The Searchers

The Searchers

John Wayne
Director: John Ford Cast: John Wayne
John Wayne
, Jeffrey Hunter
Jeffrey Hunter
, Vera Miles
Vera Miles
John Ford

DVD (Special Edition / Subtitled)

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If John Ford is the greatest Western director, The Searchers is arguably his greatest film, at once a grand outdoor spectacle like such Ford classics as She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and Rio Grande (1950) and a film about one man's troubling moral codes, a big-screen adventure of the 1950s that anticipated the complex themes and characters that would dominate the 1970s. John Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a former Confederate soldier who returns to his brother Aaron's frontier cabin three years after the end of the Civil War. Ethan still has his rebel uniform and weapons, a large stash of Yankee gold, and no explanations as to where he's been since Lee's surrender. A loner not comfortable in the bosom of his family, Ethan also harbors a bitter hatred of Indians (though he knows their lore and language well) and trusts no one but himself. Ethan and Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), Aaron's adopted son, join a makeshift band of Texas Rangers fending off an assault by renegade Comanches. Before they can run off the Indians, several homes are attacked, and Ethan returns to discover his brother and sister-in-law dead and their two daughters kidnapped. While they soon learn that one of the girls is dead, the other, Debbie, is still alive, and with obsessive determination, Ethan and Martin spend the next five years in a relentless search for Debbie -- and for Scar (Henry Brandon), the fearsome Comanche chief who abducted her. But while Martin wants to save his sister and bring her home, Ethan seems primarily motivated by his hatred of the Comanches; it's hard to say if he wants to rescue Debbie or murder the girl who has lived with Indians too long to be considered "white." John Wayne gives perhaps his finest performance in a role that predated screen antiheroes of the 1970s; by the film's conclusion, his single-minded obsession seems less like heroism and more like madness. Wayne bravely refuses to soft-pedal Ethan's ugly side, and the result is a remarkable portrait of a man incapable of answering to anyone but himself, who ultimately has more in common with his despised Indians than with his more "civilized" brethren. Natalie Wood is striking in her brief role as the 16-year-old Debbie, lost between two worlds, and Winton C. Hoch's Technicolor photography captures Monument Valley's savage beauty with subtle grace. The Searchers paved the way for such revisionist Westerns as The Wild Bunch (1969) and McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), and its influence on movies from Taxi Driver (1976) to Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Star Wars (1977) testifies to its lasting importance.

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Product Details

Release Date: 01/06/2015
UPC: 0883929453085
Original Release: 1956
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Home Video
Region Code: 1
Time: 1:59:00
Sales rank: 1,022

Special Features

Closed Caption; New digital transfer from restored VistaVision picture and audio elements; New featurette: The Searchers: An Appreciation; A Turning of the Earth: John Ford, John Wayner and The Searchers, 1998 documentary narrated by John Milius; Introduction by John Wayne's son and The Searchers co-star Patrick Wayne; Commentary by director/John Ford biographer Peter Bogdanovich; Vintage behind the cameras segments from the Warner Bros. Presents TV series; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Wayne Ethan Edwards
Jeffrey Hunter Martin Pawley
Vera Miles Laurie Jorgensen
Ward Bond Capt. Reverend Clayton
Natalie Wood Debbie Edwards, older
John Milius Narrated
John Qualen Lars Jorgensen
Hank Worden Mose Harper
Olive Carey Mrs. Jorgensen
Henry Brandon Chief Scar
Ken Curtis Charlie McCony
Harry Carey Brad Jorgensen
Antonio Moreno Emilio Figueroa
Lana Wood Debbie Edwards, younger
Walter Coy Aaron Edwards
Dorothy Jordan Martha Edwards
Pippa Scott Lucy Edwards
Patrick Wayne Lieutenant Greenhill
Beulah Archuletta Look
Shooting Star Actor
Ruth Clifford Deranged woman at fort
Cliff Lyons Col. Greenhill
Peter Mamakos Jerem Futterman
Mae Marsh Woman at fort
Jack Pennick Private
Chuck Roberson Man at wedding
Bill Steele Nesby
Chief Thundercloud Comanche chief
Nacho Galindo Mexican bartender
Robert Lyden Ben Edwards
Danny Borzage Accordionist at Funeral

Technical Credits
John Ford Director
James Basevi Art Director
C. Frank Beetson Costumes/Costume Designer
Frank Beetson Costumes/Costume Designer
George Brown Special Effects
Merian C. Cooper Executive Producer
Patrick Ford Associate Producer
Victor A. Gangelin Set Decoration/Design
Winton Hoch Cinematographer,Screenwriter
Frank Hotaling Art Director
Hugh McDowell Sound/Sound Designer
Jack Murray Editor
Frank S. Nugent Screenwriter
Webb Overlander Makeup
Ann Peck Costumes/Costume Designer
Wingate Smith Asst. Director
Max Steiner Score Composer
C.V. Whitney Producer
Howard Wilson Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Searchers
1. Credits
2. Ethan Returns Home
3. Aaron, Martha, Debbie and Lucy
4. Martin Pauley
5. Capt. Rev. Sam Johnson
6. One Oath at a Time
7. Martha's Reverie and Farwell
8. Search for Cattle
9. Riders on the Rim
10. A Murder Raid
11. Mose's Indian Dance
12. Terror at Dusk
13. Shadow of Chief Scar
14. Terrible Discovery
15. "Put An Amen to It!"
16. The Search Begins
17. "That'll Be the Day"
18. Surrounded By Hostiles
19. Battle at the River
20. "Don't Ever Ask Me More!"
21. A Blizzard and a Lost Trail
22. Retun to the Jorgensens
23. A Letter for Ethan
24. Laurie and Martin
25. Futterman's Trading Post
26. Ambush in the Night
27. Charlie Brings a Letter
28. An Indian Bride
29. Scar's Trail
30. Buffalo Country
31. A Little Girl and a Doll
32. Reunited With Mose
33. Information About Debbie
34. Meeting With Scar
35. Debbie Found
36. Surprise Attack
37. Last Will and Testament
38. A Wedding
39. A Fair Fight
40. News of Scar
41. Martin's Rescue Attempt
42. Attacking Scar's Camp
43. "Let's Go Home, Debbie"
44. A Man Alone

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