SHANE (1953) C 118m dir: George Stevens

w/Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon de Wilde, Jack Palance, Ben Johnson, Edgar Buchanan, Emile Meyer, Elisha Cook Jr., Douglas Spencer

This truly epic western, among the best ever made, tells the simple story of a gunfighter coming to the aid of homesteaders. It's been filmed with amazing skill by director Stevens.

From The Movie Guide: "It's the western styled as Arthurian legend, flawlessly cast, undeniably splendid. The thematic attempt really takes off when the Black Knight himself, Jack Palance [in the role of Wilson], arrives, or when a dog mourns the passing of his master. And Brandon de Wilde had a very special line in children's roles --- an ability to bring complexity and individual humor to the realm of childhood longing. We love him very much.

"SHANE stars Alan Ladd in the title role of the gunslinger who becomes a young boy's idol. Joe and Marion Starrett (Van Heflin and Jean Arthur) and their adventurous young son Joey (Brandon de Wilde) are struggling to survive on their Wyoming frontier homestead. One day, Shane (Alan Ladd) approaches on horseback and asks for water for himself and his mount. Joe obliges, and before long Shane is helping the family protect its land from villainous cattle baron Ryker (Emile Meyer). ... SHANE is a powerful drama in which the old West of gunslingers and cattle barons bows to the new era of the homesteader and the family. Ladd, who was never better as the doomed hero, and who gives one of the best performances ever seen in any western, knows he is a creature of the past and that he cannot escape his reputation as a hired gun. Although the film is often brutal, there is such a positive sense of morality displayed here that SHANE should be seen by the whole family."

SHANE was awarded an Oscar for Best Cinematography (Loyal Griggs). It was also nominated for Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (both de Wilde and Palance), Screenplay (A.B. Guthrie Jr. and Jack Sher, based on the novel by Jack Schaefer).