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The Searchers

by

Roger Davidson

The Searchers
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Of all John Ford's great films, this is his pen-ultimate great western. John Wayne (Ford's frequent star) plays a Civil War vet, who goes on a long search for his niece (Natalie Wood), who has been kidnapped by Indians. The search spans many years, with Wayne gathering a gallant group of allies. Among them, a part-Cherokee cowboy (Jeffrey Hunter), a cynical minister-Texas ranger (Ward Bond) and a senile old Indian scout (Hank Worden). Their adventures take them into dangerous areas of the wilderness, and they have to use every last wit they've got to survive, as well as rescue Wood.

From the magnificent opening shot, this is a triumph of skills from master film director Ford, and towering star Wayne. An excellent supporting cast (Bond, Hunter, Wood) helps a great deal. The cinematography is brilliant, as is the delightful screenplay by Frank Nugent. One of the last great Hollywood westerns, this is a movie that is perfect for classic film buffs.

My Rating = Four Stars


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