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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant blu ray: 'The Searchers' revealled
Just to add to the many articulate reviews here, but I must add that the blu ray version of this film [which I have seen many times and have on DVD] in 'The Westerns Collection' box set is probably the best looking restoration disc of an old film I have seen [although the restoration of the inferior 'Grand Prix' is also stunning].

The choreography of Ethan's...
Published on 2 Feb. 2013 by Mr. Christopher Ball

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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant blu ray: 'The Searchers' revealled, 2 Feb. 2013
Just to add to the many articulate reviews here, but I must add that the blu ray version of this film [which I have seen many times and have on DVD] in 'The Westerns Collection' box set is probably the best looking restoration disc of an old film I have seen [although the restoration of the inferior 'Grand Prix' is also stunning].

The choreography of Ethan's brother's family as they arrive at the front of the house - a home with rich textures in and out - subtly tells us all we need to know so later - when they are dead - they seem real enough to us. The monument valley landscapes lour and glow; the framing of various characters within door frames benefits from the deep blacks achieved by this newish disc format -and enhance the sense of Ethan as a homeless, war damaged, unhappy wanderer; costumes - colours and textures - are wonderfully vivid - esxpecially those of the native Americans - and the changing seasons [the cavalry riding through a river in the snow!] seem as real to me aS 'The Hobbit''s 48f.p.s.. The cinematography is superb. The use of fast focus push to Wayne's face, is made more effective: we're care getting close to Leone's extreme close ups here and Scorses's use of a similar technique to emphasise drama and interior monologue.

Most importantly, the relationship between Ethan and Marty seems refreshed for me: Ford shows the awkward boy become a man and begin to understand Ethan's terrible intent to kill his defiled neice; Marty learns to stand up to him, and forces a changed purpose to one of rescue. Although the moment when Wayne grabs and lifts Natalie Wood is fraught with risk, the moment of compassion arrives and Debbie is returned home to love and care. Ford's values are never Ethan's. Even his representation of commanche village life suggests something of respect. The suggestion in the script that the bones of these Texan settler must be in the earth to help grow a great new nation is both romantic and moving - and, yes, a touch absurd [why are they farming in this arid if magnificent place?]. A complex and an unusual for film of its time- but a subtle one too.
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11 of 13 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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5.0 out of 5 stars That`ll be the day!, 20 July 2012
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Searchers [1956] [DVD] (DVD)
I`m more of a Howard Hawks/Anthony Mann man myself, but this is Ford`s finest and one of the greatest westerns.
The first shot of the film is of an opening door, the final one of a closing door and a man slowly ambling away, back into the desert. Together, as bookends, they are unforgettable images, two of the most poetically ambiguous shots in American cinema.
Wayne was seldom better, and here exhibits some of the rage and contrariness he showed in Red River. Few actors (apart from James Stewart) did livid anger so believably. His character in The Searchers is not dissimilar to the one he played in the earlier film, a loner going his own way in his own time, accepting advice from nobody.
His sidekick here is Jeffrey Hunter - who later played Jesus and who died young - who more than holds his own in his many scenes with the Duke. In fact, he gives a thoroughly credible performance in a part that could have been monotonously petulant.
Vera Miles plays his long-suffering girl perfectly. She was a superb and versatile actress, not always used well by Hollywood, but was given the chance to shine as Henry Fonda`s wife in Hitchcock`s The Wrong Man, and played a small yet significant role in Psycho. Here she`s radiant, and sexy with it.
Perhaps the most striking acting comes from that old Ford blusterer Ward Bond, who proved here that he could not only act well, but manages to create a three-dimensional character of a rumbustuous fighter-priest, who all but steals each scene he`s in. A terrific performance from an actor one tends to take for granted.
Natalie Wood is fine in an early role, and her younger sister Lana is equally good in her scenes.
Virtually the whole cast are superb, and the direction is beyond praise. The film looks magnificent, and is surprisingly moving. There isn`t too much of Ford`s clumsy brand of `humour`, thank heavens, and what sentimentality there is is kept in check by the sombre momentum of the story, which spans several years.
The Searchers is certainly one of the great American films, and one of Wayne`s iconic performances.
And I love the differing, droll, world-weary ways he finds to utter the film`s reluctant catchphrase: `That`ll be the day!`

A masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Western ? ( not the hotel group ), 30 Jan. 2015
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High Noon
Shane
Gunfight at the OK Corral
Stagecoach
The Searchers

Tickle almost any western fan and he/she will tell you one of the above is the best Western ever made.They are all b......y great

This one has Wayne's best performance,a pre-Soldier Blue look at the truth of the Old West and superb photography. Blu-ray transfer good - very good.

Sad about Jeffrey Hunter - this,King of Kings,first captain of the USS Enterprise,then poor career choices and a very untimely death.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best..., 25 Sept. 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 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
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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
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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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Searchers - an Exile, 3 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
THE SEARCHERS - AN EXILE The Searchers is one of the best Western movies ever made. It was made when its star, John Wayne, was in his prime and at his most authoritative, in a medium of which he was one of the most accomplished exponents. The film has all John Ford's characteristic touches, the Desert West which he made his own, and his own 'repertory company', a cast which could deliver Ford's peculiar vision. It has also the richest sub text of any of the Ford Westerns. Wayne's character, Ethan Edwards, is an outsider, a loner. This is not just in the usual cinematic sense of being unattached. Wayne is in love with his brother's wife, so he is unable to rear a frontier family and join in the society of 1870s Texas. Ethan is also a Confederate who took the Confederacy seriously, who refuses to abandon his allegiance to the South in arms. ... The South is his lost nation and he refuses to pick up any pieces. This is obsessive behaviour, a lost cause just as his search among the Comanche clans for his niece is obsessive. ... This sub text gives the movie a tragic dimension that makes it one of the greats.
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5.0 out of 5 stars VistaVision option available!, 10 April 2009
By 
Kenneth F. Mcara "Kenneth F. McAra" (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Searchers [DVD] [1956] (DVD)
As Jim pointed out in his review below, this picture was designed to be seen in widescreen, and he saw it in regular 1.33:1 ratio when playing this disc. If he'd 'flipped' the disc over, however, he would have been able to watch the widescreen 1.85:1 version, which is also included on Side B.

The regular ratio picture was cropped top and bottom to turn the picture into VistaVision, and the exquisite framing of shots show that John Ford was well aware of what would - and wouldn't - be seen in the VistaVision presentation. The depiction of the natural landscape is nothing short of superb. Indeed, a lot of fun can be had by watching the regular ratio version as all sorts of things we shouldn't see (studio lights, tops of backcloths and so on) can be glimpsed at points. Look at the 'Trivia' and 'Goofs' sections for this picture on IMDB for more details.

It's a wonderful picture presented like this, but I'm now saving up my pennies for what seems to be an exceptional Blu-ray rendering,The Searchers [Blu-ray] [1956] ,also available on Amazon
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