The Searchers: Essays and Reflections on John Ford's Classic Western / Edition 1

The Searchers: Essays and Reflections on John Ford's Classic Western / Edition 1

by Peter Lehman
     
 

In many ways a traditional western, The Searchers (1956) is considered by critics as one of the greatest Hollywood films, made by the most influential of western directors. But John Ford’s classic work, in its complexity and ambiguity, was a product of post-World War II American culture and sparked the deconstruction of the western film myth by looking

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Overview

In many ways a traditional western, The Searchers (1956) is considered by critics as one of the greatest Hollywood films, made by the most influential of western directors. But John Ford’s classic work, in its complexity and ambiguity, was a product of post-World War II American culture and sparked the deconstruction of the western film myth by looking unblinkingly at white racism and violence and suggesting its social and psychological origins. The Searchers tells the story of the kidnapping of the niece of Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) by Comanche Indians, and his long search to find her—ultimately not to rescue her but to kill her, since he finds her racially and sexually violated.

The Searchers: Essays and Reflections on John Ford’s Classic Western brings historians and film scholars together to cover the major critical issues of this film as seen through a contemporary prism. The book also contains the first published, sustained reaction to the film by Native Americans. The essays explore a wide range of topics: from John Wayne’s grim character of Ethan Edwards, to the actual history of Indian captivity on the southern Plains, as well as the role of the film’s music, setting, and mythic structure—all of which help the reader to understand what makes The Searchers such an enduring work.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814330562
Publisher:
Wayne State University Press
Publication date:
01/28/2004
Series:
Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
392
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface: A Film That Fits a Lot of Descriptions
Introduction: Main Critical Issues in The Searchers1
The Searchers: An American Dilemma47
John Wayne and The Searchers75
Sermons in Stone: Monument Valley in The Searchers93
"Typically American": Music for The Searchers109
Homer's Iliad and John Ford's The Searchers145
What Would Martha Want? Captivity, Purity, and Feminine Values in The Searchers171
Incest and Miscegenation in The Searchers (1956) and The Unforgiven (1959)197
Double Vision: Miscegenation and Point of View in The Searchers223
"You Couldn't Hit It on the Nose": The Limits of Knowledge in and of The Searchers239
"That Don't Make You Kin!": Borderlands History and Culture in The Searchers265
Re-searching289
Native American Reactions to The Searchers335
Film Credits343
Selected Bibliography345
Index355

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