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The Searchers DVD


A favourite film of some of the world's greatest filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, John Ford's The Searchers has earned its place in the legacy of great American films for a variety of reasons. Perhaps most notably, it's the definitive role for John Wayne as an icon of the classic Western--the hero (or antihero) who must stand alone according to the unwritten code of The West. The story takes place in Texas in 1868; Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a Confederate veteran who visits his brother and sister-in-law at their ranch and is horrified when they are killed by marauding Comanches. Ethan's search for a surviving niece (played by young Natalie Wood) becomes an all-consuming obsession. With the help of a family friend (Jeffrey Hunter) who is himself part-Cherokee, Ethan hits the trail on a five-year quest for revenge. At the peak of his masterful talent, director Ford crafts this classic tale as an embittered examination of racism and blind hatred, provoking Wayne to give one of the best performances of his career. As with many of Ford's classic Westerns, The Searchers must contend with revisionism in its stereotypical treatment of "savage" Native Americans, and the film's visual beauty (the final shot is one of the great images in all of Western culture) is compromised by some uneven performances and stilted dialogue. Still, this is undeniably one of the greatest Westerns ever made. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com

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  • Average Rating for The Searchers [1956] - 4 out of 5

    (based on 2 user reviews)
  • The Searchers [1956]
    Stuart Donaldson

    A John Ford Classic, easily John Wayne's darkest role. It is not beyond his character to desecrate a Native American grave. He is driven by hatred and contempt, his Neice is kidnapped and his mission is to find and kill her as an insult to his heritage.
    Martin Scorcese would go and see this as a kid and be influenced by it's quality.
    There are lighter moments of humour but the darker undertones of a ruthless age in an unforgiving land are evident. Heartless men to do soul-less jobs of work.
    It's really a big screen film, it's not for the tablet or phone, filmed in Vista Vision only the big screen will do. The landscapes equal if not surpass the Cinematography of The Hateful Eight on outdoor shots. Quite frankly it's stunning and if you've not seen it your throat will catch towards the end. It's a must see for any film fan.

  • The Searchers [1956]
    Stuart Donaldson

    John Ford's cinematic classic starring John Wayne is not of the modern tendencies to depict unspeakable violence. Any violence, and there is a lot, is left to the imagination, there is throughout this film many instances of conflict and symbolism.

    Ethan (John Wayne) is a man who has come through a bloody war and is de-sensitised to the horrors of man's inhumanity to man. He is sometimes despicably savage but I hasten to add not sustaining pleasure from his behaviour.

    Religion features as another of the sub-texts, the conflict of adhering to a belief yet being forced through circumstance to act in opposition to the teachings.

    The landscapes throughout the film are stunning on a larger screen television; the story flows evenly from scene to scene.

    The music is complementary to the various moods of the piece and is not overdone. The story is of a young child being taken after a raid on an isolated farmhouse in the far west post civil war America.

    Her remaining relatives set out to follow the trail and deliver the child from capture.

    Ethan is on a mission, to locate the girl and kill her.

    Marty (Jeffrey Hunter) also has a mission, to stop Ethan from killing the girl.

    The movie is set in a hard time in the west. People lived in a violent age and adversity was always present.
    The ranchers lived beyond the frontier in a hostile land among peoples who were by society's measure uncivilised.

    This is a cinematic masterpiece of rare quality, many directors tried to come to the standard set here but few can match the expertise of relaying a story.

    Clint Eastwood comes close with Unforgiving and that's about as close as anyone got since this film was made.

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