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 (Full Frame)

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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.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/02/2007
UPC: 0085391158653
Original Release: 1956
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Home Video
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Full Frame]
Time: 1:59:00
Sales rank: 4,473

Special Features

Closed Caption; Introduction by John Wayne's son and the Searchers co-star Patrick Wayne; 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 -- Searchers
1. Credits [1:27]
2. Ethan Returns Home [1:38]
3. Aaron, Martha, Debbie and Lucy [1:16]
4. Martin Pauley [4:37]
5. Capt. Rev. Sam Johnson [2:51]
6. One Oath at a Time [1:14]
7. Martha's Reverie and Farewell [1:13]
8. Search For Cattle [:57]
9. Riders on the Rim [:33]
10. A Murder Raid [:40]
11. Mose's Indian Dance [:51]
12. Terror at Dusk [3:00]
13. Shadow of Chief Scar [:39]
14. Terrible Discovery [2:18]
15. "Put an Amen to It!" [1:47]
16. The Search Begins [3:19]
17. "That'll Be the Day" [1:18]
18. Surrounded by Hostiles [4:05]
19. Battle at the River [6:23]
20. "Don't Ever Ask Me More!" [2:07]
21. A Blizzard and a Lost Trail [1:30]
22. Return to the Jorgensens [4:01]
23. A Letter For Ethan [1:16]
24. Laurie and Martin [1:30]
25. Futterman's Trading Post [3:13]
26. Ambush in the Night [1:31]
27. Charlie Brings a Letter [3:47]
28. An Indian Bride [4:12]
29. Scar's Trail [3:48]
30. Buffalo Country [1:34]
31. A Little Girl and a Doll [4:07]
32. Reunited With Mose [4:27]
33. Information About Debbie [:35]
34. Meeting With Scar [2:49]
35. Debbie Found [2:45]
36. Surprise Attack [3:55]
37. Last Will and Testament [1:58]
38. A Wedding [2:29]
39. A Fair Fight [5:50]
40. News of Scar [5:08]
41. Martin's Rescue Attempt [4:54]
42. Attacking Scar's Camp [3:15]
43. "Let's Go Home, Debbie" [4:05]
44. A Man Alone [1:35]

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