The Searchers, 1956 - ★★★★★

The Searchers, 1956 - ★★★★★


“You speak pretty good American for a Comanche!” - Ethan Edwards (John Wayne)

..:: Machismovision: Wow The West Was Fun - Film #6 ::..

For many John Ford's 'The Searchers' is the best western ever made, I'd certainly never doubt its got the most iconic fade to black in celluloid history. After serving in the civil war, vet Ethan Edwards returns to his brothers Texas homestead to see out his days. After the ranch is raided by Comanche Indians, Ethan alongside his young half nephew Marty end up on a several year search for their hostile chief named Scar, whose kidnapped his young niece Debbie.

Any serious run of westerns wouldn't be complete without a few John Ford gems. Politely putting a few dubious social value changes since its release aside, you can't fault a true classic like The Searchers. Even if once or twice I wished it would have thrown a little Peckinpah/Leone styled bloodshed in the mix. Hey thats because of being a child of the 70's, I just can't hide the fact movies around that decade appeal more to me than older ones, or modern ones for that matter. For some strange reason this is enhanced with western genre movies.

The story and films success hinges on John Wayne's fabulous central performance, he's never been better as the archetypal tough guy of old who sheds no tears. Ford gleefully pulls the old 'Angels With Dirty Faces' Jimmy Cagney trick with Wayne's character Ethan, leaving the viewer puzzled at his motives for finding Debbie. Or if he'd changed them during his search, after bonding with Marty. Hell I've seen it half a dozen times and I'm still not sure if hes an hero or villain.

[Personal Reasons For Remembering]

Musical score was faultless for its era and really tugs your emotions, especially during its legendary climax. Hank Worden's a riot as the village idiot Mose Harper who was apparently based on a real historical frontier character named Mad Mose, as was the chubby native American character Wild Goose. Hell even though he was probably meant to have been a slimeball I even liked the dimwit Charlie who muscled in on Martins girl, while he was busy searching for Debbie.

Originally taken from Letterboxd

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