How about a spot of movie discussion? I’ve been meaning to see The Searchers again for years, having not seen it since childhood (several centuries ago, as we all know). I remember finding it quite haunting as a child. I’ve seen bits of it many times since then, of course, especially the famous closing scene, which I think fully deserves its famosity, or what people call its “iconic” status. Ok they can call it that, because it is sort of literally iconic. It’s visual.
But the opening scene is pretty god damn iconic too – and of course it’s a bookend to the closing scene. Ethan rides in out of the vast empty landscape, and the members of the family collect on the porch. It’s stunningly beautiful.
I can’t find the whole thing on YouTube; no doubt copyright prevents. That’s too bad because this skips the ballet shot from the side of the porch where each character enters and takes up a particular spot, as if on a stage or…for a painting. Still, the first 52 seconds are nothing to sneeze at. The door that closes on Ethan at the end opens at the beginning.
Having said all that – I dislike the sudden veers into comedy, and I dislike much of the comedy itself, especially (of course – so predictable) the hahaha Indians stuff. The worst bit is when the Indian woman who was sold to Martin (without his realizing it) is treated as a big joke, culminating in the scene where he lies down for sleep and then she lies down beside him and he turns over in outrage and violently kicks her away, and she rolls out of the frame. Then Ethan roars with laughter. Ew. Just not funny, dude.
It is about Ethan’s racism, but it’s also racist itself. That’s pretty obvious.
I dislike the time-wasting stuff with Charlie’s courtship of Laurie, and I hate the dopy fight scene between Charlie and Martin. Argh. Suddenly it’s a Three Stooges movie. It doesn’t go with the rest. Knock it off, boys, get back to the damn search.
I knew how it ended but I’d forgotten just about all of what led up to how it ended. I’d forgotten what happened to Lucy. That’s quite a powerful scene – Ethan suddenly roaring, “You want me to draw a picture? You want me to spell it out for you? Don’t ask me! Never ask me as long as you live!” Oh. She was gangraped, and maybe mutilated. Got it.
Oh wait, here is a version with the opening.