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THE SEARCHERS

Director: JOHN FORD

119 minutes| U.S.A.| 1956| Colour| 35mm


The ultimate Western, by the greatest Western director, with the most iconic Western actor; cinema has rarely, if ever, been better. Of the nine films John Ford set in Monument Valley, this is visually the most stunning. Beautifully shot in Technicolor by Ford’s cinematographer Winton C. Hoch, the landscape has an overwhelming presence that compounds the isolation of the characters. Set during the Texas–Indian Wars of the 1860s, the film looks at racism and genocide towards Native Americans in the building of the nation. John Wayne is fantastic as the menacing and racist Ethan Edwards, who spends years on the trail of the Comanches that killed his brother’s family and abducted his niece. Relentless in his pursuit, Ethan plans to murder his niece on discovering she has assimilated into the abducting Comanche tribe. A taut and compelling film which marks the beginning of harsh introspection in the genre, it ends with one of the most famous shots in cinema history.

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