I was just 5 years old when I saw this movie (thank you, Nannie!). In some ways, it changed my life forever. It helped that I identified with the kid...just a couple of years older than me. Knew it was going to be something special (thanks to those radio commercials that captivated me...)
Saw it with my grandkids this week (Mar. 2018). I saw it with older, adult eyes, and appreciated it for a whole set of new reasons. Also know much now about George Stevens, the director, who made this early-50s western after horrific experiences filming WW II documentaries. (See more in Netflix's 5 Came Back).
I just marvel at the cinematography, the pacing, the understated dialogue and the incredible editing job...Stevens putting the camera on subjects that appear, sometimes, to have no real connection with the narrative, but, in fact, provide important humanizing elements to the story. REAL people. A REAL farm. Even the "bad guys" are three-D characters. Simply the best movie opportunity Alan Ladd ever had. And man, with Stevens' able direction, he made the most of it. And that was plenty.
Stevens would be distraught about his country today. After witnessing the worst WW II offered (think about the very WORST of that war!) his task was bringing the novel's anti-violence message to the screen in a memorable, emotional way.
"Shane, come back!" But gunfighter Shane can't come back. His time is over. So says the novel...and so says the film.
Wrong. It's 2018 and violence is still with us, in a mass-murder way nobody could have conceived of half a century ago. Today's reality gives a poignancy to the feature that likely would have Stevens in despair...