Clayton remarks, "I haven't seen you since the surrender — come to think of it, I didn't see you at the surrender.
The posse includes one-eighth Cherokee Martin Pawley Jeffrey Hunter , orphaned in a massacre of settlers by the Comanche and raised in Aaron's family, whose dark skin offends the racist Ethan " a fella might take you for a half-breed". When the posse find Jorgenson's slaughtered cattle, Ethan knows the culprits are Comanche, luring the men of the region away so they can stage a "murder raid. In a primal scene, famously restaged in Star Wars, Ethan returns to Aaron's farm and finds it burning, the two girls missing, and Martha raped and murdered.
Presumably, Aaron and Ben are dead too, but Ethan barely notices — a suggestion that the lust for vengeance which permeates the rest of the film isn't as clear-cut as might be expected. In searching for Scar Henry Brandon , the war chief who has planned the raid and kidnapped Debbie, Ethan recognises the savage as his secret self, acting out the suppressed desire to take Martha and sunder his brother's family.
American Icons: ‘The Searchers’
Ethan and Martin spend five years tracking Scar, trailing through desert and snow, and our expectations of good and evil, civilisation and savagery are in dispute. Martin accidentally barters for an Indian bride, Look Beulah Archuletta , the sort of slapstick ethnic stooge who makes modern audiences cringe.
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But there's nothing funny about the way she up and offs at the mention of Scar's name and turns up as a corpse at the site of another massacre, of Indian women and children by the US Cavalry we learn Scar's sons have been killed by whites. As Martin becomes the hero of the film, we are forced to confront the possibility that John Wayne — Duke!
The Searchers ()
Debbie but shoot her dead because she has become the sexual property of the Comanche. The home stretch, shot like most of the film in and around Ford's beloved Monument Valley, is an emotional rollercoaster as the initial attack on the Edwards' home is mirrored by a joint Texas Ranger-US Cavalry action against Scar's camp.
Ethan finds Martin has already killed his arch-enemy and has to content himself with scalping Scar.
He then fights his way past Martin and seems intent on killing Debbie. Instead, in one of the greatest moments in cinema, he picks her up in a desperate embrace. His years of experience as a technician in the Technicolor laboratories gave him a unique perspective in the uses and possibilities of color cinematography.
Throughout his thirty-year career, he supplied sumptuous color images to many films, but his five pictures for John Ford remain the backbone of his work. Winton Hoch was responsible for capturing its unworldly beauty in Technicolor that was by turns stark, luscious, symbolic, and rousing.
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The pose—with the one arm holding the other—was quite distinctive, and so un-John-Wayne-like that Bogdonavich once asked him about it. And how you have your arms?
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Was that on purpose? And the pose always seemed so lonely to me. I thought it would work well in that last shot. Peter Bogdanovich first met John Ford in , when he conducted the first out of a series of interviews with the legendary filmmaker. Directed by John Ford was introduced to the world in with high praise from critics. After a critically successful screening of the original documentary at the Telluride Film Festival, Bogdanovich decided to make a revised version of the film that ultimately came out in With the new version, Bogdanovich felt he rounded up what he wanted to say about the iconic filmmaker considered by most as one of the most significant cinematic authors in American cinema.
John Ford would have probably discarded the film, claiming he only endured three minutes of it before nausea started to kick in. You can watch the documentary online at Internet Archive. The DVD of the documentary is available at Amazon and other online retailers. He had conducted that one from his bed, having taunted the hapless Gaul with his own fractured French.
Shortly before his death in and now living in La Quinta, Ford allowed himself to be photographed in his bed with his friends John Huston and Dennis Hopper. Intended for editorial use only. All material for educational and noncommercial purposes only. Your generosity preserves film knowledge for future generations. To donate, please visit our donation page , or click on the icon below:. Spread the love. Tags Frank S.