of simple enjoyment for this community , Shane and Marian engage in a twirl while Joe looks on, symbolically fenced off from the pair. Ryker attempts to mediate by offering Stark a bribe , never an option for such a honourable man , and thus the situation escalates with the arrival of hired gun Jack Wilson ( Jack Palance ) who is seen arriving in town leading his horse on foot. This was not a deliberate act, but one brought about by Palance,s lack of ease around horses
Wilson, in a memorable scene( "Pick up the gun") provokes drunken homesteader Frank "Stonewall" Torrey( Elisha Cook Jr ) into a gunfight and mercilessly guns him down leading to the inevitable confrontation with Shane , who has to physically subdue Joe Stark to prevent his involvement in the climatic gun battle and thus more than likely save his life. It's brilliantly staged and Shane his job here done and possibly mortally wounded rides off with young Joey chasing after shouting those famous lines "Come back Shane" .
Shane won an Oscar for best cinematography (colour) which is scant reward for a film as iconic as this. It has been referenced in many other movies with De Niro,s legendary "You talkin to me" line from "Taxi Driver" being lifted from the exchange between Shane and the cowboy . It is referenced in "Pulp Fiction" , "Once Upon A Time In The West" by comedian Bill Hicks , even "Star Trek Deep Space Nine" and has even been remade , or near as dammitt by Clint Eastwood with the excellent "Pale Rider". Warren Beatty copied the way the gun fire sounds so loud in Shane for the climatic shooting scene in "Bonnie And Clyde". It's one of the best western s ever made , arguably the best but like I said before , Shane is when all the gun smoke has cleared , an all time classic of any genre and this Paramount re-issue with it's unforgettable poster does it full service.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not miss., 4 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Shane [Blu-ray] [1953] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
This bluray is region free and is simply one of the greatest movies ever made. The bluray transfer is looks absolutely stunning. Do not miss this movie. It is a massive improvement on the dvd release.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Western Poetry in Technicolor, 13 July 2011
Pyke Bishop (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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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 handles himself when facing down the hostile minions of land baron Ryker (played by Emile Meyer), though he has trouble placing his complete trust in the stranger, as Starrett's wife Marion (Jean Arthur) is attracted to Shane in spite of herself, and his son Joey (Brandon De Wilde) idolises Shane. When Ryker 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.). This 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 cliche: both homesteaders and cattlemen are shown as three-dimensional human beings, flaws and all, and even ostensible villain Ryker comes off reasonable and logical when elucidating his dislike of the "newcomers" who threaten to divest him of his wide open spaces.

George Stevens' classic Western "Shane" stars Alan Ladd in one of his most memorable screen performances. Beautifully filmed in Technicolor in the great Wyoming outdoors, under the towering peaks of the Grand Tetons, it may be said to be a rich and dramatic mobile painting of the American frontier scene.

Like other Westerns, "Shane" deals with the genre's perennial issues and embodies its basic social types: the "man of action" (Alan Ladd), the "anti-violent pacifist" (Van Hefflin), "the hired-gun and incarnation of evil" (Jack Palance), the "naive wife-mother" (Jean Arthur), who initially resents the stranger for teaching her son how to handle a gun, until she realises its necessity. The movie features two parallel stories: the social conflict between hard-working farmers and just as stubborn ranchers, and the mythic confrontation between right and wrong, good vs evil.

Splendid in every way, "Shane" is one of the most poetic American films about childhood and growing up. The film features breathtaking cinematography, which won an Oscar Award.

"Shane" is one of those rare films that achieved both critical acclaim and box-office popularity. Released right after the psychological and introspective High Noon, some critics saw it as a refreshing return to classic American issues of "man against man" and "man against nature" in the construction of the West - in reality and myth.

Oscar Nominations: 6
Oscar Awards: 1 (Best Cinematography)

DVD extras include: Original theatrical trailer, limited-edition film poster, chapter selection & language options. Aspect ratio is full-frame.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shane Blu, 4 Oct 2013
This review is from: Shane [Blu-ray] [1953] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
Not a review, just info. that this Blu-ray is in 1.37.1 and plays Region B. Not much at all in the way of extras but the picture quality is very fine (detailed, clear, with weight) and one is given obviously more of what's onscreen than on previous releases. Sound is without problems and fully adequate. I'd say a worthwhile purchase if you like this film.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hero of Homeric Proportions., 9 July 2009
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shane [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
Shane is a film I desperately wanted to loathe for a number of reasons. The cinematography that won an oscar captures an almost too perfect oil painting vision of the west. It looks as if it may have escaped from "The Wizard of Oz". The whole film is carefully and painstakingly constructed, with many scenes oozing symbolism and heavy meaning. It has a star who would need an orange box to stand on to kiss most of his leading ladies. In short it is the sort of western I should dislike, and yet it contains such multitudes that you cannot fail to be caught in its hypnotic web.

It contains what is undoubtedly cinemas finest climactic gunfight, where we see Shane casually inform the hired killer Wilson, played by a very menacing Jack Palance that his killing days are over. Also in contrast to the beautiful Eden like landscape, we see Wilson gun down the naive homesteader Torrey played by a wide eyed Elisha Cook Jnr. Torrey is comprehensively outdrawn and brutally shot, to fall into the mud like a bundle of rags. Surely one of the most shocking killings on screen. Then we have the epic fistfight in the store which goes on forever until our heroes triumph. Finally how can you forget the titanic struggle to uproot the stubborn tree stump. They are all scenes that work magnificently.

I also have to concede that Alan Ladd does a good job as the tired and world weary Shane forced to take up arms once again. He gives just the right strangely detached performance. The film has been described as a western fairy tale by many. Although I dislike the expression it is hard to deny it credence. The surreal landscape adds to the feel, and Shane comes mysteriously out of nowhere like a Knight errant on some noble quest. You just know he's the good guy from the start and a suitable hero for any fairy tale.

It is pretentious at times and it has its flaws, but it is still a magnificent film that I have no hesitation in awarding five stars, and acknowledging it as one of the truly great westerns. Like Ethan Edwards from "The Searchers", Shane stands as one of the great cinematic creations. They become the stuff of myth and legend. Not of this world. More akin to the Homeric heroes of old. If Ethan Edwards had the black heart of Achilles then surely Shane had the pure heart of Hector. The two blaze their way into the pantheon of the cinematic Gods. Highly, highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars George Stevens' Shane, 10 Jan 2014
Bob Richardson (Eden Hills, South Australia, AU) - See all my reviews
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My favourite western of all time made by George Stevens. Alan Ladd is excellent as the quiet gunfighter trying to escape his past and Van Heflin and Jean Arthur are the homesteaders establishing themselves in this new but contested territory. Everyone remembers the fight scene shot between the horses legs but there are many memorable moments including the chopping and pulling out the tree stump, Shane showing the young boy how to shoot, the killing of 'Tory' (Cook), the fight in the General Store and the opening panoramic scenes are some of the best I have seen on film. And while the story has the inevitable ending, it stands out from other westerns with its emphasis on the home seeking arrivals to the area who find that the ruthless local cattle owner regards the whole range as his own. Ben Johnson, Edgar Buchanan and Elisha Cook Jr make up an excellent support cast with Jack Palance appearing in an early role as the sinister killer Jack Wilson. Everyone who sees it also remember the closing scene (not always favourably) with a wounded Shane riding off into the sunset with the boy (Brandon De Wilde) shouting after him 'Shane, come back!'.
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Shane [Blu-ray] [1953] [US Import]
Shane [Blu-ray] [1953] [US Import] by Alan Ladd (Blu-ray - 2013)
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