Jacqueline Lynch's enlightening and informative treatise on Shane in Another Old Movie Blog has prompted today's post.
Like a lot of small-town 60s kids I went to the movies every Saturday and, contrary to accepted tradition, every Sunday I could get. Most often I attended with my sister Paula, sometimes with my friend Lynn. Our dad would take us in the evening when a new Disney release came to town. Special movies such as My Fair Lady or A Hard Day's Night required dressing up, but Saturdays were cotton shorts and shirt days. It's always summer when I look back.
It never mattered what the movie was on Saturday, it was the going to the movie that was the event. I remember catching the comedies like Donovan's Reef and Walk Don't Run and the Beach Party gang. Sometimes we'd get an amalgam of Bowery Boys flicks and serials. My favourites were the westerns. You'd think I'd get enough of them from television, but no.
My outstanding memory is of the day I saw Shane. It was a theatrical re-release, but it was a new movie to me. From the moment the movie started it drew me into a world and made me live there. I felt each character's emotions as I never had watching any other movie. I experienced Joey's awe of Shane, Marian's conflicted heart, Wilson's confidence, Ryker's frustration, Joe's realization, Torrey's bravado. I felt the rain pouring down my neck, Joey's bare feet in the yard and the bullet smashing into Torrey.
At the same time as I was experiencing the movie, another part of brain was working on why I was feeling that way. I recognized the emphasis of the music and the reasons for close-ups or not. I saw how the gate fenced Joe away from Shane and Marian. All the movie watching in my 10 or 11 years came together and opened up a new way of experiencing and appreciating film.
Time and repeat viewings have not diminished the impact and my affection for Shane, the movie that made me love movies.