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I viewed The Searchers for this week, directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne. I found this movie to be entertaining and visually soothing. Personally, I am a fan of old westerns such as High Noon or The Good The Bad and The Ugly. The Searchers is a classical Hollywood film that is centered around drama and the search for a woman an Indian tribe has taken.

I was a fan of the film, but find that old westerns such as The Searchers have racism towards Native Americans. That being said times were much different in 1956 when this film had released, so as the a viewer I try and put that negativity in a backseat, and view the aesthetics in the film like lighting, the story, the way it is filmed, etc. I feel this is a common thing among classic films. The racism is clear but it is used in a comedic way that I feel is toxic. I am glad that the times have changed and we see less of this racism in films. However, this old westerns such as The Searchers are great films and I recommend to anyone to watch.

The things I enjoyed about the film are the look and filming style. The editing was continuity editing and scenes dragged out, rather than having fast paced cuts like we see in flicks today. Also John Wayne is considered to be one of the greatest actors of all time, so seeing him in action is enjoyable.

This film contains a lot of frames within a frame, which I personally enjoy seeing. I feel it helps the eye focus on different objects. The first scene is of a door opening and the camera looking outside from inside and the final scene is the same thing only the door closing. This is a semiotic for a beginning and end point. Also John Ford uses symmetry, the shot where John Wayne and his crew are riding their horses down below the base of the mountain as the Indians are riding above watching them suspiciously. I feel like these are the qualities that make the film highly touted.

All in all I enjoyed The Searchers and it brings me back to my childhood, watching westerns with my Grandpa. The film contains beautiful landscape shots, great acting, and southern accents.

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  1. I use to love watching old westerns. I remember Sergio Leone’s dollar trilogy being the most memorable, especially The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I have never seen the Searches but I have heard many great things about it. I think it is even listed as the best or one of the best westerns ever made. When I think of westerns, I think of the desert, horses, and shoot outs.

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