The Searchers

Today I talk about The Searchers which in terms of classical westerns really outshines many others of the genre. John Ford’s most compelling Western avoids  association with the genre’s established precepts. Its one of the best movies ever made for the screen as my review today looks upon this classic movie as i define this classic gem.

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In terms of classical storytelling The Searchers John Ford’s most compelling Western avoids many of the genre’s older traits. The film stars John Wayne, an actor eternally linked to Westerns, perhaps giving his best performance in any Ford film as he plays a very racist man that hates Indians with a passion in many ways you shouldn’t connect to this hero yet he is an interesting hero that is deeply flawed with so many diffrent sides to this man.

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By 1955 when production began on when production began, The Searchers would be Ford’s first Western in five years a personal risk after a number of commercial failures and artistic missteps caused him to contemplate retirement as he filmed what would be one of the finest westerns ever made. The Searchers comes naturally, as beyond its unequivocal beauty and dramatic intensity, there exists what appear to be incompatible narrative developments, symbolism, and thematic undercurrents signifying the end product that is something so profound upon the screen with amazing shots and an interesting character and story that unfolds upon the screen. When Edwards (John Wayne) returns home to Texas after the Civil War.

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When members of his brother’s family are killed or abducted by Comanches, he vows to track down his surviving relatives and bring them home. Eventually, Edwards gets word that his niece Debbie (Natalie Wood) is alive, and, along with her adopted brother, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), he embarks on a dangerous mission to find her, journeying deep into Comanche territory.(plot form goggle) 

The Searchers sets up grim set of conditions, ranging from the landscape to individual character histories. The first iconic shot (mirrored by the film’s last iconic shot) of Martha opening the front door seems to frame the outer terrain like a photograph that shows us the vast landscape upon the screen. I would say many do hate this movie because its hatred towards Indians as the villain is common in many westerns.

A clue to Ethan’s hatred for Comanche Indians appears early in the film, when the younger Debbie goes to her hiding place before Scar first attacks in the film. He kneels down in the graveyard by a headstone, which, appearing for only a few frames, reads: “Here lies Mary Jane Edwards killed by Comanche’s May 12, 1852 A good wife and mother in her 41st year.” Sixteen years earlier, was Ethan’s own mother massacred by Comanche’s? He is a deeply flawed man on a quest to save a woman for years. It’s the quest of this man and his drive to save his family that really drives this hero to many points of rage that you see his hate come upon us and the dark humor used is often to tame down the ways of this dark hero characterizes the film’s fundamental struggle whether or not Ethan and Martin actually find Debbie is less the fear than what Ethan will do when he finds her.

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In the film’s most memorable scene, one of the greatest single moments of film, Ethan emerges from Scar’s tent on his horse and spots Debbie, who, dressed in full Comanche attire, runs in terror. Ethan chases her down a hill and corners her; Martin trailing behind yelling “No!” for Ethan not to do what he has intended to do from the outset. Ethan gets off his horse and picks Debbie up, raises her in the air like a child, the fear radiating from her. He lowers her into his arms, and says, “Let’s go home, Debbie. Ethan also is genuinely scary. His obsessiveness, his absolute hatred of Comanche’s and all Native Americans and his loneliness set him apart from any other characters Wayne played as its one of his finest with many layers to him making you wonder about him throughout the film.

John Ford was particularly proud of The Searchers, as was Wayne, who named his son Ethan after his character. The film’s initial critical reception, however, lacked passion, as did its box office receipts, and Ford was devastated by its apparent dismissal reputation at the time of its release.  The picture’s reputation would grow over time, earning recognition on top film lists as it is one of the finest movies made form this genre with marvelous acting by everyone in its cast and marvelous direction and the cinematography of The Searchers is one of films finest gems ever made upon the screen. It contains painterly images of majestic scenery, some of the most remarkable ever captured. Historians and film scholars attest to its supremacy and recognize its influence on the medium and the artists working therein. And yet, the motion picture Ford considered his own masterpiece confronts prior standards, meets issues of revenge and discrimination within a ponderous text, and revises the director’s Western model forevermore as its one of the finest movies ever crafted upon the screen. John Ford amends The Searchers from a traditional Hollywood Western into an uncommon human tragedy that makes this movie one of the finest classics you will ever see ever upon the screen that you should see today.

The Ruth rating:five bette's

the sea wolf

the sea wolf

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Today I review the Michael Curtiz/Robert Rossen adaptation of Jack London’s famous novel the sea wolf which I frankly just watched recently as I brought it recently which is the Warner brothers archive Blu-ray release of this movie which is a remastered version with lost scenes we have not seen as this wonderful movie really speaks about Nazi fascism in a way that stands out. I would also love to wish Ida Lupino a happy 100 years old.

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So now to review this classic movie

the sea wolf review

The sea wolf  takes one  of the most famous jack London novels of same name in a way that really shines upon your viewing of it on the screen. The  sea wolf is loosely based upon the book.  Edward G. Robinson does one of his finest hours  of acting as the cruel captain of the ghost a ship which no one wants to sail upon. Edward G. Robinson puts his own brand of cruelty on the role of a freighter captain who tyrannizes his crew and some unexpected passengers in such a marvelous acting performance.

Ida Lupino and John Garfield and Alexander Knox all  play in a crew of a ship that is basically a ship that feels like its form hell in some regards as they all give out such marvelous acting and performances that all stand out as you watch them on screen.

This Michael Curtiz/Robert Rossen adaptation of Jack London well known novel  was mostly shot on one location as it has lots of atmospheric shots, tons of memorable conflicting personalities(Edward G. Robinson, Alexander Knox, John Garfield, Barry Fitzgerald, Gene Lockhart, an underserved Ida Lupino) It really shines with this new Blu-ray release.  It is Rousing old-school sea adventure yarn functioning as an allegory for the burgeoning Nazi dictatorship in Europe in 1941. It is a truly marvelous classic you should see today.

The Ruth rating:five bette's

Today i reviewed the sea wolf which is a rousing old school yarn that i feel has such marvelous acting that makes it such a marvelous movie that may be one of the finest movies i ever seen as this true classic is something i enjoyed to talk about today as always until next time for another movie review.

Thelma and Louise

Thelma and Louise review

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Thelma and Louise review

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Thelma and Louise is a rarity. It is a buddy movie about two women, and it is one of the best road movies to ever grace the screen. Louise (Susan Sarandon) and Thelma (Gina Davis) are two friends who plan a road trip into the mountains for the weekend yet their trip takes many twists with an ending that remains forever timeless. You get one of the best buddy comedies ever made for the screen. Thelma and Louise’ are exceptionally well written characters for the big screen by Callie Khouri whom wrote an amazing screenplay that really brought to life such amazing characters upon the screen. The amazing duo of Susan Sarandon and Gina Davis give us such amazing acting together upon the screen.

The bond that Davis and Sarandon share on screen is one of best ever by any duo on the screen. Thelma and Louise are great friends, but completely different characters in their own right that both as Davis plays a ditsy sort of character, who is naive but Sarandon is tougher and more able try figure new ways out of everything. The shameful part they did not win an Oscar for their roles but of course they were up against a great performer in another 1991 movie, that being Jodie Foster in ‘Silence of the Lambs’. If foster was not there, I am certain that one of these two would have walked away with an academy award. It is shameful yet this movie is under-valued by many today. This movie has such amazing acting by everyone in its cast.

‘Thelma and Louise’ is well directed by Oscar winning director, Ridley Scott. I feel that he brought out the road trip of the girls. He crafted out a wonderful gem that seems so unlike anything else he ever did. It works so well because of the wonderful idea it shows us about the idea we want to be free. Its wonderful locations of the southwest can bring you a sense of many past classic movies in some sense as the idea of a road trip in these wonderful locations that are so lovely on the screen.

The story of sympathetic criminals running free across the country as fate closes in can be seen in such classics as High Sierra (1941), Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Really, the only major difference here is that the criminals are both women yet this movie is so well crafted you forget that this is not new upon the screen. Thelma & Louise with its wide open spaces and atmospheric music is visually very strong and intelligently paced with marvelous acting by its cast and a wonderful script and direction make this movie a classic you should see today.

The Ruth Rating: