The Searchers

Title: The Searchers
Year: 1956
Director: John Ford
Writer: Frank S. Nugent, based on the novel by Alan Le May
Starring: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, Natalie Wood, John Qualen, Olive Carey, Henry Brandon
Music: Max Steiner
Distinctions: formerly on IMDb’s Top 250
Synopsis: a racist spends years hunting down the Indians who kidnapped his niece and killed her family
How I saw it: on video, twice (rented from Netflix), most recently March 2008
Subjective Rating: 3/10 (Bad).
Objective Rating: 2/10 (gets points for characters and cinematography) c. 1.8/4 (Eh).

An uninteresting story, and it doesn’t really make sense if you think too hard. It tries to be something more than just a John-Wayne-is-a-tough-guy-in-the-Old-West action movie, but doesn’t really succeed. The cinematography is actually quite good, when they’re shooting on location. The scenes shot on a sound stage look hilariously bad. The first time I watched this, I wrote: “We hadn’t seen a John Wayne movie before, and we probably won’t see one again.” (Untrue, unfortunately.) I just do not understand that man. He is a parody of himself.

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