Shane (film)

Shane (film)

Infobox Film
name = Shane

caption = Theatrical poster
director = George Stevens
producer = George Stevens
cinematography = Loyal Griggs, ASC
editing = William Hornbeck
Tom McAdoo
music = Victor Young
writer = Story
Jack Schaefer
A.B. Guthrie Jr.
starring = Alan Ladd
Jean Arthur
Van Heflin
Brandon De Wilde
Jack Palance
distributor = Paramount Pictures
released = April 23, 1953 (USA)
runtime = 118 minutes
language = English
budget =
amg_id = 1:44081
imdb_id = 0046303|

"Shane" is a 1953 western film made by Paramount Pictures. It was produced and directed by George Stevens from a screenplay by A.B. Guthrie Jr., based on the 1949 novel of the same name by Jack Schaefer. The cinematography was by Loyal Griggs, the music score by Victor Young and the costume design by Edith Head. [imdb title|id=0046303|title=Shane]

The film stars Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur and Van Heflin with Brandon De Wilde, Elisha Cook Jr., Jack Palance and Ben Johnson.


left|250px|thumb|Brandon De Wilde, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin and Alan Ladd] A mysterious gunslinger named Shane (Alan Ladd) drifts into a quiet western town, and quickly finds himself drawn into a conflict between simple homesteader (sodbuster) Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) and powerful cattle baron Rufus Ryker (Emile Meyer), who wants to force him and every other homesteader in the valley off his land. Shane accepts a job as a farmhand, but finds Starrett's young son Joey (Brandon DeWilde) drawn to him for his strength and skill with a gun. Shane himself is uncomfortably drawn to Starrett's wholesomely charming wife, Marian (Jean Arthur).

As tensions mount between the factions, Ryker hires Jack Wilson (Jack Palance), a cold-blooded and skilled gunslinger. After Wilson cold-bloodedly murders another homesteader (played by Elisha Cook, Jr.) who stands up to him, Joe Starrett decides to take it on himself to go kill Wilson and Ryker and save the town; however, he is stopped by Shane who insists on going himself. Starrett and Shane get in a fist fight where the winner will go on to face Wilson and Shane regretfully uses his gun to hit Joe over the head and knock him out, knowing this was the only way to prevent Joe from getting killed. Shane then goes to take on Wilson in a climactic showdown, killing him and Ryker, but being wounded in the shootout. After urging young Joey to grow up strong and take care of both of his parents, Shane leaves for parts unknown.

When Shane rides away, Joey calls after him, "Pa's got things for you to do! And Mother wants you. I know she does." The movie closes with Joey shouting "Shane! Shane! Come back!"

Due to the ambiguous nature of the final shot, there is some question as to whether or not Shane actually survives his wound, especially as he is last seen riding off in the direction of the local cemetery, a possible symbolic intimation of his death or in a more general sense the symbolic death of the gunfighter in western life.

Background and production

"Shane" tells the story of a gunfighter who comes to a recently-settled farm area near a quiet town and fights for the rights of homesteaders against the long-entrenched hard-bitten open-range cattlemen who control the majority of the land.

Although the film is fiction, elements of the setting are derived from Wyoming's Johnson County War. The physical setting is the high plains near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and many shots feature the Grand Teton massif looming in the near distance. Other filming took place at Big Bear Lake, San Bernardino National Forest, the Iverson Ranch, Chatsworth and at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California.

Director George Stevens originally cast Montgomery Clift as Shane, and William Holden as Joe Starrett. When they both proved unavailable, the film was nearly abandoned. Stevens asked studio head Y. Frank Freeman to see a list of available actors with current contracts. Within three minutes, he chose Alan Ladd, Van Heflin and Jean Arthur.

Although the film was made between July and October 1951, it was not released until 1953 due to director George Stevens' extensive editing. The film cost so much to make that at one point, Paramount negotiated its sale to Howard Hughes, who later pulled out of the arrangement. The studio felt the film would never recoup its costs. In fact, the film ended up making a significant profit.

Jean Arthur was not the first choice to play Marian; Katharine Hepburn was originally considered for the role. Even though she had not made a picture in five years, Arthur accepted the part at the request of George Stevens with whom she had worked in two earlier films, "The Talk of the Town" (1942) and "The More the Merrier" (1943) for which she received her only Oscar nomination. "Shane" marked her last film appearance, although she later appeared in theater and a short-lived television series.

Jack Palance had problems with horses and Alan Ladd with guns. The scene where Shane practices shooting in front of Joey required 116 takes. A scene where Jack Palance mounts his horse was actually a shot of him dismounting, but played in reverse. As well, the original planned introduction of Wilson galloping into town was replaced with him simply walking his horse, which was noted as improving the entrance by making him seem more threatening.

Technical details

"Shane" was the first flat widescreen (soft matted 1.66:1) color western film to be produced. (It was actually shot for 1.37:1 Academy ratio, but the studio dictated that it be cropped in the movie projector to compete with the to-be-released CinemaScope format.) The music was recorded in stereo, but heard in theatres only in mono - only films in Cinemascope and Cinerama used stereophonic sound at that time.

The film was also one of the first films to attempt to recreate the overwhelming "sound" of gunfire. Warren Beatty cited this aspect of "Shane" as inspiration during the filming of "Bonnie and Clyde" (from the documentary "George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey").

In addition, "Shane" was one of the first films in which actors were attached to hidden wires that yanked them backwards when they were shot from the front.

References in other media

* Samuel L. Jackson's character in "The Negotiator" mentions that, though he rarely likes westerns, he listed "Shane" as one of the few he enjoyed; he and Kevin Spacey get in to an argument as to whether or not Shane dies.
* A sample of Joey calling out to Shane at the end of the movie was used in the hit single "The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking" by Roger Waters. Scenes from the movie were used in the video clip of that song.
* In the episode "Synchronized Swimming" (Season 4, episode 5/Original air date: Oct. 16, 1999), Arnold and the gang of "Hey Arnold!" create a routine based on the film, with the name changed to "Wayne". They finish the routine with a unison chanting of the spoofed final line, "Wayne! Wayne! Come back, Wayne!"
*Cliff Robertson played a gunfighter-themed guest villain called "Shame" in the 1960s "Batman" episode "Come Back, Shame".
*Clint Eastwood's 1985 western "Pale Rider" contains many thematic and plot references to "Shane".
*In "Goodfellas", right before Joe Pesci's character starts shooting at Spyder's feet, he asks,"Hey, what's that movie with Bogart?" Robert De Niro's character jokingly responds, "Shane!" -- at which Pesci smiles and begins to fire.
* Roger Waters on his solo album "The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking" during the song "5:01AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Part 10)," asks in reference to the movie, "Do you remember Shane?"
* Bill Hicks on his album "Arizona Bay" compares the United States during the First Gulf War to Jack Palance from "Shane".
* WWE CEO and Owner Vince McMahon is reportedly obsessed with the movie "Shane". He's named his son Shane after that movie and he even named his production company "Shane Productions" when he made "No Holds Barred". He even has tried to buy the rights to this movie.
* Croatian rock band Haustor recorded one of their most popular songs, "Šejn" (Croatian transcription of "Shane"), on their third album from 1985.
* The 2008 film, "The Dark Knight", ends with an allusion to "Shane" in which Commissioner Gordon's son calls after Batman as he rides away.
*The 1978 "Battlestar Galactica" episode, "The Lost Warrior" is quite similar to "Shane."
*An episode of the 1960's animated series "Roger Ramjet" called "Hi Noon" parodies the ending to "Shane", in which a boy calls after Roger when he rides out of town after defeating the story's villain.
*Gigi Morasco, a character on the US soap opera "One Life to Live", named her son Shane after the main character of the movie. She says that Shane's father, Rex Balsom, reminds her of Alan Ladd.
*In the episode "A Taxing Problem" (1990) (Show - 0415) of the series "Married with Children", Al walks out the door with his suitcase and then comes back in and says, "Very nice. Very nice. No 'Oh Dad, please don't go'? No 'Oh Al, yes I'll cut my hair'? Not even a 'Shane, Shane, come back'?"
*BaconBoy the Metal Gear Solid ultmiate fan boy ( father was obbsesd with the movie shane and named BaconBoy after that.. The real name of BaconBoy is in fact Shane!


* Alan Ladd as Shane
* Jean Arthur as Marian Starrett
* Van Heflin as Joe Starrett
* Brandon De Wilde as Joey Starrett
* Jack Palance as Jack Wilson
* Ben Johnson as Chris Calloway
* Edgar Buchanan as Fred Lewis
* Emile Meyer as Rufus Ryker
* Elisha Cook Jr. as Frank 'Stonewall' Torrey
* Douglas Spencer as Axel 'Swede' Shipstead
* John Dierkes as Morgan Ryker
* Ellen Corby as Liz Torrey
* Paul McVey as Sam Grafton
* John Miller as Will Atkey, bartender
* Edith Evanson as Mrs. Shipstead

Awards and nominations

* Academy Awards: Best Cinematography, Color, Loyal Griggs; 1954.

* Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Brandon De Wilde; Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Jack Palance; Best Director, George Stevens; Best Picture, George Stevens; Best Writing, Screenplay, A.B. Guthrie Jr.; 1954.

* In 1993, "Shane" was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

* "Shane" was listed at #69 on the original "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies" list in 1997. When the list was revisited in 2007, it rose to #45.

* In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. "Shane" was acknowledged as the third best film in the western genre. [cite news | author = American Film Institute | title = AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres | work = | date = 2008-06-17 | url = | accessdate= 2008-06-18] [cite web | title= Top Western | url = | publisher= American Film Institute |accessdate= 2008-06-18]


External links

* [ Watching Movies With...Woody Allen: Coming Back To "Shane"] , an August 2001 article from "The New York Times"
* [ "Shane"] at

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