This is one that I have needed to watch for eons and now I finally have. I can move on to High Noon sometime in the near future too.
Acting/characters: Anyone who has seen this movie knows that Alan Ladd steals the show playing the titular character. However that is not to take away from the rest of the cast at all. I mean, Ladd has to be the best in the show because he's the titular character. It's a testament to his performance that he manages to be the best character but he hardly ever says a word. No more than 2 or 3 sentences every so often. I can't imagine how they found the actor to play the kid. He was pretty good even if he was stunningly annoying at times. But int he end, it all came down to Shane. Even if he didn't say much and even if the movie didn't focus on him all the time, he still carried the whole thing and did a good job of it. 10/10
Plot: It's not something that is uncommon for a Western. Gunfights, fistfights, poor homesteaders, evil gunslingers, lone hero etc. My film class delved into how the Western is totally an American genre. No one does westerns like America. Yes you have films like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, but it's really an all-American genre. That and debatabley the Slasher film but that's off topic. It's a formula that has served the Western well. Shane uses that to great effect here. But the homesteaders here aren't completely defenseless (some are, and some are just stupid). However, despite the fact that this movie is called 'Shane' it isn't about him very much. He's just kinda there. But it really does work. 10/10
Screenplay: SHANE, SHANE COME BACK!! Yeah, you've all heard that line. If not you have now. It really does work. Like I said before, the screenplay doesn't give Shane very many lines. But the screenwriter made sure the lines he did have were really good. There were other really good lines too.
"A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that."
"There's no living with a killing. There's no goin' back from one. Right or wrong, it's a brand... a brand sticks. There's no goin' back. Now you run on home to your mother and tell her... tell her everything's alright. And there aren't any more guns in the valley."
excellent stuff. 10/10
Likableness: Shane is an excellent film and I would highly suggest it to anyone, Western fan or not. If nothing else than for Ladd's performance. If good performances doesn't float your boat, then the gunfights and the fistfights in this movie should do it for you (even though there aren't a lot). it is a very well done film. You should all see it if you have not. 10/10
Final Score: 40/40 100% (N)
Tomatometer score: 97%
Tomatometer score if I was added: 97%
TRIVIA TIME: 1. At the time of filming, Jack Palance was not comfortable with horses. The one good mount he achieved during the numerous takes was used in the film.
2. In the funeral scene, the dog consistently refused to look into the grave. Finally, director George Stevens had the dog's trainer lie down in the bottom of the grave, and the dog played his part ably. The coffin (loaded with rocks for appropriate effect) was then lowered into the grave, but when the harmonica player began to play "Taps" spontaneously, the crew was so moved by the scene that they began shoveling dirt into the grave before remembering the dog's trainer was still there.
3. Jean Arthur was over 50 years old when she played Marian Starrett (and this was her last film) - she was, in fact, ten years older than Emile Meyer, who plays grizzled old cattle baron Rufus Ryker.
4. According to the commentary on the DVD, during the scene where Shane and Joe are fighting in the corral, the tied horses were supposed to panic. To instill hysteria in the horses, the director had two men dressed in a bear costumes to scare them.
5. Jean Arthur, a committed animal lover, took it upon herself to personally inspect the conditions that the film's roster of livestock were being kept in. If they wasn't up to her satisfaction, she would ensure that the matter was rectified.
6. When writer A.B. Guthrie Jr. came on board the project, he didn't know what a screenplay looked like.
7. The scene where Alan Ladd practices shooting in front of Brandon De Wilde took 119 takes to complete.
8. During the bar fight between Shane and Calloway, the off-screen voice that says "knock him back the pig-pen" is that of George Stevens.