AFI #45 – Shane

Shane - PosterShane

1953

Directed by George Stevens

Netflix says… Amid stunning vistas, this Oscar-winning Western from director George Stevens follows a reformed gunslinger whose determination to avoid a fight is tested when greedy cattle barons threaten the community of homesteaders he’s joined.

What a great classic western. The kind where you can tell the good guys from the bad guys based on the color of their hats. Also, you know the kid is crazy annoying, due to the fact that he just won’t shut up with his sing-songy inflections with everything he says! This one is from way back when Jack Palance was credited as Walter Jack Palance. He shows up on screen and you just know he’s the bad guy. Not just because he’s wearing black from head to toe (and really, who does that in the wild west? It’s always hot!), but also because the dog in the deserted saloon walks off with its head hanging and its tail between its legs. I have to question the sound mixing on this one. When Shane shoots at a target picked out by the kid, it sounds like he’s firing a bazooka. Did you know that Shane is an early debate over gun control? When Shane tells Mrs. Starrett that a “gun is as good or as bad as the man using it,” she responds that “we’d all be better off if there wasn’t a single gun left in this valley.” I thought the whole thing was pretty good. Other than the annoying child. Seriously, every line he delivered was like nails on a chalkboard. And the movie leaves us with one of the great Hollywood mysteries, is Shane alive or dead in that final scene as he rides off into the distance? The answer probably depends on how you saw the end of Inception. Does the top fall or keep spinning?

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