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In the Dark

Shane On Wheels

Drive
Produced by Bold Films and Odd Lot Entertainment
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Screenplay by Hossein Amini from the novel by James Sallis
Distributed by Film District

 

At the close of George Stevens’ 1953 big-screen version of Jack Schaefer’s novel, Shane, ten-year-old Joey Starrett (Brandon De Wilde) called repeatedly to his wounded idol, “Shane, come back,” as the saintly gunslinger rode into the mountains surrounding the Wyoming valley in which Joey and his parents lived.  Joey’s plaintive appeal proved unavailing.  Shane (Alan Ladd at his stoic best) kept riding into the hazy distance, having completed his mission.  He had just saved Joey’s imperiled family by facing down evil in the person of the demonic Wilson (Jack Palance), a hired gun retained by the territory’s cattle baron.  It was now time to ride away so that he could be with the Starretts in spirit forevermore.

Schaefer’s novel and Stevens’ film were elegant reworkings of the Christ story set in 1880’s Wyoming, complete with echoes of crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.  It’s a wonder that the ACLU didn’t sue Paramount for scandalizing the filmgoing public.

Today, it seems there’s more saving to be done, for Shane has at long last heeded Joey’s call and come back.  Last...

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