“Shane! Come back!”
Shane, the 1953 classic featuring one of the best endings in the western canon, is coming back in high definition. And, to the hoorahs of both film purists and Woody Allen himself, the June 4 Blu-ray edition will be in the film’s original aspect ratio.
“Shane” was shot in the then-prevailing classic, squarish “Academy” ratio by director George Stevens and cinematographer Loyal Griggs in 1951. But by the time it was ready for release in early 1953, Hollywood was gearing up for widescreen presentations to compete with TV. “Shane” thus became the first Hollywood film of this era — there had been experiments with 70mm for early talkies — to be released in 1:66, shown that way at Radio City Music Hall and for other premiere engagements. But for most of the past 60 years, “Shane” has been exhibite — theatrically, on TV and on home video — the way Stevens shot it, in 1:37.
The western follows a gunslinger (Alan Ladd, Jr.) who comes out of retirement to defend farmers against cutthroat cattlemen and their hired gun (Jack Palance).