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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Searchers, a movie starring John Wayne, released in 1956

The Searchers was a movie released in 1956. It was the 12th collaboration between the Western star John Wayne and the director John Ford, and is acknowledged to be one of the best westerns ever made. The movie takes the iconic image of a western hero, who stands alone, and is also seen as an anti-hero. The movie takes the violence, the conflicts between settlers and the native Indians, and most importantly, the emotions that drive a person to a relentless quest, and how this search can harden a person and make him full of hatred. The movie is similar to the story of a Cynthia Ann Parker in 1836, who was kidnapped by native Comanches, spent 24 years with them, and married an Indian chief. She had a complete family, but was taken away from her family by Texas Rangers, driven by her uncle.

The movie is the story of Ethan Edwards (John Wayne, also known as 'The Duke'), a ex-Confederate soldier returning from the American Civil war. He returns to his brother's (Aaron) home; they accept him and the money he brings, although it is hinted that Ethan had been upto no good. Soon after, a raid by the native Indian tribe, the Comanches, burns down the homestead and kills his entire set of relatives, except for 2 nieces, Lucy (Pippa Scott) and Debbie (Lana Wood), who are abducted.
A group of Texas Rangers led by Captain Clayton accompanied by Ethan set out in pursuit of the Comanches, and they have clashes with the party. It is soon clear that Ethan is willing to take risks that could get the girls killed, and Captain Clayton is unwilling to take these risks. However, Lucy's fiancee Brad and Aaron's adopted son Martin are determined to continue, and find the Comanche camp. Ethan soon reports that he found Lucy's body and buried her, at this Lucy's fiancee charges to the Comanche camp and is killed.
Ethan and Martin continue this search, a search that takes them 5 years. In this time, Debbie has crossed childhood and marries an Indian chief called Scar, a native Indian who is the same as Ethan. Just as Ethan hates native Indians, Scar hates the whites. This knowledge transforms Ethan, he is struck by hatred at the fact that Debbie is now married to a native Indian, and his mission is now converted to killing Debbie. Soon after, Martin and Ethan manage to meet Debbie, where Martin manages to save Debbie from getting killed by Ethan.
Martin and Ethan find Debbie again, and this time the hatred in Ethan cannot be controlled. In a conflict, Martin kills Scar, and then Ethan does the incredible, he scalps Ethan. It is then he realizes that this hatred has made him become what he did not want. He realizes his emotions, and brings Debbie back to her friends and safety.

The Searchers, a 1956 epic movie starring John Wayne, and directed by John Ford

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