Books and Movies Reviews

The Searchers

The Searchers, filmed in 1956, is considered to be a true masterpiece of American filmmaking.Filled with beautiful images of Monument Valley, its secluded open spaces capture the beauty and the isolating danger of the frontier.This movie tells the emotionally compelling story of not only a revengeful man in search of his kidnapped nieces but also of his inner battle and discovery of his true identity.The main character of this movie, Ethan Edwards, is a person who does not belong anywhere, the outsider, a man doomed to eternally wander in the West.As the story unfolds, the thin line between obsession and revenge become totally indistinct.In the beginning it appears that Ethan's honor drives him to seek revenge for the massacre of his kin, but as time passes his motives for finding his niece completely change when he finds out Debbie has become a squaw and has been tainted by the blood of the Commanches. Ethan is extremely racist, a characteristic that is brought about by his presumed understanding of the difference between Commanche and "white."In Ethan's mind, the Commanche are savage and uncivilized while the white race is undoubtedly superior in all aspects.This confusion concerning "whiteness" affects his behavior which becomes clearly evident as his actions seem more aligned with savageness than civilization as the movie progresses.
Many factors and events in Ethan's history helps to fuel his severe hatred towards the Commanches as it builds his understanding of the significant differences between the two races.Thefirst event that fuels his hatred for the Indians apparently occurs before the story even begins to unfold.It is shown to the viewers at the end of the pre-massacre scene.The scene ends with the shocking view of Chief Scar standing menacingly over a frightened Debbie crouched by a family grave, his shadow hovering over her.A quick glimpse of the tombstone tha…

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