peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2010 12 27 TheSearchers

The Searchers (1956)

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Another John Ford / John Wayne collaboration. The little sense it makes is totally normative: at the end all's-well as the white girl-child is recovered from the Comanche camp and returned to some random family's shack, undergoing a change in attitude from steadfast anti-Waynery to please-take-me-home-good-sir off-screen. Wayne is hard here, unforgiving, but his Confederate backstory is left opaque and his conversion on the road to wherever answers the needs of plot but not character. There may well be a litany of awesome shots here, so look and don't think. I am not getting that truly-great movie feeling from these non-spaghetti Westerns; they might have Wayne but they don't have Ennio Morricone and Leone, or even (gasp) Eastwood.

Roger Ebert: four stars as a "great movie" in 2001. Bosley Crowther at the time.