The Searchers (1956)

18 Jan

The Searchers should have been called “Stereotypes on Parade.”  John Wayne is a lone gun who can’t accept that the Civil War is over and the South didn’t win.  He pays a visit to his brother (and his brother’s family) who are homesteading in Texas, and a Comanche war party burns the family house down, kills most of the family, and kidnaps the youngest daughter, Debbie.

John Wayne and his sidekick, Marty, then spend the next five years trekking all over the west, hunting down the Comanche, in hopes of rescuing Debbie.

The search went on forever.  John Wayne is John Wayne.  The film is dripping with stereotypes and mockery of Native Americans.  The homesteaders are witless and illiterate.  It was all just….boring.

I love a number of “modern” westerns– Dead Man, There Will be Blood, No Country for Old Men, and True Grit all number amongst my most absolutely favorite films.  I just can’t get into the “classic” westerns.  They’re so often boring and predictable, and the acting is painful.

To be honest, I think this is the first John Wayne film I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I missed out on anything…there isn’t much more besides what you see in all the bad John Wayne impressions.

The westerns I still have left on the AFI Top 100 list are: High Noon, Unforgiven, and The Wild Bunch, and Treasure of the Sierra Madre (is that one technically a Western? I’m not sure…) WHY are there so many Westerns on this darn list? And why aren’t they the GOOD ones?

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3 Responses to “The Searchers (1956)”

  1. Sandy January 18, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    I haven’t seen this movie and I won’t see it, but it’s my understanding that it is the quintessential Western and the reason that it seems boring is because it’s been copied so many times.

    I listened to a book on CD about a guy who watched this movie in college and became obsessed with defending it, but I didn’t add it to Goodreads and I can’t find out who it was. It might be on Wikipedia but I can’t check today.

    The only John Wayne movie I’ve seen is The Quiet Man, which is, like, his only non-Western. I like me some Maureen O’Hara.

    • Sandy January 18, 2012 at 9:31 am #

      Success! I found it – it’s The Disappointment Artist.

      • beezuskiddo January 18, 2012 at 9:42 am #

        I can understand that reasoning, but I don’t think that was the reason why I was bored with it. I don’t usually watch Westerns, so I didn’t feel like I’d seen the movie a million times before, I just felt like it was dragging on and on and on.
        Although now that I think about it, each of the “modern” Westerns I referred to above do involve a very long journey and/or looking for something. So it seems like you’re completely right and I just didn’t realize it.

        That book looks kind of bizarre…the amazon review had too many words and I stopped reading…

        On another note, somehow there’s a Youtube advertisement on my blog? WHAT? I have to figure that nonsense out. WordPress randomly sticking advertisements on my page is NOT cool.

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