This review is not so much about the film itself, as to the way it has been reproduced on this particular DVD - the two-sided "Ultimate Westerns" version, barcode 7321900146517.
The original is VistaVision widescreen, and this is significant. The cinematographers made a great effort to use the possibilities of widescreen not only to capture the breathtaking landscape, they also invented some special tricks which really only work in widescreen - the first two minutes of the film are a good example.
To broadcast The Searchers on TV, it was copied to 4:3 format (equals 1.33:1) by removing part of the image on both the left and right sides. You just get the middle portion of the picture, the rest is lost.
This version is on one side of this DVD, and you'll notice right away: this is not widescreen.
But this is a two-sided DVD, promising a 1.85:1 widescreen version on the other side. When I watched this version, I had the creepy feeling that it was widescreen, but it was not any w i d e r. Weird. So I played both sides and took some snapshots to compare. It is not wider, it is lower.
To create this widescreen version, Warner Brothers took the TV version, not the original, and simply cut off a strip at the top and bottom. The result is a film with a portion of the image cut off at the top, the right, the bottom, and the left. The so-called widescreen version actually shows LESS.
Technically, this is not widescreen, it is lowscreen. A huge disappointment. Do not buy this version. Warner is selling snake oil here.