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The Searchers (1956)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama, Western | 26 May 1956 (USA)
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An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (from the novel by) (as Alan LeMay)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Ethan Edwards
... Martin Pawley
... Laurie Jorgensen
... Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton
... Debbie Edwards - Age 15
... Lars Jorgensen
... Mrs. Jorgensen
... Scar / Cicatriz
... Charlie McCorry
... Brad Jorgensen
... Emilio Gabriel Fernandez y Figueroa
... Mose Harper
Beulah Archuletta ... Look
... Aaron Edwards
... Martha Edwards
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Storyline

Ethan Edwards, returned from the Civil War to the Texas ranch of his brother, hopes to find a home with his family and to be near the woman he obviously but secretly loves. But a Comanche raid destroys these plans, and Ethan sets out, along with his 1/8 Indian nephew Martin, on a years-long journey to find the niece kidnapped by the Indians under Chief Scar. But as the quest goes on, Martin begins to realize that his uncle's hatred for the Indians is beginning to spill over onto his now-assimilated niece. Martin becomes uncertain whether Ethan plans to rescue Debbie...or kill her. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story that sweeps from the great Southwest to the Canadian border in VistaVision. See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

26 May 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Más corazón que odio  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The day-for-night filming of Ethan's speech recounting his discovery and burial of Lucy required more than one take, but only because Ward Bond needed a shave. John Wayne nailed the scene the first time, but for some inexplicable reason, the camera had stopped. Supremely irritated, John Ford asked the operator what was wrong with the camera. As he answered, the power to the camera returned and they resumed filming the scene without incident. Indeed, nothing was wrong with the camera. Bond had pulled the plug on the camera in order to use his electric razor. The crew never did tell Ford, for fear that he would physically harm Bond. Years later, after Bond's death, cameraman Winton C. Hoch told Ford about the incident at a Hollywood event. Reportedly, Ford's face turned white and he was speechless. See more »

Goofs

Laurie is seen wearing what appear to be riveted blue jeans in Texas around the year 1869 or 1870. Denim pants reinforced with rivets were not patented and mass produced until 1873 (by Levi Strauss in San Francisco), and prior to that were likely unknown outside of Reno, Nevada, where they had been invented by a local tailor. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[seeing a horseman in the distance]
Aaron Edwards: Ethan?
Debbie Edwards: Hush, Prince.
Lucy Edwards: That's your Uncle Ethan!
Martha Edwards: [he approaches] Welcome home, Ethan!
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Crazy Credits

This Warner Brothers film was said to be in VistaVision, according to the credits - this may be the only Warner film in VistaVision. See more »


Soundtracks

Skip to My Lou
(uncredited)
Traditional
Performed by Ken Curtis
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
New Discoveries
12 December 2000 | by See all my reviews

About ten minutes into the film, there is a shot which begins with Captain Clayton (Ward Bond) slamming a door behind two children who were teasing two young lovers, Lucy and Brad. There follows a wordless interior shot, lasting maybe a minute, wherein Aunt Martha takes out Ethan's Confederate overcoat, tenderly caressing it before she hands it to Ethan. I noticed the sequence when I recently watched the film again, and I had to rewind and play it once more because I found it so stunning--all of the information and emotions conveyed without a word. I'd watched the film previously maybe a dozen times and had never noticed the power of this sequence.

Don't for a second tell me that Ethan is a stereotype, because there is so much more at work here. Obviously we are not supposed to sympathize with Ethan's prejudices, but notice that Ethan is not the only one who feels that way. Laurie (not at all disapprovingly) tells Martin that Aunt Martha would have preferred her daughter to be killed after being defiled. Interestingly, Martin is one-eighth Cherokee, which under the old racial percentages of the Confederacy would make him the equivalent of an octoroon, and therefore non-white. Martin's intended marriage to Laurie, on racial terms, would have been as taboo as Debbie marrying Scar: Laurie believes that death is preferable for Debbie, but she intends to do likewise with Martin. The contrast is that Debbie was abducted, whereas Laurie would willingly go. And note at the end that Laurie walks right by Debbie, as she heads for Martin.

The final shot is famous, but I noted the doorway theme throughout the film: the message of an open or closed door, whether the character enters the door or just looks in, at other times, the character is inside looking out. And all of this in a 50's western.

The movie is not perfect: I could have done without some of the comic relief. However, this is John Wayne's best work (The Shootist is a close second). Those who think this is the best film of all time have good reason to support their belief.


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