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The Searchers Review


Essential
When Orson Welles was asked by an interviewer who he thought were the top three American directors of all time, he simply said: "John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford." If that wasn't enough, Ingmar Bergman and Akira Kurosawa simply called Ford the best director who ever lived, American or other. However, if you were to ask most film students who directed My Darling Clementine, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and The Searchers, they'd stare at you as if you asked them who was the father of tap dancing (sorry, Bojangles). Truth be told, there is a certain anti-patriotism going on in modern cinema studies, and don't get me started on the current attitude towards Westerns (most find them boring or overly chauvinistic). It doesn't matter what your attitude is; the minute The Searchers begins, it's impossible to look away.

In rural Texas, Ethan Edwards (the immortal John Wayne) returns from the Civil War, where he fought for the Confederacy. His brother and his family welcome him home, but it's obvious that there are problems between the brothers, especially when Ethan is introduced to his adopted nephew, Martin (Jeffrey Hunter), who is part Indian. While out one day, Martin and Ethan trade barbs that bring out Ethan's chilling racism, but that dissipates when they return home to find the brother's house burned down, most dead, and the two girls, Lucy and Debbie, missing. Ethan and Martin quickly find Lucy, raped and murdered, and set out to find Debbie. While they are searching, Martin falls for Laurie (Vera Miles), a white girl whose family offers them a place for the night.

Continue reading: The Searchers Review

The Searchers Review


Essential
When Orson Welles was asked by an interviewer who he thought were the top three American directors of all time, he simply said: "John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford." If that wasn't enough, Ingmar Bergman and Akira Kurosawa simply called Ford the best director who ever lived, American or other. However, if you were to ask most film students who directed My Darling Clementine, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and The Searchers, they'd stare at you as if you asked them who was the father of tap dancing (sorry, Bojangles). Truth be told, there is a certain anti-patriotism going on in modern cinema studies, and don't get me started on the current attitude towards Westerns (most find them boring or overly chauvinistic). It doesn't matter what your attitude is; the minute The Searchers begins, it's impossible to look away.

In rural Texas, Ethan Edwards (the immortal John Wayne) returns from the Civil War, where he fought for the Confederacy. His brother and his family welcome him home, but it's obvious that there are problems between the brothers, especially when Ethan is introduced to his adopted nephew, Martin (Jeffrey Hunter), who is part Indian. While out one day, Martin and Ethan trade barbs that bring out Ethan's chilling racism, but that dissipates when they return home to find the brother's house burned down, most dead, and the two girls, Lucy and Debbie, missing. Ethan and Martin quickly find Lucy, raped and murdered, and set out to find Debbie. While they are searching, Martin falls for Laurie (Vera Miles), a white girl whose family offers them a place for the night.

Continue reading: The Searchers Review

The Longest Day Review


Excellent
D-Day wasn't just fought at Omaha Beach, though Hollywood may have thought so before The Longest Day. D-Day involved a cast of thousands, and it took producer Darryl Zanuck, five screenwriters, four directors, and three hours just to bring it to the big screen. In fact, Spielberg cribbed large chunks of this film verbatim for Saving Private Ryan. Ultimately, Ryan is the better picture, but The Longest Day shows you more of the story (and it's closer to reality), from the paratrooper force sent in as a diversion, to a half-dozen beach battles, to the French Resistance and how they helped. Aside from a great war tale, Day also marks what must be the only film where you can see John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Fabián, Sal Mineo, Eddie Albert, Red Buttons, Peter Lawford, and Sean Connery all fighting the same war. And on the same side, no less.
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