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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now THIS is what Blu Rays were invented for!!
The Searchers is in my opinion the greatest 'Western' ever made, although I have to admit that 'True Grit' True Grit (1969) [Blu-ray][Region Free] is the one I watch most often!

The film was directed by the peerless John Ford in 1956 and was based on a novel written by Alan Le May in 1954.

The film starts in 1868 in the wilderness of west Texas and...
Published on 27 Aug 2012 by IOWBOY

versus
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A classic - destroyed
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...
Published on 10 Nov 2011 by Film am Donnerstag


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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now THIS is what Blu Rays were invented for!!, 27 Aug 2012
By 
IOWBOY - See all my reviews
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The Searchers is in my opinion the greatest 'Western' ever made, although I have to admit that 'True Grit' True Grit (1969) [Blu-ray][Region Free] is the one I watch most often!

The film was directed by the peerless John Ford in 1956 and was based on a novel written by Alan Le May in 1954.

The film starts in 1868 in the wilderness of west Texas and stars John Wayne as a middle-aged Civil War veteran who returns from the American Civil War to the home of his brother; for me he gives the finest performance of his career in this film, yes True Grit's 'Rooster Cogburn' is probably a more memorable character, but if anyone ever suggests that 'The Duke' could not act then they should look no further than his incredibly powerful portrayal of the violent and racist Ethan Edwards in 'The Searchers'.

From the moment Ethan comes through the door it is clear he is not your typical John Wayne character; in this film Ethan is a man who does some heroic acts, but at the same time he is deeply troubled and bigoted, he is also racist and violent but the fact that through Wayne's performance we the viewer still perhaps admire his determination is testament to both the acting and the writing.

He tells his brothers family he is finished fighting and has returned to set up a home for himself.

Almost the next day news reaches the homestead that their neighbour has had cattle stolen, and when the Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnson Clayton (the brilliant Ward Bond) and a party of fellow Rangers arrive at the door they take Ethan and the families adopted son Martin Pawley (played to perfection by Jeffrey Hunter, an actor who many will recognise from Star Trek's orignial pilot episode 'The Cage') out to follow the trail of the thiefs. It is not until they are quite some distance from home when they discover that the theft was in fact a clever ploy by Comanche Indians to draw the men away from their families. The party then turn and head for home as quickly as possible, but on arriving there they are met with the most horrendous of scenes, the home burned down, the parents and son murdered (and in the wifes case raped) and the two daughters (Debbie and Lucy) abducted.

What follows is a quest by Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) and Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter) to find the girls.

Soon on in the journey they discover the body of the older of the two girls, Lucy; she has been brutally raped and murdered.

They then continue searching for the next few years to find the other daughter Debbie; the two men travel through terrible weather and hostile terrain, all along putting any thoughts of personal comforts to one side, in a relentless mission to discover just what has happened to her.

They eventually find Debbie, now an adolescent (and played by the beautiful Natalie Wood), and seemingly living amongst the Indians as one of their own. What follows is a long and difficult rescue mission, and the doubts remain that even if they can rescue Debbie will she remember them or even want to go with them.

The film is most famous for its photography of the location, Monument Valley; it is utterly stunning and no film has captured it so perfectly before or since. The soundtrack is very typical of 'Westerns' of the era, this is not necessarily a bad thing, its atmospheric, it just isn't anything special.

Watching the film now it is very difficult to understand how it didn't even receive any Academy Award nominations; but it is fair to say that the films real strength is its ability to appeal to audiences over half a century after its release. It has received far more recognition in modern times; the AFI (American Film Institute)named it the 12th 'Greatest American Movie of all time' in 2007 and 'The Greatest American Western of all time' in 2008.

As recently as 2012 the film magazine 'Sight & Sound' ranked it as the 7th best film of all time.

This REGION FREE Blu Ray edition is absolutely superb and although I have seen this film many time throughout my life, televison through to DVD (via VHS), it has never looked so gorgeous nor have I enjoyed it just quite so much.

The level of detail is stunning, the textures of the land and the fabrics worn are truly bought to life like never before; the colours are amazing, particulary so with the desert and the skyline during a setting sun. The shots that particularly stood out for me were the two iconic 'door frame' images that bookend the film, they are just amazing and the contrast between the blackness and the colour is simply astonishing.

I think the very reason why I enjoyed my initial Blu Ray viewing so much was due to the level of detail that high definition offers; despite countless screenings throughout the years I was still able to discover a huge number of previously unnoticed nuanced visuals.

The main feature is presented in 1080p High Definition 16x9 (1.85:1), has Dolby Digital sound 1.0 in English, French and German, and it also has subtitles in those languages.

There are some excellent Special Features including a commentary by Peter Bogdanovich (the Director, and also a Biographer of John Ford), a new featurette 'The Searchers: An Appreciation' and the original theatrical trailer. However, the best extras as far as I am concerned are the fascinating 30 minute documentary 'A Turning of the Earth: John Ford, John Wayne and The Searchers' narrated by John Milius, and the original black and white 'Behind the Cameras' segments; these are quite hilarious and offer a truly fascinating insight into the American movie business in the 1950's!

Overall I consider this Blu Ray as an essential purchase for anyone who considers themselves a fan of films; regardless of whether you already own it on DVD (as I do) this is totally worth purchasing, for me it is the most worthwhile use of high definition I have seen to date!
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than a simple revenge western, 7 Feb 2005
By 
Scott Miller "scott_miller_13" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Searchers [DVD] [1956] (DVD)
This film is simply a classic in all respects. Beautifully shot and directed, you could easily get lost in what looks at first glance like a David Lean epic with tumbleweed. Yet it is one of the darkest movies of the period and contains John Wayne's finest performance by a country mile. He was never darker and never better - a really convincing performance which lifts this fine film to a level rarely reached in cinema. And as for the classic closing shot... This truly is a must buy movie!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable western., 3 Dec 2014
This has got to be one of, if not the best westerns ever made. I really can't praise this film enough. John Wayne is excellent as a troubled but determined ex soldier from the civil war, Ethan, who returns to see his brothers family and realises that the fighting is still going on but in a new 'war' this time, against the Comanche indians.

Ethan and a younger man set out on a an epic five year journey to find a kidnapped girl.

The setting in monument valley is spectacular. Of course this is an old fashioned cowboy film so it's played out very simple and straightforward; the injun's are the bad guys and the settler cowboys are the good guys. The overall story though is bigger than the surroundings as its about dogged determination to do the right thing.

There are comparisons with the later True Grit an equally excellent film. In this film all the supporting actors really add to the spectacle and leave a lasting impression. Particularly the Reverend Captain, played with gusto by Ward Bond, Hank Worden as rocking chair loving Mose Harper, and Ken Curtis playing a singing cowboy Charlie McCorry. He really was a singer before becoming an actor and I will always remember his immortal line in the Searchers upon finding his intended has met up with another at their wedding 'I'll thank you to un-hand my fiance!'

I must buy the Blu-ray version! Five stars!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Searchers, 23 May 2004
By 
Mr. A. R. Clevett (Worthing,England.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Searchers [DVD] [1956] (DVD)
Surely one of the best Westerns ever made.Beautifully filmed in
Monument Valley.Wayne at his very best as surly,bigotted Ethan Edwards,which in my oppinion should have earned him an Oscar.With a supurb supporting cast of Ward Bond,Jeffrey Hunter
and a very young Natalie Wood.A must for the collection of every
Western fan.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Western of all time? Fifty years old and good enough for another fifty years!, 26 Jun 2007
By 
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This review is from: The Searchers [1956] [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw this film as a young eighteen year-old Western aficionado on its first theatrical release to the English provinces in 1956. I came to it with great expectations fresh from reading Alan Le May's book of the same name. I came away knowing I'd seen a great film but I was disappointed on two counts first the search lasts for ten years in the book and second, Wayne's character Ethan is killed off in the penultimate battle with the Indians. In the subsequent years I've seen this film dozens of times and it never fails to amaze me that on each fresh viewing I never fail to notice something new!

John Ford and John Wayne collaborated on several films most of them westerns. Although this was their first Western for six years since they completed the last of the Cavalry Trilogy RIO GRANDE (1950). As with the trilogy, Ford once again choose to shoot the most of the film in Monument Valley Utah, when using this his favourite location Ford became an acclaimed visual poet of the West. With Ford's "Western Director" to Wayne's "Western Star" they were unequalled in the making of Westerns producing an outstanding body of work between 1939 and 1962! Although THE SEARCHERS remained totally unrecognised by The Academy Awards for 1956. Fifty-odd years later it still stands at the top of the many peoples list as the greatest Western of all time. Also appearing in most if not all of The Greatest 100 Movies Of All Time Lists.

Three years after the Civil War Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) a dark brooding mysterious character returns home to his brother Aaron (Walter Coy) homestead. Ethan takes his brother place on a posse led by Texas Ranger Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton (Ward Bond) on the trail of a raiding party, coming across some slaughtered cattle they realise they've been lured away whilst the main Indian party attacked either the Edwards or Jorgensen Homesteads.

The main body of the posse head back towards Jorgensen's place whilst Ethan along with Mose Harper (Hank Worden) rest their horses before heading back to the Edwards homestead, meanwhile Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter) who had raised by the Edwards as their own raced on ahead against Ethan's advice. Arriving back at the smoking Edwards homestead their worse fears are founded, the two girls Lucy (Pippa Scott) and young Debbie (Lana Wood) have been taken captive and the rest killed. After the burial of his family a demented Ethan sets out after the Indians with a posse led by Captain Clayton. Following a skirmish with the Indians at the river, Clayton elects to take the wounded back home.

Ethan reckons on going on alone but Martin and Brad Jorgensen (Harry Carey Jr.) insist on going too, not least because they fear what Ethan might do the girls. So the three (later two) searchers set out on the trail of the Indians for five long years a couple of trips back to the Jorgensen homestead when the trail was lost and twice pointed in the right direction by Shakespearian Fool Mose Harper, that leads to a band of Comanche led by a chief called Scar (Henry Brandon). At the camp they discover the older Debbie (Natalie Wood) dressed as an Indian girl of marriageable age. Will Ethan carry out his threat to kill her or will Martin be able to stop him?

John Ford was the master of conveying terrible events to his audience through suggested violence, like the returning posse coming across the burnt out homestead with Martha's dress laying on the ground outside indicating the horrors that lay inside. Again when Ethan returns to Martin and Brad from finding Lucy's remains we just see the haunted look on his face as he plunges his knife in the earth to remove the Indian blood from the blade, all powerful stuff but left to our own imagination!

And not only suggested violence but also suggested love too, hardly a word pass between Ethan and Martha but the viewer is left with little doubt of a passed tender relationship between the two. The long narrative is held together by a couple of visits back to the Jorgensen Homestead and a letter from Martin to Laurie, read out to one and all! Ford's ending of the film has turned out in the end to be one of the most iconic endings in movie history. How could I have been so presumptuous as to think anything else?

This Two-Disc Special Edition includes new digital transfer from restored Vista Vision Picture with an introduction by Co-Star Patrick Wayne. Plus: The Searchers: An Appreciation and other extras. Don't miss John Ford's Masterpiece all at a bargain price from Amazon. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best..., 25 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This and The Shootist are my two favourite westerns - John Wayne is very different in these two films and I think both performances are great. I disliked Wayne quite a lot until I saw these two movies, and they changed my mind fast.
The photography and editing are superb, and as always in Wayne westerns, even this darkest one, there is a golden vein of humour in it, not as much as usual in his films but it's still there.
Some of the shots in this film are astounding; the great closing scene of course, and I think the shot earlier on where the camera moves in as Wayne spins round and stares (and I mean stares!)at an 'indianised' white girl, is one of the best shots I've ever seen in any film. The intensity of that shot is unforgettable.
A really great film.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Searchers: A Revisionist Western, Well Sort Of, 8 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Searchers [1956] [DVD] (DVD)
First things first, "The Searchers" does not mean to be racist no matter what any one says and will continue to say. Those that say it obviously have not found the film's message. That's why I'm writing this.
Based upon the real life story of Cynthia Ann Parker and her uncle who searched for her for nearly twenty years, you might notice that this is probabaly the first film where white men attack an Indian encampment and we see the Indian women and children running for their lives. You also get a look at a village after the U.S. Cavalry have finished burning it to the ground and left the dead.
However in trying to highlight the racist attitudes that settlers in the 1860s-70s held for Native Americans Ford falls into the trap of making racial stereotypes. Hence the "Look" character, however many of her scenes are done exactly as they were in Alan Le May's original book (also worth a read if you're interested. You learn a bit more about Martin Pawley's backstory as well as the Ethan character) plus the over the top freed captives who "ain't white, no more, they're Comanch", In reality they would have been perfectly normal but would have rather lived with the Comanches who would have continued to treat them as human beings.
Another problem is John Wayne. Yes, it is probably his best film and he is very good in it but, in 1956 Wayne was a pillar of everything people believed to be great about the United States. He stood for decent human values. The problem is that it was and continues to be difficult for people to picture him as an anti- miscegnationist and a hate filled racist. People who hate him will cite "The Searchers" as an example of his racial beliefs and how he stands for the conquering of the West . Even though that is not what the film is about.
With "The Searchers" Ford creates a West where the people are as brutal as each other. Ethan Edwards kills and disfigures Comanches because they killed his family. Note that Scar, Ethan's alter ego kills and scalps settlers because his sons were killed by white men. The anti-miscegnation is shown to be the height of hypocrisy. Ethan notes that Scar speaks "good American for a Comanch" it's then suggested that he has been with a white woman. Scar then points out that Ethan "speaks good Comanch", has Ethan been with Indian women before? If so are his concerns about white women living with Comanche bucks hypocritical? Note as well that Brad Jorgenson is more concerned about whether Lucy, the girl he supposedly loves, has been raped or not when he learns she is dead.
This is a brilliant film and beautifully shot and hopefully you will enjoy it but please remember the time it's set in. In the 1860s and 70s Comanches did attack white settlements and take white captives as the buffalo herds were depleted and their lands were taken. White settlers treated Comanches the same way. To them the only good Indians were dead Indians. Ford's film is a picture that is trying nervously to portray the attitudes of a society engrossed in racism. It should be viewed with that understanding and hopefully you won't think it is an old, bigoted, dated, cowboys and indians saturday matinee movie.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you are remembered only while needed, 14 Jan 2003
By 
Carlos Vazquez Quintana "cvq" (Linares- Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ethan Edwards is a mature ex confederate soldier, a solitary man hardened in action, and I’m afraid more than possibly he’s not entirely in the side of the law –“I have some Yankee dollars recently coined”- offers Ethan to Aaron, his brother, as a pay for staying in his ranch. We don’t know how Ethan has obtained these money. He has been also fighting in Mexico and in full, he’s clearly an outsider. As the film begins it seems all Ethan wants is peace and rest, but the territory is wild and there’s “Scar”, a sort of Indian version of Ethan, as hard, somber, complex and vindictive as him. Scar, who has seen his own family destroyed by the white men, assaults and burns the ranch of Aaron and kills all the relatives of Ethan excepting the little Debbie, and so, the searching of the white girl kidnapped by the Comanches and the incessant, obsessive and sometimes morbous and irrational prosecution begins for Ethan with the paradoxical company of the young Martin Pawley, himself a semi - red skin, young and inexpert and to which Ethan hardly can be said has at first any confidence nor affection. The personages are colossal as the whole story with some drops of indispensable humor, and when the long, tremendous search is concluded, Ethan is forgotten and at the end as at the beginning, he rests out and alone. His family doesn’t need to him anymore. Simply superb movie.
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good picture and film, 20 Feb 2008
When taking this film in context, it was 1956 after all, this is an amazing film, full of wonderful panoramic backdrops of monument valley and the surrounding area. OK, so the story is a bit weak in places, the acting a bit wooden at times and it is full of clichés, but it has this magic charm that is irresistible.

The real magic lies in the cinematography that was well above the standard of the day, and is better than a lot of modern films. Each scene is carefully constructed, with beautiful western style back drops, and a real sense of the harsh environment they are playing the story out in.

The picture quality is very good, full 1080p, sharp edges and little unintentional bobbing around like old films do sometimes. Occasionally there is the small fault, but given the very good restoration they did, it embarrasses some modern films in its presentation.

The supplements are very good. There are several documentaries about how they made the film, about the people in it. It is interesting to see original TV shots and film shots of the set, and you can really see what the standard of the day was like in visual and audio production, which gives you a better appreciation of the film.

Overall, it's an enjoyable presentation, but remember it is from 1956, so not everyone's cup-of-tea.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a true classic of the western genre, 12 Feb 2009
By 
tcw cole "ter" (driffield . united kingdom) - See all my reviews
every once in a while a film comes along that has the critics and audiences alike raving about it , the searchers is just such a film , a story of love , friendship , hate , determination , bitterness and sorrow , sacrifice and hardship with one of the golden screens greatest endings that only a master craftsmen can lead the viewer into . john wayne proves not only is he the finest actor to ever grace a horse but also that he is a very great actor , i doubt that any one other than the duke could have carried the role and the audience without let up throughout 114 minutes of superb story telling amid the wonderfull scenery of monument valley , the entire cast gives wonderfull support indeed without such stalwarts of the silver screen i suggest the film could not have had the impact upon the viewer that remains long after the film is over , to call the ford/wayne collaberations mere film making fails to do justice to the genre and spirit of the american west and the service these two greats gave to it ..... here is a film that never dates , played out by actors who can rightly be called true greats , just as the director , star and film is rightly named . great .
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The Searchers  [DVD] [1956]
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