"The Searchers": Essays and Reflections on John Ford's Classic Western (Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series)
By: Peter R. Lehman (editor), Arthur M. Eckstein (editor)Paperback
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In many ways a traditional western, "The Searchers" (1956) is considered by critics to be one of the greatest Hollywood films, made by the most influential of western directors. But John Ford's classic work, in its complexity and ambiguity, was a product of post-World War II American culture and sparked a deconstruction of the western film myth by looking unblinkingly at white racism and violence and suggesting its social and psychological origins. The film tells the story of the kidnapping of the niece of Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) by Comanche Indians and Edward's long search to find her - ultimately not to rescue her, since he finds her racially and sexually violated. This text brings historians and film scholars together to cover the major critical issues of the film as seen through a contemporary prism. It also contains a sustained reaction to the film by Native Americans.
The essays explore a range of topics: from John Wayne's grim character of Ethan Edwards, to the actual history of Indian captivity on the southern Plains, as well as the role of the film's music, setting and mythic structure - all of which should help the reader to understand what makes "The Searchers" such an enduring work.
Arthur M. Eckstein is professor of History at University of Maryland. Peter Lehman is Director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program at Arizona State University. He is author of Roy Orbison: The Invention of an Alternative Rock Masculinity and editor of Masculinity: Bodies, Movies, Culture.
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- ID: 9780814330562
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