Thursday, August 30, 2012

Western #3 - Shane (1953)

Shane is a strange movie to me. It's not very well acted - just about everyone sounds like they're reding lines in an attempt to memorize them, rather than express human emotion. It definitely wasn't well-filmed, the camera was just pointed at the action and the technicolor did it no favors. And yet, there is apparently an actual complex story hidden under all this mediocre execution. People love this movie. People study this story - This story has Sparknotes, people. Clearly someone sees some quality in it.

Shane is about the commitment and devotion of the average American farmer, of the Homesteaders, and the violence that surrounds them and infects them. Shane represents the dark violence of the West and is cursed to drift forever because of his bloody past. He can't repent or settle down, because the guns have to leave the valley if anyone is going top live. It is very difficult to find that meaning in the film. The overall lack of quality in the execution of this movie is hard to get over. It is not well done. You may cite a difference in the style of the filming at the time, but I present to you such evidence as even Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, made in the same year. This silly Marylin Monroe vehicle provides much better cinematography and miles better acting. Actual art went into that movie. Shane has no excuse.

This is one of those movies that makes me think, "The book must be great." The stories a fine one, but the film does not do it justice for me. And why did nobody notice that the kid was cross-eyed during casting? Really.

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