|The glorious red, white, and blue colour scheme that is present throughout the film.|
Holy moly folks. HOLY MOLY!
If you've read my previous post detailing my new admiration for the western movie genre, you'll know that I asked you, my readers, to recommend some westerns for me to watch. I wasn't expecting so many of you to comment, but you did (!!), so thank you SO much for helping me out and giving me your picks for your favourite western films! Without you, I probably would never have watched The Searchers (1956).
Directed by John Ford, and widely considered to be the best Western film ever made (wow), this film is full of the things that I love: humour, suspense, beautiful scenery, a wonderful cast, and a musical score to die for. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to like The Searchers as much as I did because I'm still a little wary of westerns and their slow-paced action. I find that I'm still in the process of taking baby steps when it comes to exploring this genre more.
John Wayne stars as aged Civil War veteran Ethan Edwards who reunites (briefly) with his brother's family. Without spoiling too much of the story, I'll just go ahead and say that the family is ruined by a vicious attack carried out by a gang of ruthless Comanche natives. Ethan Edwards spends the rest of the film searching for the remaining survivors, his two nieces, played by Pippa Scott and Natalie Wood. Jeffrey Hunter co-stars as Edwards' adoptive nephew Martin Pawley.
Here are a few things I noticed whilst watching the film:
- Ethan Edwards' "take no prisoners" attitude,
- the constant presence of red, white, and blue in mostly all of the film's wide shots (stunning!),
- the simplistic reverence of a rocking chair,
- the fact that an all-out brawl between two grown men can be stopped in its tracks by a lost fiddle,
- the subtle use of favourite utterances like "that'll be the day,"
- the fact that one single, seemingly insignificant prop gives the whole game away (as to why Ethan Edwards hates Comanche natives so much); his mother's tombstone, the one that little Debbie hides behind at the beginning of the film, reads: Here lies Mary Jane Edwards killed by Comanches May 12, 1852. A good wife and mother in her 41st year.
I thought The Searchers was beautifully filmed and, at times, I was literally blown away by some of Ford's wide angle shots. The scenery is absolutely stunning and really lends a sense of space and wonderment to the story. Not once was I ever bored whilst watching this film which is unusual for me because, in the past, westerns ALWAYS bored me at some point.
|One of the most beautiful scenes in The Searchers (in my humble opinion). L-R: Jeffrey Hunter & John Wayne.|
Yes, I am definitely a western movie convert now. Thank you again to all of you who recommended The Searchers in my previous post! Next up on the docket? My Darling Clementine (1946), starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford. I'll begin watching it tonight!