Saturday, May 6, 2017

Shane (1953)

IMDb plot summary: A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act.
Directed by George Stevens. Starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, and Brandon De Wilde.

Westerns are typically a tough sell for me, but as far as westerns go, this one isn't too bad. It's an overly simplistic story but the core of it works for me, especially the moments seen through the eye of the young child -- not because I found myself giving into the sentimentalism of these scenes (in fact, the kid himself was pretty annoying), but because it adds a different perspective to the story. Actingwise, only Jean Arthur stands out, but she does a great job here, playing the worried wife and mother in a very believable fashion that heightens the tension without falling into hysteria. The farmers are not that distinct individually, but as an ensemble they add a lot to the story, and I frequently found myself paying closer attention when they were all gathered. Shane himself, on the other hand, is not particularly interesting, and the film's big showdown is so short it's a bit of a disappointment, but there are some good moments here.

2.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Shane > Monster
Shane < Gone in 60 Seconds
Shane < The Red Shoes
Shane < Bully
Shane > The Nanny Diaries
Shane < National Treasure
Shane < The Dark Knight
Shane < Die Hard (why is this so low?)
Shane > Short Circuit
Shane > Water for Elephants
Shane < Cast Away

Final spot: #1218 out of 2616.

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