This pack contains a photocopiable Student's Guide and a Teacher's Commentary

In the Student's Guide the film is segmented into units of 10-15 minutes duration. This facilitates work in the normal class period. There is a series of questions for each sequence that guides the viewing of the students and encourage them to keep a personal Response Journal.

The Teacher's Commentary is a well researched separate booklet which covers issues raised in the guide.

Each pack is priced @ € 35.00, postage free. Titles are shipped on receipt of payment. Delivery is by Standard Post: next-day delivery in Ireland, and 2-10 days for international orders.

 

 

Extract from Teacher's Commentary: 

SEQUENCE 1
Shane Enters The Valley
Let the film roll until Ryker’s men are ordered off Starrett’s farm

The opening scene fades in to the sound of a lush orchestral soundtrack, as a rider enters the fertile valley. It is a peaceful place, rich in nature’s goodness. Joey, from the start, is associated with guns. In this case he plays ‘hunter’ with his small rifle. We will see, later, how fascinated he is with Shane’s weapon and the idea of what being a ‘real man’ is. The two are closely linked in his mind. Joey is timid and bashful as Shane approaches him, like the deer he was stalking earlier.

Joe Starrett is at work on a huge tree trunk. His tool is the axe, and his own brute strength will get the job done. Later, Shane will talk of the gun as ". . . a tool no better or worse than any other." In the course of the film we will see that Starrett is dogged and hard to move - just like the stump he is working on.

Marion is introduced to us first on the soundtrack, singing, in the house. As in Westerns generally, the good woman’s place is in the home. Martha, in The Searchers, brings civilisation, good manners and a comfortable home-life to all who enter her house. Her place is inside. The desert is the place of men, and the ways of men involve hardship and death. Marion plays a similar role here. She busies herself about the house humming I will see Nelly home. Her first words are about pointing guns at people. In the course of the movie she will resist the use of violence in word or act. She makes an exception of Shane. Somehow she sees it as natural for him to go to town, instead of her husband, at the end of the film.

Shane is surprised by the presence of fences in the valley. He is heading north expecting the range to be open. The fences represent the efforts of the settlers to tame the wilderness. Obviously, things are changing in this particular part of the West. We will see that this process of change is at the nub of the film’s main conflict - that between Ryker, who has just got a big government beef contract to service the Indian reservation, and the homesteaders, who have acquired farms from that same government. Shane speaks kindly to Joey and compliments him on the way he observes the world. The presence of milch cows surprises him. He is probably used to steers and cattle raised for beef. He would not be surprised by Ryker’s beasts.

The click of Joey’s gun brings out a side of him that Starrett doesn’t like. His quick reaction and the fact that he reaches for his gun tell us that he is a man with a past that is far different from the simple farm-life of Starrett. Quick cuts to Joey, Starrett and Marion emphasise their surprise at his reaction to what is, for them, an innocent, clicking sound. There was something very easy in his talk as he spoke to Joey and referred to the Jersey cow, though. Later he will get involved with the work of the farm. Maybe this, too, was once a part of his life before he became a gunman.

He uses a metaphor of a scared horse when he says "You got me snortin’, son!" As he apologises to Shane when the Rykers have departed, Starrett says "I guess I spook kinda easy these days!" Later Shane will refer to the showdown with Ryker as "My kind of game", using poker imagery. In the West, the life of the men revolves around horses and saloons and wandering, and these features inform their speech. When one of Ryker’s men, Kelloway, near the end of the film, tells Shane that Starrett is up against a stacked deck, Shane understands him implicitly. He can move with ease in the world of the wilderness, and that of civilised living in the community that Starrett is trying desperately to hold together.

Shane will not be ordered about. His refusal to leave at gunpoint suggests a stubbornness in him. He is like Starrett in this respect. Starrett connected Shane with Ryker because of his gun. He presumes that Shane has come to work for him. Starrett has jumped to the wrong conclusion.

The music changes as we hear the yells of Ryker’s men. They are portrayed as uncouth and lacking in any civility. The close-up shot of them trampling the vegetable garden sums up their disregard for Starrett’s way of life. The garden represents the efforts of the homesteaders to control the rough, natural environment, and bring culture to the wilderness. Changes in shot distance, from medium shot to close-up, put us on edge, and the quick cutting increases our sense of unease during the exchanges between them. Ryker and Starrett refer to ‘my’ property. They can’t both be correct. ‘Squatters’ is Ryker’s word for the people Starrett calls ‘homesteaders’.

Despite his bold front, Starrett cuts a pathetic figure with Joey’s little gun, as he faces the Ryker brothers. His lack of respect for them is evident in his tone of voice and his stance. Starrett has recourse to talking about the legal institutions of the state, that are for the protection of all. The "time for gun-blastin’ a man off his own place is gone", in his opinion. A new law is in operation - one that cherishes the good, and holds that all are equal. The rule of the gun has come to an end. People who use the gun are out of place now. The rule of law is getting stronger. Marion gets upset and tells Starrett to stop his talk. She will not have violence or talk of violence in her home. She fears Ryker and his approach, and has no answer to it. Shane emerges from behind the house as the word "gun-blastin’ a man off his own place" are mentioned.

Extract from Student's Guide: 

SEQUENCE 1
Shane Enters The Valley
Let the film roll until Ryker's men are ordered off Starrett's farm

What impressions do you get of the valley Shane is entering? What is Joey doing when we meet him? What work is Joe Starrett involved in when we see him first? How is Marion Starrett introduced to us? What song is she singing? What is she doing?

What did Shane not expect to see in the valley? How does he treat Joey? What else surprises Shane about Starrett’s farm? Why is he surprised? Something else catches him by surprise - what is it? What does this tell us about him? What does Shane mean by "You got me snortin’, son"?

How does Starrett feel about the Ryker boys? What impression do you have of them? How did you form this impression? What does the music suggest?

Why does Shane want Starrett to put down the gun? What does this tell you about him?

Why has Ryker called on Starrett? What is it about the shots of Ryker and his men that gives the impression of badness? Why do we cut from a medium shot to a close-up of Ryker? The word ‘my’ is used by both men. What is the problem? What two words are used for the people of the valley?

Why does Marion tell Starrett "That’s enough"? What is being said when Shane reappears at the side of the house? What warning has Starrett for Ryker? What values does he stand for? What is his attitude to the law? What is he saying when Shane comes back into the picture?

Why did Starrett mistake Shane for one of Ryker’s men?