Sunday, July 4, 2010
Shane(1953). 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. Cast: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur and Van Heflin and features Brandon De Wilde, Elisha Cook Jr., Jack Palance and Ben Johnson. The cinematography was by Loyal Griggs, with a music score by Victor Young.
A young Joey Starrett watches while a man on a horse approaches the house, then listens as Shane, talks to his father Joe that he is heading north, toward home.
When Joey cocks his rifle, Shane, startled by the noise, draws his gun with the speed of a gunslinger. Joe not liking what he saw, sends Shane on his way, as a group of men ride up. The men's leader, cattle baron Rufe Ryker, accuses Joe of squatting on his land and demands that he leave, giving up his homestead. Joe refuses, Ryker's men start trouble until Shane suddenly is standing at Joe's side.
The men leave and Joe's wife Marian, who saw everything, urges Joe to invite Shane to dinner. Joey is happy to have Shane spend the evening with them, Shane, really does not want talk about his past, goes outside to chop wood.
Joe joins him and the next day, the two men team up to pull a tree stump out of the ground. Later, Joey tells Shane that his parents want him to stay and shares with him that his father is worried about Ryker's threats. Shane, who has put away his gun, agrees to remain and help the family save their homestead.
Loved how they used the Grand Teton Mountains as a scenic backdrop in the movie Shane, one of my favorite western films. I thought the film was very realistic looking. For instance the scene in Grafton's saloon is dark and moody, far different from the colorful dance halls in other Westerns.
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.
The last film of Jean Arthur.
Jean Arthur was over 50 years old when she played Marian Starrett - she was, in fact, ten years older than Emile Meyer, who plays grizzled old cattle baron Rufus Ryker.
Shane's fancy gun twirling in the climactic showdown was actually performed by Rodd Redwing. Earlier, when Shane demonstrates his prowess for Joey, and it is clearly Alan Ladd himself on camera, the actor had been given a different, easier-to-use revolver for the scene.