(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 36
3.6 out of 5 🐙
In a lot of ways, this is a very by the numbers western. Most of them are descendants or straight copies of Kurasawa’s Seven Samurai. A big group of bad guys harasses and threatens good townsfolk. A nondescript stranger or group of strangers enters and (always) begrudgingly saves the day. The good guys always win. Where Shane differs slightly is that the main bad guy actually gives a reasonable explanation for his unethical behavior. it’s not airtight. And it is beaten back by a better argument. but he’s not just some two-dimensional thug who is pushing people around for absolutely no reason. it’s not a good enough reason but it’s not “no reason”. Even the archetypal “first thug who picks a fight with the hero” comes back and acknowledges he was wrong and that he is leaving his corrupt employer. Alan Ladd plays the quietly confident, Teddy Roosevelt, carrying a big stick but speaking softly type. The kid (Little Joe) does not impress at all with his acting performance here. He is a blight on the otherwise solid performances by the other actors. The star of the film is a young Jack Palance. You just cannot teach that level of charisma. he’s only in a few scenes of a two-hour movie but I am still thinking about him. He knows he is a hired killer but he makes sure to curtail any bragging by the main bad guy who hired him by pointing out that he is the one doing the bloody work, not him. He also is an unrepentant Yankee and confederate hater, calling Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and ALL the rebels “trash”. I couldn’t agree more but my historical conclusions really aren’t important to the review of this film. It did make me feel a little less sympathy for the townsfolk since they loved the confederacy. The final climactic fight scene is short and sweet. Modern action movies drag them out so long. Sometimes it’s good but often it feels like it loses any semblance of even faux-realism by staging a final fight that goes on so long both combatants would be dead.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)