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indexPoor, Joey. Running in the dark crying out for Shane to come back.

I kept thinking of that line this past weekend as I was trying to dig out a tree stump in our front yard. If you remember, at the beginning of Shane, he starts chopping at the stump to show his gratitude for Joe Starrett standing up for him. Together they do a manly, man thing and finally get it out.

I empathized with that. At one point my wife walked by and I said: “I wish Shane would ride by right now.”

And she replied: “Why? So he can shoot you and put you out of your misery?”

It’s why we’ve been together so long.

I got the stump out without Shane and without being shot.

Shane is listed as one of the classic top 100 movies. There’s a lot more to the movie than the simple: Stranger rides into town. Which is one of the classic story ideas. The subtle romance between Shane and Starrett’s wife is intriguing– nowadays we’d have Bridges of Madison County where Joe Starrett would be out of town and . . .   But this is more about all the people, the interaction between Shane and the entire family.

indexIt was one of the first movies to use the real sound of gunfire; which is louder than most people who aren’t around guns know. Also, the director used wires attached to characters who are shot to pull them back as if actually being hit. The director had been in World War II and had seen people shot. Interestingly, Alan Ladd didn’t like guns and you can actually see him blink when he shoots Jack Palance. Also, I didn’t like the buckskins Shane wore. Made him look like a frontiersman not a gunslinger. On the cover of the paperback, Shane is dressed in a sharp black suit. That’s a gunslinger. Plus, note Shane is a lefty on the book cover and a righty in the movie. Everyone knows lefty’s make better gunfighters.

BTW Jack Palance was afraid of horses which is the reason he rides into town sort of slouching on a horse that’s barely moving. But it worked well, because it made him seem like a bad ass. The scene where he mounts is actually him dismounting run backwards. Jean Arthur played the wife and it was her last movie; she was also fifty at the time, looking good, much older than her male co-stars. Katherine Hepburn had been first choice and I just can’t see Hepburn playing a sod-buster’s wife.

IMG_2951Which is a long way of saying I got the stump out with a combination of axe, chainsaw, shovel, drill, Jeep winch, dynamite, and finally hooking Cool Gus up to it and holding a treat just out of reach, and a lot of cussing, you low-down dirty Yankee stump!

Now, Shane, please leave the valley.


Time Patrol: Ides of March

15 March 2016

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