Reviewed by Doug Boilesen
OK, so this movie ends with the often mocked "Shaaaaane...,
come baaaaaack..." And for Friends of the Phonograph
it doesn't have any phonographs in the movie (although it technically
could have had an Edison Class "M" Phonograph since this
time period was supposed to be 1889).
Nonetheless, Shane is in my top ten because it
is a great western. Perhaps I'm trying to justify how many times
I've watched it by calling it great. But who cannot think of Shane
as the archetype of movie westerns with its storyline and its setting
in the magnificent Grand Tetons. It's good guy vs. bad guy, Alan
Ladd as the one and only Shane in his white hat versus Jack Palance
in his black hat and perfectly cast as the evil gunfighter Wilson
("yeah, that was Wilson all right. He was fast, real fast...").
1953 Paramount Pictures
In my home town Shane had originally played at
the classic Lincoln, Nebraska movie theatre aptly named the Lincoln;
but I first saw this movie at the Star View drive-in theatre later
at the end of the 1950's when the outdoor theatre was still a fun
weekend event for the family.
When watching the movie one feels the remoteness
of the place, separated from law and order and miles from the nearest
town. Store-bought clothes and soda pop in Grafton's General Store
provided clues that there was civilization beyond the muddy streets
of the fictional town near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But the source
of those goods was a distant world from this valley with no real
impact on daily life. Note: For some interesting information related
to the filming location of Shane see Mike Jackson's "Shane
- The Epic movie filmed in Jackson Hole."
The heart of this story for me is the land and
the people and the conflict between the fence-building homesteaders
and the open-range cattlemen who did not want civilization or change.
Shane comes to the valley, removes those who were preventing 'progress'
and then must himself leave because he was part of that old order
and as the "last gun" in the valley has no place in it.
In the early 1980's I frequently enjoyed this movie
at the home of my friends Dave and Kathy Aiken who owned an RCA
SelectaVision videodisc player and Shane was one of their CED (Capacitance
Electronic Discs) videodiscs. The videodisc itself would not be
able to compete with video tapes and laserdiscs and by 1986 videodiscs
were no longer made. But as a Friend of the Phonograph I
appreciated CED technology because it was essentially a high-tech
phonograph that actually used a record player needle to display
images and sound. It was part of that new world of home entertainment
that allowed the presentation of movies like Shane in your own home
whenever you wanted to insert a disc.
March 22, 1981 RCA introduced its analog video
format, the SelectaVision CED VideoDisc system
Shane clearly has personal associations for me
regarding when and how and where I watched it and perhaps it is
getting some extra review points for those connections. But ultimately
it's a great movie regardless of those memories.
In short, I have this movie in my top ten as a
classic western and pre-eminent example of its genre.
Other home entertainment formats were VHS, Betamax,
Laser Videodisc, DVD and Blu-Ray DVD.
Grand Opening ad for the Star View Outdoor Theatre,
Star View photos courtesy of Cinematreasures.org
The Lincoln Theatre,1227 N Street, Lincoln, NE - Shane
The Lincoln Theatre - Opened May 18, 1925 with Gloria
Swanson in “Madame Sans Gene”. The Boller Brothers were the architects
of this 1,600 seat theatre (850 orchestra, 750 balcony). R.E.
Hall & Company were the consulting engineers. The Lincoln Theatre
was operated by Paramount-Publix. By 1957 it was operated by the
Cooper Foundation. It was closed in 1961 and demolished in 1962.
Courtesy of CinemaTreasures
Lincoln Theatre Interior, 1929