“Call me Shane.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
Given its iconic status, it’s easy to approach Shane with a sense of cinematic duty — but despite overly slow pacing and an occasionally disruptive musical score, for the most part it’s held up quite nicely. Indeed, there’s plenty to enjoy and appreciate about Shane, which features “remarkable authenticity” (check out stills of the sets below), is “beautifully shot” by Oscar-winning DP Loyal Griggs, and is “beautifully acted” by Ladd, Heflin, Arthur, and others. While some have argued that Ladd was miscast in the title role, I disagree; he shows off an appropriately fit, muscular body, and is entirely believable both during the excitingly brutal extended fight scenes, and during the film’s many quieter moments, as we see how much he’s come to care for both Arthur and her adoring son, Joey.
Heflin is equally notable in the critical secondary role as Joe Starrett, a man determined to hold onto his land and fight back against bullies at any cost — and Arthur (lured out of semi-retirement by Stevens) is a fine, believable choice to play Starrett’s wife. Meanwhile, other familiar faces — including Elisha Cook, Jr. as a hot-headed southern homesteader, and Jack Palance as the black-hatted gunslinger brought in to “take care of” the homesteaders — are a welcome presence as well. Unfortunately, De Wilde’s performance as young Joey is the one dissatisfying outlier; he’s far too often shown simply staring wide-eyed at the proceedings, and/or asking whiny “why?” questions like a four-year-old. However, his nearly worshipful adoration of Shane is made abundantly clear, which I suppose is what’s most important in this tale of a larger-than-life western hero.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)