A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.
After a long three-year absence, the battle-scarred Confederate veteran of the American Civil War, Ethan Edwards, turns up on the remote and dusty Texan homestead of his brother, Aaron. In high hopes of finding peace, instead, the taciturn former soldier will embark on a treacherous five-year odyssey of retribution, when the ruthless Chief Scar's murderous Comanche raiding party massacre his family, burn the ranch to the ground and abduct his nine-year-old niece, Debbie. Driven by hatred of Indians, Ethan and his young companion, Martin Pawley, ride through the unforgiving desert to track down their lost Debbie; however, is the woman they lost and the prisoner in Scar's teepee still the same woman the searchers seek?Written by
The film takes place from 1868 to 1873. See more »
At the beginning, when Ethan takes his brother's place in the Ranger posse, he walks out wearing his chaps. When he gets on his horse and rides out, his chaps are laying across the front of his saddle. See more »
A lone home amidst tranquil mesas. A family gathers on their front porch to watch a solitary man ride slowly up to their ranch on his horse in the waning sun. He stops, disembarks and walks up to the house, all in one single weary move. Note his stance, the rugged tiredness of life etched on his face. This lone drifter is Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) and is perhaps the most brilliant character devised by Wayne and director John Ford. As the film progresses, we learn of his military days, his contempt of Indians and, most importantly, his psyche. Compared to another John ford movie, "Stagecoach", we can see the massive differences in character psychology and within the genre itself. Gone are the days of the brave hero riding in to save the day with wistful smiles all around; instead we have a savage man on an odyssey of revenge, hatred and bloodshed.
In one scene, Ethan and a search party comes across a dead Indian buried in the ground. Ethan's suppressed rage overcomes him, and he shoots the corpse's eyes out. "What good did that do ya?" asks the Reverend. Ethan coolly replies, "Ain't got no eyes so he can't enter the spirit land, has to wander forever between the winds". This is by far my favourite line in the movie, because of the resonance it has at the end, with Ethan walking away into the winds, doomed to forever drift the earth. This movie is a beautiful spectacle of sight and sound. Not only do we marvel at scenes in Ford's beloved Monument Valley, we also find ourselves amazed at the level of detail in set design. Each frame is as if it were from a painter's canvas. Colour coordination was certainly something John Ford and his cinematographers fit perfectly into. There are few vibrant colours in each frame, but those that exist pop out vividly amongst the bleak, sepia-stained walls of the houses, and the valley.
John Ford again demonstrates his powerful storytelling technique by using several methods of progressing the narrative. While crosscutting between action is used sparingly, a quasi-flashback stemming from a letter of Luke's kept my attention firmly rooted to my screen. These different methods of narrative progression are important because it keeps the viewer continuously involved with the story. Not once did I feel as if a particular scene droned on and on for too long, instead I felt captivated not only by a gripping storyline, but also because of the brilliant dichotomy between Ethan Edwards and the other characters. The Searchers is a lesson on psychology, sociology and filmmaking all at once. I love it.
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