Thursday, April 09, 2009

Shane: "A man has to be what he is, Joey. You can't break the mold. I tried it and it didn't work for me."

Shane, quite the letter. I liked the movie better.

From the AMC Filmsite:

At the conclusion of the film, Joey apologizes for expressing his hate when Shane knocked out his father. The young boy admires his hero, but Shane knows that Joey is admiring him for the wrong reasons.

He is certain that he must move on (without Joey) and not provide Joey with an inappropriate role model for his life.

Shane simply states: "A man has to be what he is." [Note: this line is a variation on the cliched western genre phrase: "A man's gotta be what a man's gotta be."] As Shane starts to leave, he indicates to Joey that he will never return ("there's no living with a killing" - or a killer):

Joey: Shane! I knew you could, Shane. I knew it. I knew it just as well as anything. Was that him? Was that Wilson?

Shane: That was him. That was Wilson alright. He was fast - fast on the draw. Joey, what are you doing here?

Joey: I'm sorry, Shane.

Shane: You don't have to be. You'd better run back.

Joey: Can I ride home behind you?

Shane: Afraid not, Joey.

Joey: Please, why not?

Shane: I gotta be goin' on.

Joey: Why, Shane?

Shane: A man has to be what he is, Joey. You can't break the mold. I tried it and it didn't work for me.

Joey (pleading, unwilling to give Shane up so easily): We want you, Shane.

Shane: Joey, there's no living with, with a killing. There's no going back from it. Right or wrong, it's a brand, a brand that sticks. (Shane shows sad affection in his eyes for the boy.) There's no going back. Now you run on home to your mother and tell her, tell her everything's alright, and there aren't any more guns in the valley.

Joey (noticing that Shane has been wounded): Shane, it's bloody. You're hurt.

Shane (overlooking his wound): I'm alright, Joey. You go home to your mother and your father. And grow up to be strong and straight. And Joey, take care of them, both of them.

Joey: Yes, Shane. (Tears well up in Joey's eyes)

The film ends with the classic, poignant goodbye and farewell. [Joey is the first to see Shane ride into their community, and he is the only one to bid Shane, his mythical idolized hero, farewell.] Joey runs down the boardwalk as Shane begins riding away to leave the valley.

Joey: He'd never have been able to shoot you - if you'd have seen him.

Shane (quietly): Bye, little Joe.

Joey: He never even would have cleared the holster, would he, Shane?

Badly injured in the gun battle, Shane disappears into the twilight meadow toward the distant hills framed against the sky and mountains, growing smaller and smaller in the distance. Young, anguished, and heartbroken Joey sadly calls out to his hero/idol in one of filmdom's most famous and haunting endings, as tears streak down his face. [He is left abandoned and stranded there, summarizing the needs that the members of his family - including himself - have had for Shane.]

Pa's got things for you to do, and Mother wants you. (the words "wants you" echo) I know she does. Shane. Shane! Come back! 'Bye, Shane.

The mountains echo Joey's plaintive call as Shane (slightly slumped over in his saddle, wounded and dying - or already dead?) rides up the crest of Cemetery Hill through the tombstones and ascends toward the snow-capped Tetons.

In a mirror image of the film's opening, he follows the same path that he had taken in his descent into the valley.

1 comment:

Horse-farmer said...

Shane was one of those "you gotta watch" westerns.

Really liked it.

Jack Palance was good in it too