Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Movie For Western Wednesday...!

I know that most of you have seen this movie, probably more than once.

Seems like it comes on nearly every year on TMC and the western channel. It is, in my opinion, one of the best of the early western films, mainly because of the character development. I like strong characters in books and film!

Aug 1, 1953:
Shane released by Paramount

Shane, considered by many critics to be the greatest western movie, is released by Paramount Pictures.

Based on Jack Schaefer's 1949 novel of the same name, Shane was a new type of western. After World War II, Americans began to crave books and films that offered more realistic and complex characters. Simple two-dimensional heroes like Hopalong Cassidy no longer seemed believable to adults who had lived through the horrors and hardships of World War II. Schaefer's book, and the movie based on it, created a western hero for a more mature and sophisticated America.

Alan Ladd played a drifting gunfighter who goes by only one name, Shane. In the opening scene, Shane rides down out of the rugged Teton Mountains into a fertile valley (the movie was filmed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming) where he meets a homesteading family: Joe and Marian Starrett, and their son, Joey. Eager to give up the rootless gunfighter's life, Shane hires on as a farmhand. Soon, however, he learns that the local cattle baron is trying to run the Starretts and other homesteaders off their land so he can continue using it for grazing.

Shane is initially reluctant to use his guns to help the homesteaders. However, when the cattle baron hires a famous gunslinger named Wilson (played by Jack Palance) who kills one of the farmers, Joe Starrett is determined to take revenge. Realizing the stubborn Starrett will almost certainly be killed, Shane knocks him unconscious and goes in his place. After killing Wilson, Shane reluctantly concludes that he cannot escape his violent past and must leave the settled valley. In one of the most memorable scenes in movie history, Shane rides off into the wild mountains, the boy Joey's voice echoing after him: "Come back, Shane!"

Simultaneously mythic and realistic, Shane created one of the first fully rounded western heroes. Shane lives by his gun, but he is essentially a good man who envies Joe Starrett's settled family life. Ironically, Shane's fate is to use violence to create civilized communities where violence is no longer acceptable or necessary.

One interesting thing about this film is the fact that the hero wants to change, but is forced to use his talent to protect those weaker than himself. A very similar fate may be ahead for some of us, having to decide just how far we are willing to go to protect the weak or unprepared. Hard choices ahead, I'm thinking!

Coffee on the patio this morning, if you don't mind the heat. All I can offer is a little shade!


Anonymous said...

I remember that movie well, but it has been years since I've seen it. Thanks for the memories.

Hey, a little shade goes a long way when its hot - I'll take it!

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

I love that movie! Too bad Hollywood
doesn't make 'em like that anymore. All they make now is garbage. I bet it's been at least 10 years since there has been one that I would pay good money to see.
Coffee on the patio is just fine - I'll bring some carrot cake!

Momlady said...

Ahhh, memories. You sure know how to stir them up. Coffee sounds loverly.

linda m said...

Your final comments are very insightful and thought provoking. Something to think about. Shane is one of my favorite Westerns. A little shade is always welcome.

JMD said...

That was a jog to the memory bank! I really liked that movie but it has been so long since I have seen it that it would appear new to me! ha

HermitJim said...

Hey Anon 5:19...
It was a good movie, no doubt!

A little shade is better than no shade at all!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Phyllis...
There were some good movies that came from that era! This had to be one of the best!

Time to make the hard choices is now, before the need arises! Much easier to prepare ourselves, I think!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey JMD...
You always spot at least one thing you've forgotten when you watch it again after a long time!

Almost like seeing it for the first time, like you said!

Many thanks for coming over today!

HermitJim said...

Hey Momlady...
Hopefully I only stir up the good memories! Bad ones can stay hidden!

Thanks, lady, for coming by today!

JOJO said...

Don't recall the movie. Maybe later in the day something will jog my memory.

Like another cup of coffee or 2. :)

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
I'm surprised you can't remember the movie!

If you get a chance, you might try and find it and watch it. Good one, I think.

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over today!

Ted Webb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted Webb said...

Main cast
•Alan Ladd as Shane (September 3, 1913 – January 29, 1964) Aged 50. Died of acute overdose of alcohol and sedatives:
•Jean Arthur as Marian Starrett (October 17, 1900 – June 19, 1991) Aged 90. Died of heart failure
•Van Heflin as Joe Starrett (December 13, 1908 – July 23, 1971) Aged 62. Died of heart attack
•Brandon De Wilde as Joey Starrett (April 9, 1942 – July 6, 1972) Aged 30. Died of traffic accident. He is the little boy.
•Jack Palance as Jack Wilson (February 18, 1919 – November 10, 2006) Aged 87. Died of natural causes. He was the mean, hired gunman. Very evil.
•Ben Johnson as Chris Calloway (June 13, 1918 – April 8, 1996) Aged 77. He's the guy who threw whisky on Shane the first time. Then he gets beat up by Shane. This triggers 5 on 2 bar-room brawl.
•Emile Meyer as Rufus Ryker (August 18, 1910 – March 19, 1987) Aged 77
•Elisha Cook Jr. as Frank 'Stonewall' Torrey (December 26, 1903 – May 18, 1995)
•Douglas Spencer as Axel 'Swede' Shipstead (February 10, 1910 – October 6, 1960) Aged 50