PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Shane (Blu-ray) (1952)

Shane (Blu-ray) (1952)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Apr-2015

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1952
Running Time 118:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By George Stevens

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Alan Ladd
Jean Arthur
Van Heflin
Brandon de Wilde
Jack Palance
Ben Johnson
Edgar Bechanan
Emile Meyer
Elisha, Jr Cook
Douglas Spencer
John Dierkes
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Victor Young

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby TrueHD 2.0
French Dolby Digital 1.0
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0
German Dolby Digital 1.0
Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Malay
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     A lone horseman rides from the prairie to the farmhouse of Marian and Joe Starrett (Jean Arthur / Van Heflin) and their preteen son Joey (Brandon De Wilde). The rider is Shane (Alan Ladd), who is obviously a man escaping from a troubled past, jumping for his gun at unexpected sounds. He is given dinner and starts to help on the farm, putting aside his past and his guns and forming a close bond with Joey. But all is not well in the valley: the Starrett’s and other homesteader families have been farming and building fences and are at odds with the larger, free range ranch owned by Rufus Ryker (Emile Meyer). When Ryker cannot buy out the “squatters”, as he terms them, his men including Chris Calloway (Ben Johnson) harass the homesteader families, cutting fences, killing livestock and running cattle across crops in an attempt to scare them into leaving; some do leave but Joe Starrett is the leader who inspires others to stay. When coercion does not work, Ryker brings in gunfighter Jack Wilson (Jack Palance), who first provokes, then shoots and kills, Stonewall Torrey (Elisha Cook Jr.), one of the homesteaders. Will Shane pick up his guns to protect the family he has become a part of, knowing that even if he wins, he will lose?

     Shane, based on the 1949 novel by Jack Schaefer, was directed by George Stevens. The film received six Oscar nominations, including best director and best picture (losing in both categories to Fred Zinnemann’s From Here to Eternity), best supporting actors for Brandon De Wilde and Jack Palance, plus best screenplay but it did win best colour cinematography for Loyal Griggs. And indeed, the Technicolor presentation of Shane is glorious with the rich, deep colours of the brown and green prairie, blue and grey rivers flowing over stone beds, brown log homesteads amid green trees all with a backdrop of snow clad mountains in the distance. Griggs later received Oscar nominations for The Ten Commandments (1956) and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1966) so he knew a bit about epic filmmaking!

     In the late 1940s and early 1950s Alan Ladd was at the height of his popularity and his performance in Shane is nicely nuanced and one of the best of his career as Shane is a morality tale with a western setting rather than a full on shoot-em-up western. There is the obligatory bar room brawl, with chairs and furniture smashed over heads, and the climax with its slow building of tension and explosive gunfight but, like many good westerns, Shane is really about redemption, for although it is nowhere spelled out what Shane has done in the past, his skill with a gun, when it happens, speaks for itself. He is a man given an opportunity for a different life with a family and a young boy who hero-worships him but, as he realises in the end and tells Joey, a man cannot break the mould and has to be what he is. While Brandon De Wilde and Jack Palance received Oscar nominations (De Wilde is very good in parts and very annoying in others while Palance finally won his Oscar almost four decades later for City Slickers (1991)) the film’s power rests on Ladd and the strong performance of Van Heflin. Also good is Emile Meyer; his Rufus Ryker is not an evil man and the speech to Joe Starrett in which he gives his view of what is happening is a strong speech, well delivered by Meyer.

     Shane builds gradually to its climax with scenes showing the lives of the families on the prairie, such as the Independence Day celebration and dance, and there is wry humour, such as the dog that slinks into the corner when Palance makes his entrance into the film, and the saloon, which tells one all you need to know about his character! Shane was, and is, a classic western that has influenced films including Pale Rider (1985), and it was voted #3 in the American Film Institute’s poll of best westerns. Yet, even more, Shane is an American classic, whatever the genre, that deserves to be seen.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     Shane is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code. The film was shot in the 1.37:1 ratio but prior to release Paramount cropped the film and projected it in theatres at 1.66:1. All home video releases of the film were 1.37:1 but see the Region 1 v Region 4 section below.

     There is something about the look of the old Technicolor movies shot on film stock that cannot be replicated. Shane in HD looks magnificent with deep rich colours and strong, clear detail in both longshots and close-ups. The prairie is a rich brown, with sections of green near flowing water, the sky is a beautiful cold blue, brown log homesteads nestle amid green trees while all the time in the distance are snow clad mountains (actually the Teton Range in Wyoming). Blacks are solid, shadow detail fine given that the scenes were shot day for night, skin tones good, contrast and brightness consistent. Marks and artefacts were miniscule.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available plus a huge range of European and non-European languages.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio options are English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 stereo plus German, Spanish, French and Italian Dolby Digital 1.0.

     Dialogue is clear. Director Stevens wanted to emphasise the impact of the gunshots so in the scene where Shane teaches Joey to shoot his gunshots come across as very effective, loud and reverberating. Other effects, such as horses’ hooves, riders splashing across rivers, cattle driven through a farmer’s crops, have a pleasing depth.

     The score by Victor Young, later Oscar winner for Around the World in 80 Days (1956), is swelling and quite epic in feel. However director Stevens was not happy with sections of Young’s score so in places substituted music Young had written for The Glass Key (1942), which had starred Ladd, and replaced the saloon shootout score with Franz Waxman’s music from Rope of Sand (1949). I guess you could do that in those days of studio films!

     There are no lip synchronisation issues

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     The silent menu offers only “Play”, “Settings” and “Scenes”.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The US Region Free Blu-ray of Shane is 1.37:1 and includes as an extra the audio commentary that was on our old Region 4 DVD release. On the other hand the UK Region B Masters of Cinema Blu-ray is 1.37:1 and includes the commentary, a video interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard (22:18), a Lux Radio Adaptation of the story (53:47), a trailer and booklet plus a second Blu-ray with the film in its 1.66:1 theatrical ratio; a clear win to the UK.


     Almost 70 years after it was made Shane remains a rewatchable, bona-fide, classic American film with the screen charisma and charm of Alan Ladd on full show. The film still rates a critics’ score of 97% on; enough said! A film this influential deserves analysis but unfortunately we miss out on all the extras available in the UK, even missing the commentary that was on our pervious DVD release. However, if you only want the film looking glorious in HD, this bare bones Blu-ray can be had quite cheaply.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE