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The Searchers (1956)

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“When I first saw The Searchers it was a terrific cowboy and Indian picture,” said Steven Spielberg. “But as I got older and saw The Searchers numerous times, I realized that it had much deeper meanings than that.”

I couldn’t agree more. For me, The Searchers was my “epiphany movie,” where the veil of “normal” movie-watching was lifted to reveal another way of “seeing.” I came to realize why director John Ford is so respected among filmmakers. Why in 2002, MovieMaker Magazine called him one of the Top 5 Most Influential Directors of All Time. Why Entertainment Weekly voted him the #3 greatest of all time. And why Orson Welles always maintained that his Top 3 favorite directors were “John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford.”

What better way for average folks to have their own film theory awakening than a deceptively simple John Wayne western, the type of “Cowboy and Indian” flick your grandfather watched many a Saturday, not knowing that an entirely different language — the language of cinema — was masterfully at work? Continue reading

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