Shane turns up in a town gripped by a war. Homesteaders are moving into Wyoming and the local cattle baron and all around nasty piece of work, Ryfus Ryker is not happy. He has paid the pyschopathic gun slinger Jack Wilson to scare them and even leave a few in worse shape. When Shane is just going about his business, he is intimidated by one of Rykers young bucks and doesnt rise to the bait. Instead he waits and then later teaches the lesson needed. This leads to Ryker getting involved and the threat of gun smoke being spilled in order to please the men and the war.
George Stevens made some of cinemas greatest films and within them, some of the screens greatest performances. He was also an auteur director of the highest order and deserves recognition for his debt of service owed to the form and the film making process. He made among other great films Giant and A Place in the sun, both had great central themes of loss of innocence and the revealing nature of loss. This said, Shane is the film he is most remembered for in the western film fan cannon. A western that crafted some of the standard conventions and motifs that have stayed with us.
I will warn you if you have not seen Shane that it is a film that stands up today. I watched it and felt blown away by its sheer power and heart. The introduction of a young boy as our view point and narrator of sorts, allows us to see the world as it as we would, naively. Under this however very complex cogs are set turning and the ideas of father hood, place and meaning are introduced. Palance as the evil gunslinger is amazing as the evil counterpoint. He comes in as a demon and sets about cutting all down to size. I love his framing and composition. Always above the other characters and only on level terms when up against Shane. Look also at the tender exchanges between a man and boy. Shane is like a father that wants to instill justice but also a sense of fairness. Power is used to defend and not to take, harm, control or worse still, kill. This is all said within the visual matrix and is so good as to be the most simple but most complex of things. It is hard to be negative and I have to say I still find none on the 5 watch.
So to the disc and I am going to say the 3 version are all superb. Ratios to suit all that care and the restoration is SUPERB. Commentary is excellent and informative without destroying the myths. The interview is good, which is not a surprise. The booklet is a gem and is worth the price alone. All in all a wonder…
- Limited edition two Blu-ray set (2000 copies)
- Stunning high-definition restoration in three aspect ratios: The intended 1.37:1 presentation (disc one); the 1.66:1 original theatrical presentation; and an alternate 1.66:1 framing optimised for this ratio, supervised by George Stevens, Jr. (both disc two, limited edition exclusive)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Uncompressed mono and stereo soundtracks
- Audio commentary by George Stevens, Jr. and associate producer Ivan Moffat
- Video interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard
- Complete Lux Radio Theater adaptation of Shane
- Original theatrical trailer
- 36-PAGE BOOKLET featuring writing on the film by critic Penelope Huston, an unpublished interview with Stevens, a treatment for an unfilmed prologue to the film, an essay on the different ratios, and archival imagery.