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Author Topic: The Searchers (1956)  (Read 32623 times)
T.H.
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« Reply #120 on: January 03, 2017, 08:05:18 PM »

I wholly reject the notion that The Searchers is a flawed film. It may be dated (the fistfight scene, Mose, the Indian wife), but being dated isn't automatically a negative, especially in this case. I'd argue that the Fordisms of this movie add to the mystique because this is a legitimately dark movie. The comedic banjo music from The Last House on the Left would be the horror version of this effect, intended or not in The Searchers case.

The Searchers has more subtext, poetry, mystique, power, etc than OUATITW. It's also not nearly as calculated, which only adds to its greatness. Leone would be the first one to admit that.

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« Reply #121 on: January 03, 2017, 08:18:19 PM »

Saw it for the first time in years yesterday.

It may very well be one of the very best looking westerns ever.
Shot in VistaVision, no? That always helps.

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« Reply #122 on: January 04, 2017, 01:07:04 AM »

I wholly reject the notion that The Searchers is a flawed film. It may be dated (the fistfight scene, Mose, the Indian wife),


All of the three elements are taken from the novel.

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« Reply #123 on: January 04, 2017, 02:29:51 AM »

Just finished the novel. The movie follows it quite tightly for a good 3/4 with some few differences. The Wayne's return home is completely made up for the movie. The massacre is descripted (the brother's wife has an arm amputated). The first fight with the Comanches is different from that seen in the movie. Ethan is the name given to the late Martin Pawley's father. In the novel Wayne's character is named Amos. There is no a great controversy between Ethan and Martin, as in the movie: the "bastard" reproach is completely invented for the movie. The Indian wife is not as ugly and is not mistreated as in the movie and ends up differently from the movie, being picked up presumably by her prior lover. But the most interesting part is in the finale. Ethan/Amos is killed during the raid by a squaw he believes to be Debbie. Laurie ends up marrying Charly McCorry, who here becomes a Ranger. And Martin after the raid where Debbie can't be found, goes after her, finds her dying and gives her the Jane Russell treatment and presumably the two end up together.
N.B. The clown Jinx is not only proven a buffoon in the movie but also in the book.

The ending in the novel is the expected one, too conventional for my taste. But at least the Ethan character stays true to his motivation.
The ending in the movie looks like one that was altered by the producer too soften the film. But then something strange happens, cause as idiotic this end is on the paper, Ford's directing is so strong that it works, well nearly works ...
The perfect ending would have been of course that Ethan kills Debbie, but that could never have been shot in the 50s.

Yes The Searchers is, like every Ford film, a flawed film, and here his stupid humour bugs me more that in others of his westerns. I prefer My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache and Wagonmaster to The Searchers.

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« Reply #124 on: January 04, 2017, 02:37:15 AM »

Shot in VistaVision, no? That always helps.

Yes and yes.

I wholly reject the notion that The Searchers is a flawed film. It may be dated (the fistfight scene, Mose, the Indian wife), but being dated isn't automatically a negative, especially in this case. I'd argue that the Fordisms of this movie add to the mystique because this is a legitimately dark movie. The comedic banjo music from The Last House on the Left would be the horror version of this effect, intended or not in The Searchers case.

The Searchers has more subtext, poetry, mystique, power, etc than OUATITW. It's also not nearly as calculated, which only adds to its greatness. Leone would be the first one to admit that.


I can see that. Still, it feels far more calculated than many other Ford movies.
Also, "The Searchers has more subtext, poetry, mystique, power, etc than OUATITW." => you're way out of line, Sir.

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« Reply #125 on: January 04, 2017, 02:40:15 AM »

The ending in the novel is the expected one, too conventional for my taste. But at least the Ethan character stays true to his motivation.
The ending in the movie looks like one that was altered by the producer too soften the film. But then something strange happens, cause as idiotic this end is on the paper, Ford's directing is so strong that it works, well nearly works ...
The perfect ending would have been of course that Ethan kills Debbie, but that could never have been shot in the 50s.

The movie as it is is already very tough and dark. It gets a lot of its power from there.
To me, the ending works perfectly on an emotional level (I was moved this time as I was last time I saw it) even if like many actions/change of minds of the characters my brain doesn't by it for a second.

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« Reply #126 on: January 04, 2017, 02:47:44 AM »


To me, the ending works perfectly on an emotional level

It does, otherwise it would turn the film into a joke. But the emotion is more important than the mind for a film's quality, so it saves the compromise.

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« Reply #127 on: January 04, 2017, 03:27:24 AM »

The emotion counts for exactly 51%, according to Master Walter's famous rule of 6:

http://www.aotg.com/index.php?page=murchrules

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« Reply #128 on: January 04, 2017, 04:31:15 AM »

The ending in the novel is the expected one, too conventional for my taste.
The perfect ending would have been of course that Ethan kills Debbie, but that could never have been shot in the 50s.

Yes The Searchers is, like every Ford film, a flawed film, and here his stupid humour bugs me more that in others of his westerns. I prefer My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache and Wagonmaster to The Searchers.

 Ethan being killed by a squaw "conventional"? Where? How? And Martin doing it with her adopted, still a minor "sister", conventional too? Actually, the movie softens this quite rough ending and makes it conventional, that's for sure, though it makes not Debbie a virgin.

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« Reply #129 on: January 04, 2017, 06:14:46 AM »

Ethan being killed by a squaw "conventional"? Where? How? And Martin doing it with her adopted, still a minor "sister", conventional too?

It doesn't matter by whom he is killed, but him getting killed before he can kill Debbie is the expected end for such a stuff.

And Martin isn't related to Debbie, so where's the problem? Is she still a minor in the novel?

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« Reply #130 on: January 04, 2017, 07:00:25 AM »

It doesn't matter by whom he is killed, but him getting killed before he can kill Debbie is the expected end for such a stuff.

And Martin isn't related to Debbie, so where's the problem? Is she still a minor in the novel?
Yes, she his. But the point is they grew as brother and sister, though she had a yen for him as a child.
 So having Wayne killed by a squaw he thinks is Debbie would have been an "Expected end"? Where else?

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« Reply #131 on: January 04, 2017, 08:28:26 AM »

I prefer My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache and Wagonmaster to The Searchers.
You are not wrong.

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« Reply #132 on: January 08, 2017, 08:22:37 PM »

Saturday January 14, TCM will be showing THE SEARCHERS at 4:15 p.m. EST.

Then in the evening, it's Warren Oates night.

http://www.tcm.com/schedule/index.html?tz=est&sdate=2017-01-14

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« Reply #133 on: January 09, 2017, 03:57:55 AM »

oh good i can watch Private Property then!

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« Reply #134 on: January 09, 2017, 07:22:29 AM »

Then in the evening, it's Warren Oates night...

Thanks for the heads-up!

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