“Shane! Shane! Come Back Shane!”…little Joey called out to the lone man on a horse, silhouetted in the darkness! Shane did not look back, but rode off, through the old cemetery, and up towards the Grand Tetons Mountains. Fade to black. End of Movie!
(Even though this actual movie scene was a night time shot, somehow the “trailers” for the movie show it to be broad daylight)
If you are a movie buff …like I am….you will know the name of the movie.
I really like movie trivia…the behind the scenes information and if there are any goof-ups, I like to see that too.
You know I am weird like that….I look for something amiss when I watch movies.
Perhaps you will like the trivia associated with the movie, “Shane”.
First, a little background, if you have not seen the movie, or to refresh your memory.
(you know he is a gunslinger by the way he wears his gun on his hip)
A stranger, wearing buckskin and a six shooter, calling himself Shane (Alan Ladd), rides into an isolated valley in the sparsely settled state of Wyoming some time after the Homestead Act was put into place in 1862.
Whatever his past, he’s obviously skilled as a gunslinger, and soon finds himself drawn into a conflict between homesteader Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) and ruthless cattle baron Rufus Ryker (Emile Meyer), who wants to force Starrett and the others off the land. Shane stays for supper and the night, at the invitation of Joe’s wife, Marian (Jean Arthur), and starts working as a farmhand.
(Brandon de Wilde played the little boy, Joey…who was fascinated with Shane!)
Now a bit of interesting trivia regarding the making of this movie.
- Filmed between late July and mid-October 1951, the film was held back until its Manhattan premiere at Radio City Music Hall on August 21, 1953.
- “Shane” was originally scheduled for 28 days of shooting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and 20 days at the studio with a budget of $1,980,000. It finished after 75 days of shooting at a cost of over $3,000,000.
- Meticulous care was taken at all levels of production. All the physical props were true to the period, the buildings were built to the specifications of the time and the clothing was completely authentic. Director George Stevens even had somewhat scrawny-looking cattle imported from other areas, as the local herds looked too well-fed and healthy.
- Alan Ladd was only 5’6″, and this had to be compensated for. When he is in scenes with Van Heflin the two are about the same height, although Heflin was far taller. When Ladd is shown with Jean Arthur he is perhaps a bit taller than she. When Heflin is shown with her, Heflin is far taller than she. So Alan Ladd wore lifts in his boots and at times, stood on a box to make the difference in heights not so apparent.
(Shane dancing with Marian, Joey’s mother and wife of homesteader Joe Starrett.)
- Jean Arthur was over 50 years old when she played Marian Starrett – she was, in fact, ten years older than Emile Meyer, who plays grizzled old cattle baron Rufus Ryker.
(Rufus Ryker, with the beard…plots with the ‘hired gun’ …the mean looking guy in the center…on how to rid Wyoming of the homesteaders)
- In the face-off between Wilson (Jack Palance) and Torrey (Elisha Cook Jr., Torrey tells Wilson that he is “a low-down, lyin’ Yankee”. Although director George Stevens kept directing Palance at this point to smile–an expression of amused contempt at Cook–Palance continued take after take to show too much menace and not enough of a smile mixed in. Finally Stevens took Cook aside and whispered something to him. During the next take, Cook read his line, and added “and a son of a bitch, too!” This time, Stevens got his take.
(Unfortunately, the name calling, and the fact that Torrey was a homesteader….did him in)
- In the funeral scene, the dog consistently refused to look into the grave. Finally, director George Stevens had the dog’s trainer lie down in the bottom of the grave, and the dog played his part. The coffin (loaded with rocks for appropriate effect) was then lowered into the grave, but when the harmonica player began to play “Taps” spontaneously, the crew was so moved by the scene that they began shoveling dirt into the grave before remembering the dog’s trainer was still there.
- In 2008, “Shane” was ranked #3 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Western”… and #45 Greatest Movie of all time. The line from the movie and the title of this post “Shane! Shane Come Back!”..was voted #47 (out of 100) famous movie quotes.
I really liked this movie and it has withstood the sands of time….hero comes to town and bad guys are dealt with, hero gets back on his horse and moves on because he doesn’t fit in with all the good guys. Sort of a Happily ever after movie.
But wait, there is more.
The haunting question that remains long after the movie ends is… what happened to Shane?
- Did Shane die from the wound in the showdown fight? Some say yes, that was why he rode through the cemetery as he was leaving.
- Some say Shane just rode off into the mountains to heal and ride again another day.
- Some read even more into the fact that Shane rode in on a flat horizon and moved up (heading for the mountains) signifying death. Riding through the cemetery was significant to that theory.
(If you would like to see the final scene of the Movie “Shane” to form your own theory…check out this site)…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtoCw2iOTSc
I personally… have always believed that Shane chose number 2, … but then I am a romantic and a dreamer! 😉
What are your thoughts?