Monday, December 30, 2013

“Good Bye Baby” at The Edge In Bigfork

That’s not this classic movie’s title, but it sure could be. The line is from “Double Indemnity” which is the standard-setting film noir of 1944, and is the Classic Movie shown in January in Bigfork. When a lonely housewife wants her husband dead and lots of money to boot, what better partner can she have than an insurance salesman? But things don’t work out as they both planned.  Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, and Edward G. Robinson, the movie earned seven Academy Award nominations and was added to the U.S. Library of Congress’ list of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant motion pictures.”  In 1992, it was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry, and is on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 best.  Showing January 9. Time 6:30PM. Cost Free.

Walter Neff may be a successful insurance salesman, but he’s an easy fall guy.  He suspects Phyllis Dietrichson is thinking about murdering her husband, but Walter falls for her anyway.  Played by Fred MacMurray, this insurance agent should have locked his door when she came calling.

Frederick Martin "Fred" MacMurray (August 30, 1908 – November 5, 1991) appeared in more than 100 films, recorded a song, and had the role of his career in TV’s “My Three Sons.”  He was Hollywood’s highest paid actor in 1943 and was most often cast as a lighthearted good guy.  But when cast as a dark bad guy, he excelled and really showed his versatility.

Phyllis Dietrichson was as bad as they get.  Choosing murder and money as a way out of a marriage is bad enough, but to bring nice guy Walter down with her is dark.  One could say he went in with his eyes wide open, but Phyllis was a difficult dish not to try.

Played by Barbara Stanwyck, Phyllis makes a very evil plan sound very convincing, once she has Walter just where she wants him. Barbara Stanwyck (born Ruby Catherine Stevens; July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990) had a 60-year career and was known for her very professional portrayals on stage, in movies, and on TV.   In 38 years of Hollywood work, she was in 85 films, won three of her four Oscar nominations, three Emmy awards, and a Golden Globe.  The American Film Institute ranks Barbara as the 11th greatest female star of all time.

Barton Keyes is an insurance investigator you certainly don’t want on your trail. He is played by Edward Goldenberg Robinson (December 12, 1893 – January 26, 1973), who is best known for his gangster roles as a tough guy who did not show much mercy.

Forever remembered as Rico in his breakout film, “Little Caesar,” he was posthumously awarded an Honorary Academy Award for his work in the film industry shortly after his death.  Even though he will always be the bad tough guy in most viewer’s minds, his last role as Sol Roth in “Soylent Green” was outstanding and one of this writer’s favorites.

The film “Double Indemnity,” directed by Billy Wilder, co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler (above), and produced by Buddy DeSylva and Joseph Sistrom, has certainly passed the test of time. The movie’s screenplay is based on a novella by James M. Cain also titled “Double Indemnity.” The story appeared as an eight-part serial in Liberty Magazine in 1936.  The movie’s dark dialog inspired two radio plays and a film remake.

Come and see all the drama at The Edge Center’s Classic Movie Series shown by Jack and Lynn Nachbar on Thursday January 9th. Time 6:30PM. Jack Nachbar’s presentation will make you knowledgeable about this movie so you can enjoy it more.   You also get to see the cartoon from the same period and enjoy snacks.  All this is free of charge.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Some Broadway in You? Auditions at The Edge

Here is a chance to get on stage and sing, dance, or play an instrument for an audience that will love it. The songs need to be from Broadway musicals, and you will have ample time and opportunity to rehearse with a capable and talented musical director. Auditions for this show will be Tuesday and Thursday January 7 and 9 between 4PM and 6PM. The place is The Edge Center in Bigfork. This second Broadway Show from The Edge will be April 4, 5, and 6. Voicing and ability will be the key to those chosen for the show. This promises to be a fun event for those on stage and in the audience. The person to contact is the Musical Director, Cris Brown, for more information at or 218-245-3240.

Above Broadway 1946 Original Cast Album 


These Edge shows are a celebration of the American musical as seen on Broadway.  They are done for the pure enjoyment of performers and audience and can be a great learning experience. The actual show will be a concert dress event, black or white tops with black pants, skirts, dresses.  You can audition, though, in anything you wish. The music should stand on its own, telling the story without costuming being necessary. Simple props for enhancements are fine but the music should tell the story without a lot of fanfare.

The content will depend on the auditions and who shows up. We have a great deal of music to choose from and the resources for finding more. Much of the show will be accompanied by piano, but a pre-recorded CD, if it is available, is fine as long as it is instrumental with no vocal tracks on it.

For the auditions, you can bring in the music either with accompaniment or with CD. If you don’t have any, we will provide the accompaniment of something familiar to work with. We will be asking for each auditionee to fill out an questionnaire about their favorite Broadway piece, or one they would like to perform, and if they want to do a solo, duet, or an ensemble piece.

Above original Broadway window card 


Past experience is NOT required. Please come regardless of your level. If the Music Director feels you have potential, and you are willing to work hard, she is more than happy to work, coach, and teach to get you ready to perform. The Music Director, Cris Brown, says, “I would like to add that it would be fun to have all ages. There are a lot of great Broadway songs out there for children, young adults, middle agers, and older performers.  So for me, age is really not a limiting factor either.”

Above original Broadway cast recording


And who is Cris Brown, the Music Director?  Cris Brown is a local piano and voice teacher and accompanist who has studied piano, voice, and flute at Bemidji State University. She started accompanying at 15, is a member of the Itasca Music Club, the National & Minnesota Federation of Music Clubs, and is in the Itasca Community Chorus. In New Mexico, she worked in the Aztec District Music Department with youth choirs, soloists, and ensemble groups.

She was accompanist for the Greenway High School Choirs and for solos and ensemble groups for years.  She has also taught music and choir at the Cloverdale Christian School. She has worked with the Grand Rapids Players as a rehearsal pianist, is the music director at her church, and gives private piano lessons in the Lawrence Lake area and at The Edge Center in conjunction with the Bigfork School.

Cris says, “ I come with years of experience directing music, spent too many hours to count accompanying vocalists and instrumentalists, as well as coaching, teaching, and preparing them for performances, contests, and judging. This is something that I absolutely love. It gives me great pleasure to be able to work with the wonderful talented people that we have in our communities. I am looking forward to this great Broadway Musical production.”

Above poster from the Broadway revival


For those who audition and live in the Grand Rapids/Greenway areas, we will make arrangements for rehearsals there, saving the drive time to Bigfork. Dress rehearsals, lighting and sound checks, etc. will need to be at the Edge a few days before the performances. For those in the Bigfork area, rehearsals will be arranged individually with each performer or group.

Above original cast recording


The music in the concert will depend on what the performer likes and what they can do. You might want to consider songs from one of these or other Broadway musicals to audition with: Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Annie, Lion King, Mamma Mia, Wicked, Chicago, Rent, Fiddler on the Roof, Finian's Rainbow, Bye Bye Birdie, Applause, Guys and Dolls, Into the Woods, Annie Get Your Gun, The Sound of Music, or Chicago. Cris adds, “This is meant to be an exciting experience, so we will keep it that way and make sure the music you perform is appropriately fun, touching or heart warming for the performers and the audience.  Please come and try out.”

Above poster from the Broadway production

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Spirit with GRAMC Music in Bigfork with a Surprise Guest

Music makes the holidays cheerful, and hearing it live is a wonderful way to get into the spirit of the season. The Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus (GRAMC) have been making audiences happy and cheerful for 57 years.  For five of those years they have come to Bigfork at The Edge Center to present their music to anyone willing to attend.  This year the concert is on Sunday December 15th and admission is free as a thank you to all of the Center’s supporters.  The concert of religious, traditional, and popular songs promises to warm you up regardless of the weather outside. Come and find out why the GRAMC has been around for so long and made so many audiences enjoy this time of year a little more. Sunday December 15, time 2PM, admission no charge. Free refreshments will be served, and you’ll have a chance to visit with the Board of Directors for The Edge Center as your hosts.

There will be a "spotlight" appearance of a young piano musician at the Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus (GRAMC) this Sunday at The Edge Center in Bigfork during a mid-concert break. He is a sixth grade student at the school and has been playing piano for one and one half years plus the violin for four years.

The GRAMC describes their organization as “The Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus, formerly the Blandin Chorus, has been an integral part of our area’s cultural community since 1956. We are a non-audition chorus with every level of singer. The chorus has 3 scheduled events every year: a Christmas concert, our spring concert at the Reif, and the Big Sing in April. We are also a service organization and do concerts for retirement homes, fundraisers, and benefits. We rehearse from September through April on Monday nights from 7:00-9:00 in the Grand Rapids High School Choir Room. In 1994, The Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus was honored to be inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame.”

They practice weekly under the leadership of Eileen Grosland (above) and are accompanied by Bonnie Kangas.  The chorus now has 42 singers and is the largest to date, up from the original group of only 13. Their first director was Betty Kauppi, and were unofficially knows as Betty’s Boys. In 1956, officers were elected and named the Grand Rapids Male Chorus. By 1957, there were 30 members. The chorus has had several names over the years. In additional to the original, it was named the Arion Male Chorus, then Blandin Male Chorus, and currently the Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus to reflect its membership being beyond the city of Grand Rapids. In 1959, the group joined the Associated Male Choruses of America (AMCA).

Here is the program they will sing in Bigfork:

O Come Let Us Sing, by Cindy Berry
Come and See the King, by Ken Berg
The Little Drummer Boy, arrangement by Harry Simeone
Rejoice and Sing Noel! by Allan Petker
The Straw Carol, arrangement by Dick Bolks, Solo- Harry Smith
Jesus, What A Wonderful Child, arrangement by Rollo Dilworth

Landlord Fill the Flowing Bowl, arrangement by Walter Ehret
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, arrangement by Stuart Churchill
Silver Bells, arrangement by Charles Naylor
Sleigh Ride, arrangement by Hawley Ades
Winter Wonderland, arrangement by George Trinkaus
Mele Kalikimaka, arrangement by Jay Althouse, Solo - John Persons, Jake Grandia I’ll Be Home For Christmas, arrangement by Mark Hayes

The mission from their website is: “Music really is the international language! We have seen how true this is in our different groups again and again. Our music entertains our guests and is fun for us to make. We practice hard and gather new experiences from numerous performances. That's a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun. And since playing also make you thirsty, some even wind up after our practices with a drink or two together. We are happy to have new additions to our family. Just drop by. You're bound to like it!”

Make this concert part of your holiday celebration.  Come and hear the good cheer in an acoustically designed theatre made for this kind of music. And while at the concert, a tour through the gallery gift sale of handmade items might provide a special gift for a special person.  Come and hear why the Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus has been around for so long, and why they are very welcome for their fifth visit to The Edge’s stage.  Sunday December 15, 2PM, admission no charge. Free refreshments will be served.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

“That’s the worst orchestra and the worst conductor I’ve ever sung with.”

That is Marie de Flor, not happy. The character Marie is a Canadian soprano in the 1936 black and white musical-film “Rose Marie” showing in Bigfork December 12th. Played by Jeanette MacDonald, the movie follows Marie’s adventures with handsome Sergeant Bruce, of the Mounties, played by baritone Nelson Eddy. The film includes great music, wonderful scenery, and an enjoyable story.  The movie is one of several based on the 1924 operetta-style Broadway musical “Rose-Marie.”  Its song “Indian Love Call” became the two stars’ professional signatures.  It was recorded by them, became hugely successful, and remains familiar to most music fans regardless of their age. Bigfork’s resident movie authority, Jack Nachbar, will show the movie as part of his Classic Movie Series along with a cartoon from the same period.  He will also provide informative commentary about the movie.  All this on December 12 at 6:30PM. Admission is free.

This movie is one of the many musical films released by Hollywood in the 1930s. Sound enabled movies to bring actual performances to movie patrons.  In 1930 alone, over 100 musical films were released. This particular movie was even done as a silent film in 1928 and in color in 1954.  All three were set in the wilderness (not necessarily shot in Canada), but this Macdonald and Eddy version sets the standard for high quality singing talent and longevity.

The plot involves the character Marie trying to save her younger fugitive brother from Sergeant Bruce. The younger brother is an early movie appearance of Jimmy Stewart.  Is there love between the singer and sergeant?  Will the brother be brought to justice? Will all end happily? Come to Bigfork and find out. Much of the Broadway play’s plot was changed, but portions of Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart’s original Broadway musical score is used in the movie.

American singer and actress Jeanette Anna MacDonald (June 18, 1903 – January 14, 1965) is best remembered for her musical films of the 1930s.  She did eight movies with Nelson Eddy including “Naughty Marietta”, “Rose-Marie”, and “Maytime.” She also costarred with Maurice Chevalier in “Love Me Tonight” and “The Merry Widow.” In total, she starred in 29 feature films in the 30’s and 40’s which were nominated for Best Picture Oscars.  She also was a very busy recording artist winning three Gold Record Awards. Later in her career she appeared in opera, concerts, radio, and television.  She was an influential force in bringing opera into the mainstream, and she also was a role model for aspiring singers of an entire generation.  She shared a long-term relationship with Nelson and was engaged to him, but the powers of MGM did not agree with the pairing, and they eventually ended the engagement. See more at:

The costar of  “Rose Marie” is talented Nelson Ackerman Eddy (June 29, 1901 – March 6, 1967).  A classically trained American baritone, he was an actor and singer who appeared in 19 musical films during the 30’s and 40’s in addition to opera, concert stage, radio, television, and nightclubs. He might be considered an early version of superstar Frank Sinatra with an opera voice.  He had shrieking young girls as well as opera devotees as fans. During his amazing career he earned three stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame (film, recording, and radio), left footprints in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, had three Gold Record Awards, and sang at the third inauguration of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941.  More at:

This movie also provides an early look at another future superstar in James Maitland Stewart (May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997).  This was before his screen persona, for which he is most remembered, emerged.  The lanky, quiet spoken, and average American guy just trying to get by using a distinctive drawl played by Stewart in so many award-winning roles, is not in “Rose Marie.”  Instead Stewart, like many other new MGM stars, has a relatively small role.  In this movie, his character needs to be saved by his older sister. It might be interesting to see how much of the Oscar-winning Stewart aura comes through in “Rose Marie”.

Another singing talent in this movie is actor and tenor Allan Jones (October 14, 1907 – June 27, 1992).  Jones had a varied career in movies, but is probably best known as “…the romantic straight man to the Marx Brothers in their first two MGM productions: ‘A Night at the Opera’ and ‘A Day at the Races’.”  His singing in “Rose Marie” was so good Eddy objected to it.  In a biography of Louis B. Mayer,  “Merchant of Dreams,” written by Charles Higham, Mayer is claimed to say that Eddy considered Jones such a rival that Eddy asked for most of Jones's singing to be cut, “… including his rendition of the great Puccini aria E lucevan le stelle - and MGM agreed to Eddy's demand.”  Read more at:

The song "Indian Love Call" is also a “star” of this movie in its own right.  The song was first published as “The Call” and is from the 1924 musical. With Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart music and Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II lyrics, it is romantic and haunting.  Music like “Indian Love Call” helped make the show the longest running Broadway musical of the 20’s, spawned four films, and The New York Times described the song as being “…among those Rudolf Friml songs that became ‘household staples’ in their era”.  More at:

An interesting use of “Indian Love Call” came about when it was used in Yosemite Park as part of the “Firefall” down a 3000 foot cliff every night shortly after nightfall. The “Firefall” was created by burning hot embers dropped down from the top of Glacier Point.  It was impressive (above). “ Firefall” lasted from 1872 until 1968.   At some point “Indian Love Call” became part of the show that was put on by the owners of Glacier Point Hotel and was only stopped in 1968 by the National Park Service because too many visitors were attending, and it was not a natural event…spoil sports!

Here is what The New York Times reviewer Frank Nugent in 1936, had to say about the movie “Rose Marie.”  “As blithely melodious and rich in scenic beauty as any picture that has come from Hollywood, …(it) distinguished the operetta when first it played to Broadway in 1924. If the three script writers who were entrusted with its adaptation to the screen have dealt less respectfully with the original’s book, they may be pardoned on the ground that here the song—and its singers—are the thing…let Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy sing an operetta’s love song, and we care not who may write its book. In splendid voice, whether singing solo or in duet, they prove to be fully…delightful.” More at:

There are lots of reasons to see this movie and seeing it on the big screen of The Edge Center in Bigfork will make them all more impressive. So come and join the fun on Thursday, December 12 at 6:30PM.  Don’t forget you also see a cartoon from the same period.  Admission is free.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Divas Music and Smiles in Bigfork Concert

Three talented ladies singing songs from the 30’s through the present in close harmony will provide lots of fun and charm at The Edge Center with “DIVAS~~MUSIC THROUGH THE DECADES!”.  The concert includes a broad repertoire of styles and music selected to please the tastes of a varied audience.  The concert is a tribute to some of the most influential female vocalists in American popular music. Concertgoers will hear the group’s musical talents on keyboard, guitar, and a variety of rhythm instruments: all a great match for the vocals. The Edge Center in Bigfork Sunday, November 17th 2PM.  Price $10 adults. Children $5

And what would The Divas like their audiences to "take away from their performance"? They want audiences to share their love for a great sense of humor and laughter.  They want their audiences to appreciate the music, and to identify with the emotions of the songs they perform. Sharon Rowbottom, Shannon Lee Gunderson, and Rosie Gams,  have varied musical backgrounds.  They combine an eclectic assortment of musical tastes and particularly enjoy singing "their” arrangements. The Divas, from the Virginia, MN area, have been singing together for 15 years.

Like the different ways to play music through the decades, The Divas music is varied, designed for the period and is a sampling of the best. Their repertoire is one they like to refer to as "The Spectrum".  They love the close harmonies from the music of the 30's and 40's.  And their rock and roll from the 50's and 60's is always a lot of fun for their audiences. Then add some country, western, pop, folk, blues, and jazz, and you have pretty much covered the bases in the popular music they perform. Their venues include places on the beautiful lakes in Northern Minnesota, nightspots on the Iron Range, and in neighboring states.

Rosie Gams is originally from Embarrass, Minnesota where she began singing in grade school and entertaining at local PTA meetings.  In high school, she was active in the local musicals. In 1975, she started singing with Nostalgia, a 50's and 60's rock and roll band and later with Rendezvous, Cornerstone, and currently with The Divas.Rosie sings lead in the group, plays ukulele, and rhythm instruments, among the more unusual ones are the "rain stick", the "egg”, and the cabasa (made from an African gourd). She is always keeping the sound interesting and alive!

Sharon Rowbottom is a native of Virginia, Minnesota. As the youngest of four children, her three teenage siblings exposed her at an early age to different musical styles, among which were the Beatles and Latin dance music.  She sang from age 10 in various choirs and received a vocal scholarship to attend Mesabi Community College in Virginia.  A trio, LIVE BAIT, formed through friendships there still performs.   Some of her bands include: The Schwartz Brothers Band, Slim Pickens, The Electric Loons, and The Dog Soldiers. Along with The Divas she performs as a duo with her husband, Dan. Sharon sings lead vocal and harmony.  She plays the congas, guitar, and ukulele.

Shannon Lee Gunderson was born and raised in Rawlins, Wyoming.  She began piano lessons at age four, and was performing in talent shows and other venues throughout grade school.  Musical theatre was a great love, and she was active all through high school and college.  She received a scholarship and attended Hastings College, in Nebraska.  As well as performing as a soloist and with other groups (WHATT, Seattle, Shannon and Friends), Shannon played with a show band, The Bijou Revue, from Lincoln, Nebraska, for over 8 years.  That group toured all over the United States and on a USO tour in the Mediterranean. She has lived in Virginia for almost 32 years.

And this concert promises to be lots of fun. It's a group that enjoys singing and knows how to enjoy itself and its audience.  And what the audience might hear at the concert, Shannon says, “We prefer to have our audiences be WITH US on our musical journey, and not be worrying what song is coming up next.  So here is just a sampling of what might be performed: "Goody, Goody", "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", "Sincerely", "At Last", "Tumbling Tumbleweed", "Sentimental Journey", "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow", "Dream a Little Dream of Me", "Stop in the Name of Love", "I Can See Clearly Now", "End of the World", "Silver Wings", and "Mamma Mia", just to name a few.

We hope that this is enough of a sample to entice you to come and see The Divas on The Edge Center stage in Bigfork. It will be a fun and entertaining afternoon and a good chance to get out of the cold and snow.Keep in mind that this is also the start of the holiday season, and while you are at The Edge Center, check out the holiday sale that is going on in the gallery.  It is filled with a wide variety of hand made gifts.  You may find that unique gift that says "you are special". Sunday, November 17th 2PM.  Price $10 adults. Children $5

Friday, November 8, 2013

Alan Ladd in “Shane” at The Edge in Bigfork

How much more can you expect in a cowboy movie? Starting off, the gunslinger “Shane” takes the side of homesteaders against a greedy cattle baron.  Staying at the homesteader’s place, he falls for the wife, teaches the young son about guns, and finds out that the bad guy’s thugs are out to get the homesteader…then? Well, you have to see the movie to find out.  This 1953 Western film classic from Paramount won an Oscar for cinematography, is in the National Film Registry, was number 45 in the American Film Institute’s 2007 "100 year’s of movies" list and is number 3 on its top ten Western category.  Bigfork’s resident movie authority, Jack Nachbar, will show the movie along with a cartoon from the same period and provide informative commentary.  Date November 14. Time 6:30PM. Admission free and includes goodies appropriate for the movie during the intermission.

A big screen, as in The Edge Center, shows best why “Shane” got an Oscar, and why it has its high ranking over time. It was directed by George Stevens and originated from a 1949 novel by the same name. The movie version has an outstanding cast from an earlier time; Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur in her last film, Van Heflin, Branden de Wilde, Jack Palance, and Ben Johnson. The movie went over budget and the studio tried to sell it to Howard Hughes thinking it was going to be a bust.  Then they saw a rough-cut and Hughes really wanted it.  “Shane” paid its bills and made a nice profit during its initial release. More at:

Alan Ladd was not as handy with guns as other actors of the time.  Reportedly it took over 100 takes to get one gun-handling scene completed.

Jean Arthur finished a 35-year career with the movie “Shane” and had to be coaxed out of retirement to do it. She was actually 50 years old…come and see how well she does as a 30ish leading lady.

Jack Palance did not do well with horses.  To get him filmed looking as if he were jumping into the saddle, the director had to film him getting off the horse and run it backwards.

Van Heflin (above left), the homesteader, was a really “nice guy”.  And you know what can happen to a nice guy in the Old West

Branden deWilde, the little boy, did a great job in getting to Shane and making him want to help the family.

Ben Johnson (top right and bottom left going down) is a thug named Calloway who thinks he can bully Shane...not tough guy Shane, so Calloway gets what's coming to him.

The film was innovative technically.  It was shown on a flat widescreen, had a new sound track system, used early examples of really loud gun shot sounds (using a small cannon fired into a garbage can), and used wires to pull the shot actors backwards.  All of this helped to make the film’s reception such a positive one since watching “Shane” was such a better experience in a big screen theater with a professional sound system than on small screen televisions.  This was important since television was a serious detriment to the film industry at the time.

The story is fiction, but like many great movies, it has a historical base.  In this case, the disputes were created by the Homestead Act, which started in 1862.  One of these conflicts was the Johnson County war of 1892.  This is the conflict that “Shane” is set in.  The Homestead Act offered varying amounts of “free” land to people who would settle and develop the West.  The problem is that the land was not empty, but being used by “free range” cattle ranchers who did not take kindly to folks moving in, setting up homes, and running barbed wire. They objected, often violently, cheating  when buying homesteaders out, or using hired guns to chase them away.

With such challenges to the settling of the West, many gave up, and the rest needed all the encouragement possible to succeed. Without the Homestead Acts the country would certainly not have developed the way it did.  To succeed, the country needed people willing to relocate and stand-up to the harsh realities of a rough life. These homesteaders were often from other countries that did not offer opportunities like the Old West did, and they did not look, dress, or talk like the people already there.

“Shane” deals with a very narrow slice of this complicated package and considers the problems of a single family (not European or “different”) just trying to face the challenges.  It makes a good story.  The movie tells it well, and according to contemporary movie critics it was successfully done.  Here is a sample of a contemporary review by Bosley Crowther, He was a credible critic of the arts who worked for the New York Times for many years.  After attending the premiere, he called the film a "rich and dramatic mobile painting of the American frontier scene".

Here is more of Bosley’s review:  “Shane contains something more than the beauty and the grandeur of the mountains and plains, drenched by the brilliant Western sunshine and the violent, torrential, black-browed rains. It contains a tremendous comprehension of the bitterness and passion of the feuds that existed between the new homesteaders and the cattlemen on the open range. It contains a disturbing revelation of the savagery that prevailed in the hearts of the old gun-fighters, who were simply legal killers under the frontier code. And it also contains a very wonderful understanding of the spirit of a little boy amid all the tensions and excitements and adventures of a frontier home.”

Come to The Edge Center in Bigfork on November 14 at 6:30PM and see how all this fits together.  You will especially enjoy “the little boy” who not only is a “scene stealer” in the movie but also adds so much to the family nature of the movie. The use of a youngster in such a critical role in a movie plot (subtitled strip below) was also a newer concept.  As indicated earlier, admission is free and includes goodies appropriate for the movie.