- Warner Bros. Presents: 4 Documentary Shorts
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CLASSIC WESTERN ABOUT A MAN ON THE TRAIL OF THE INDIANS WHO SLAUGHTERED HIS FAMILY.
A favorite 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
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John Wayne's performance in this movie is outstanding! Shows he has acting range.
That'll be the day!
The plot is very simple; after a Comanche raiding party massacres a family, taking the youngest daughter prisoner, her uncle, Ethan Edwards (Wayne), and adopted brother, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), begin a long quest to try and rescue her. Over the course of years, a rich tapestry of characters and events unfold, as the nature of the pair's motives are revealed, and bigoted, bitter Edwards emerges as a twisted man bent on killing the 'tainted' white girl. Only Pawley's love of his 'sister' and determination to protect her stands in his way, making the film's climax, and Wayne's portrayal of Edwards, an unforgettable experience.
The film features 18-year old Natalie Wood in one of her first 'adult' roles, Vera Miles as Pawley's love interest, Wayne's son Patrick in comic relief, and the harmonies of the Sons of the Pioneers accenting Max Steiner's score. Timeless movie.
with John Wayne.
I have viewed the films numerous times over the years and have collected
the film in VHS & several versions of DVDs as the technology advanced.
Due to various quality of the film in DVD forms, I have reservations on how
great this film is until I viewed this Blue-Ray disc.
Wow, such magnificent rocks, canyons and plains; such blue skies, white
clouds and yellow sand dunes of the various locations including Monument Valley.
For the first time, I can see clearly the night scenes, the emotion-filled eyes
of John Wayne (agreed, this is his best performance in film).
Ford and his cinematographer Winton Hoch lighted each scene carefully
with shadows, colors and textures.
In this Blue-Ray format, many scenes have the quality of a painting.
If you pay attention, you'll find the costume design and production design
were carefully co-ordinated.
For example the scene when Wayne walked into a Mexican bar, his royal blue
shirt matched the blue bottles behind the bar.
This film has a strong story with message, fine characterizations of a large
cast, many finely orchestrated action sequences and comedy.
It is the last part that I found the film a bit over played, especially towards the end.
The light-heartedness diminished the strength of this complex western.
I understand the motives of Ford inserting humor in his films.
It is because he loved the people in his films and the actors who played them.
However, personally I prefer straight-laced westerns like Ford's "The Man Who Shot the
Liberty Valance" which I think is Ford's best western, with Wayne.