Shane Review

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So archetypal it seems like the first Western ever, this is seen through the eyes of a child (Brandon De Wilde) who idolises pistolero Shane (Alan Ladd) at the expense of his fallible farmer father (Van Heflin). Hero Shane seems to have ridden in fringed buckskins out of a simpler, morally clear-cut Western - like all-in-black demon villain Jack Palance - but stirs the cowed farmers into a stand up against the ruthless ranchers, but the world is more complicated than he can cope with.

Director George Stevens works hard on the landscape and makes a stump-pulling scene a hymn to hard work and male bonding, but the town is characterised by the expanse of mud into which Elisha Cook Jr. tumbles when gutshot by the sadistic Palance. Tries just a tad too hard to be a classic, with Ladd's Roy Rogers woodenness not quite getting the depths of author Jack Schaefer's fallen hero, but the support - Jean Arthur as the yearning farmer's wife, Ben Johnson as the conscience-struck bully - are excellent, and some scenes lodge forever in your memory.