Enjoyable But Not One If The Greats
One of the most boring actors in the film is headliner Alan Ladd, starring as the stranger Shane who shows up to help the Starrett family work and protect their land. Ladd struts around on screen, gets into a lot of fights, befriends Junior Starrett, and heaves leering glances at Mrs. Starrett but never really creates much of an authentic character. In Pale Rider (1985) (a film that borrows a lot from Shane), Clint Eastwood would create a much more intriguing and dimensional unexpected hero character that should have been created in Shane. But Alan Ladd stays a blank canvas throughout the whole film as the hero Shane and it is really disappointing.
As disappointing as Ladd is however, the worst performance in the film comes from Brandon De Wilde, the child actor who plays the young Joey Starrett. Look, I know he was just a kid and all of that - but he was a really annoying kid in the movie and subsequently has a significant negative impact on the film. How he was nominated for an Oscar for his showing in this film I will never understand.
So when all is said and done, the good story, themes, and look of Shane impressed and entertained me but the characters left me wanting more. Shane is a good and recommendable film – but it is not one of the finest films of the western genre in my eyes.
CBC Rating: 7/10