This week’s arts and culture column is about a movie upon which I reflected briefly several weeks ago. Here’s how it begins:

Based on the 1949 novel by Jack Schaefer, and directed by George Stevens, the Western technicolor “Shane” (1953) is considered a masterpiece by many.

Seventy years on, the movie is still written about, analyzed, and taught in film courses.

Shane (Alan Ladd) is the quintessential outsider: no family, no history, a man of action, and very few words.

He appears at the top of a hill in the wild, wild West, silhouetted against the purple mountains of Wyoming. Loyal Griggs’ cinematography won him an Oscar, while Victor Young’s score speaks of the pioneer spirit, our longing for home, our love for the land.


6 Replies to “COME BACK, SHANE!”

  1. I loved the movie; I’ve read the novel at least three times over the decades.

    Curiously, I’ve never been interested in seeing the movie again even though I really loved it.

    Maybe I’ll give it a second viewing….

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thanks, Nona–I’ve never read the novel so I should…there’s something about the movie, possibly because it was made the year after I was born, that is among other things so much of a time and place–not just the time and place of the story, but of film-making, and of movie watching…in those days, going to see a movie was a total “event.” Nothing was on-demand; you went to the “cinema,” boought your Jujyfruits or Junior Mints or Good ‘n Plenty, and settled into one of those plush mulberry-velvet seats for a TOTAL ESCAPE. Everything in Shane–the music, the lush Technicolor, the clear-cut good guys vs bad guys paradigm, the impossibly handsome Alan Ladd, the aura of sadness and loss–conspires to clutch at some hidden place in my heart…

  2. Susan Manus says: Reply

    I watched Shane a few months ago because of your glowing recommendation. I’m not a huge western fan but it was a really good movie. When I was a child in the 1970’s my school went to hear an orchestra perform. I don’t remember the other songs, but they played “Goodbye Old Paint” and that melody has pleasantly haunted me all these years. I’ve often thought with this newfangled thing called the internet I should try to find that song again. It was such a wonderful surprise to hear that song in Shane! Thank you for bringing it back to me.

    By the way, isn’t it sad that this current generation knows nothing about vaguely remembering a song from childhood, or wondering who it was who played so and so in some movie and then having it suddenly pop into your head the next day when you are washing dishes? Nowadays you can look things up on Google or (shudder) ask Alexa and know instantly. We have gained a lot with instant technology but we have lost a lot too.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Yes! And the DANCE between Shane and Marian to the strains of a song that’s about yearning and leaving and loss…I, took, looked up “Goodbye Old Paint”…Here’s Roy Rogers and Dale Evans: Interestingly, I never saw the movie as a kid but only this year for the first time. And as I said in a comment below it brought back both an era of movie-making and an era of movie-watching….Right, technology has made us so “rich” in one way and so impoverished in another…

  3. Anonymous says: Reply

    Ain’t you somethin”! Dearest Heather to “see” all of what you have written about the movie Shane! Even more reasons why you are needed on this Planet!

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Well this was an exammple of dashing off a post out of the sheer desire to share and realizing afterward that I had more to say (and could also partially recycle–always a bonus)…so it all worked out. Thanks to be to God that we are all on the Planet!


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