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THE SEARCHERS - Yo, lzcutter, look here

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MissGoddess
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Postby MissGoddess » June 21st, 2007, 11:48 am

I was happy about that "jump". Satuday's the day I finally see it on the big screen at MoMA. Yee-haw!

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Postby Lzcutter » June 27th, 2007, 1:48 am

Miss G, Movieman (Chris) and I have been talking about
The Searchers over in the Western Forum at TCM City.

Thought it was time to bring the discussion back here to see what y'all think of our latest idea?

Are Ethan and Scar related? We know that Marty and Ethan are cousins. And Ethan, Marty and Scar all have blue eyes.

Also, when little Debbie goes to the family cemetery to hide, isn't one of the headstones there a marker for Ethan's mother?

Lastly, what did Ethan do between the time the War ended and he rode up the dusty trail to his brother's house?

I look forward to your thoughts!

I believe Miss G is going back for an encore screening of this film on the big screen on Saturday. There will be a question and answer session as well so I look forward to hearing about that as well!
Lynn in Lake Balboa

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Postby movieman1957 » June 27th, 2007, 8:10 am

Lynn and MissG:

I went to two sources I have about "The Searchers." One is a book called "The Westerns of John Ford" by J.A. Place. She gives no indication of a family relationship but goes so far as to make a connection of Scar being Ethan's alter ego. She even comtemplates the use of the name Scar as a representation of Ethan's psyche. I've never really thought of them being related but it sure seems they know each other. Ethan certainly has an incredible knowledge of their culture that he may have been part of it in some fashion.

(Oddly enough I caught a minute of "Two Rode Together" where Stewart is telling Shirley Jones what will have become of her little brother having lived with the Indians. It's more graphic than Ethan's description of Debbie but similar. Off the top of my head the same actor played the Indian that played Scar and looked exactly like the part, almost as if he were the same character. That was just a feeling though.)

In a film reveiw by Stephen Hunter of the Baltimore Sun (in 1993) he even thinks Ethan may have been a murderer in the time before he came home. He offers nothing to prove it except his deduction from early dialogue much as we have surmised to other crimes.
Chris

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Postby mrsl » June 27th, 2007, 10:53 am

Having seen The Searchers several times during the John Wayne tribute on the Western Channel, a few questions have been asked in this discussion, and I find some of them were clearly answered in the movie. e.g.

"Lastly, what did Ethan do between the time the War ended and he rode up the dusty trail to his brother's house? "

Apparently from his brothers' reaction to the money Ethan gives him: "This is brand new, like it was fresh minted", and Ethan replies "So?' That clearly, to me, says he did something very wrong. Either he actually stole a shipment of money from the U.S. mint, or from a bank which had just received a shipment. In any case, he had not been a 'good' man during those years.

The actor Henry Brandon, did play both Scar in Searchers, and also Chief Quanah Parker in Two Rode Together. As for Ethan's mother being killed in an Indian raid, perhaps instead of being killed, she was taken as a captive, thereby allowing the possibility of a blood relation between Scar and Ethan.

If these points have been made over on TCM, I apologize for repeating, but I rarely go over there anymore. When I do, I read only the Information Please topic, unless something really catches my eye. I find most of the members on TCM to be too egotistical, and smart-mouthed for my taste, except for the others who are simply too boring to read, they have no idea what they're talking about, because most of them think of classic movies as from the 70's and 80's. Also, that one person is still there posting quarrelsome comments about every other day.

Anne
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Postby movieman1957 » June 27th, 2007, 11:14 am

Anne:

Don't apologize. I bet Lynn's whole point in bringing it here was some of our group don't go there anymore and wanted to have more input. (She certainly needs more than my comments.)

It's an interesting topic so post all you want.

BTW, are you doing ok?
Chris

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Postby MissGoddess » June 27th, 2007, 11:37 am

I totally missed the reference to Ethan's mother having been taken captive---that does seem to lend some credibility to the idea he might be part-Indian. I hope I will get to ask about this at the screening on Friday. I'm going to try to get a seat closer to the front this time, so I don't miss a thing. :wink:

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Postby ken123 » June 27th, 2007, 12:26 pm

Ethan swore an an oath to the Confederate States of American and was likely a Bank Robber so that the South May Rise Again. I had never thought that Ethan and Scar were related, but that is a very interesting angle.

IMHO " Two Rode Together " is very underrated. 8)

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Postby MissGoddess » June 27th, 2007, 12:39 pm

What do all of you think of Vera Miles' character? I have read grumblings elsewhere that the girl's behavior is the one jarring note in the movie.

I believe her character fills the necessary role of giving Marty a solid reason to come back. And by introducing the semi-comic scenario of her deciding to marry "Festus" instead of waiting around forever for Marty to write her a decent letter, I think Ford (or the writer) was giving her character something to do besides playing the "patient Griselda".

Any other impressions?

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Postby mrsl » June 27th, 2007, 1:19 pm

I missed so much stuff during the week, but Westerns is my favorite topic.

Miss G: I don't know that there was a reference to Ethans' mothers' death, nor did I notice the headstone, but I believe when a person was captured, it was probably generally understood they were dead, or at least gone forever, so putting out a headstone would be a logical, as well as respectful course of action to take. Something in the discussion made me think of the other scenario (that of her being captured), which would easily lead to a whole load of thoughts and ideas about relations.

As for Vera Miles, I am a fan but not necessarily in this role. She proved to be a highly intelligent girl in many ways, so why did she not realize Marty was a dweeb when it came to women? That sounds lame, I know, but true. The fact that he wrote to her, not her family, should have given her heart, and his opening and closings were after-thoughts. His intentions to her were pretty evident when they came back that first time (the bath scene), and she was too smart to toss that possibility away for a life with Ken Curtis (ewww). No offense to Ken, just his character. Also her envy over Debbie was too over the top for me. The guy had no family - Debbie was it - his only reminder of happier times. His obsession was understandable especially when you realize part of his travels were to protect Debbie when Ethan found her.

Ken123: I adore Two Rode Together. It has bad guys gone good, good guys gone bad, attitudes, bonding and friendship, too late realizations, and so much more - so many bits and pieces to mull over. I think it's a movie that should be right up there with Shane, The Searchers, and Liberty Valence. Someday I'll pick it apart like we have the Searchers.

Anne
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]***********************************************************************

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Postby movieman1957 » June 27th, 2007, 2:49 pm

mrsl wrote:
As for Vera Miles, I am a fan but not necessarily in this role. She proved to be a highly intelligent girl in many ways, so why did she not realize Marty was a dweeb when it came to women? That sounds lame, I know, but true. The fact that he wrote to her, not her family, should have given her heart, and his opening and closings were after-thoughts. His intentions to her were pretty evident when they came back that first time (the bath scene), and she was too smart to toss that possibility away for a life with Ken Curtis (ewww). No offense to Ken, just his character. Also her envy over Debbie was too over the top for me. The guy had no family - Debbie was it - his only reminder of happier times. His obsession was understandable especially when you realize part of his travels were to protect Debbie when Ethan found her.

Anne


"Laurie's" envy was certainly that Debbie's search took Marty away from her. There was always an understanding between them, even if expressed differently, that they would marry. With Marty gone all the time she preferred, I think, to marry Charlie (Ken Curtis) than not be married at all. (I love Vera but like her more in "Valance.")

I'm not sure Marty thought of protecting Debbie from Ethan until Ethan actually pulled the gun. I think it surprised Marty.
Chris

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Postby Lzcutter » June 28th, 2007, 12:41 am

By asking if Scar and Ethan were related, I don't know that they are brothers but perhaps cousins in the way that Martin and Ethan are cousins perhaps? Ethan knows a great deal about the ways and customs of the Comanche. Did he learn them living on the frontier when he was a boy? He went off to the Civil War while still a young man so could he have absorped so much before leaving home for War?

As for what did Ethan do in the years between the war and his arrival at his brother's door? There's three years between the end of the War Between the States and his arrival in Texas.

There are indications in the film that maybe Ethan fought in a war in Mexico. He seems very familiar with the customs down in Mexico which would not come from growing up in on the fringes of Indian Country the way he and Aaron did.

With all the gifts he brings with him, he appears to have been a privateer of some sort during the Civil War and after.

In the original story, Laurie ends up with Charlie McCory and Martin and Debbie end up together. I think I like Ford's ending better.

Cannot wait for Miss G to enjoy this film again on the big screen and report back .
Lynn in Lake Balboa

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Postby knitwit45 » June 28th, 2007, 1:38 pm

Where can one access the original story?
All these insights have really deepened my love of this movie, and I can hardly wait to hear the report from Miss G!

Thanks
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The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
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Postby Lzcutter » June 29th, 2007, 2:13 am

The novel is by Alan Le May.

It's likely out of print but you might be able to find a copy through abebooks.com
Lynn in Lake Balboa

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Postby Sue Sue Applegate » June 29th, 2007, 11:58 pm

Besides the Le May novel, I also would like to recommend Sunshine on the Prairie, The Story of Cynthia Ann Parker, by Jack C. Ramsay, Jr. (1990, Eakin Press).

It has always been part of "Texas" lore that Cynthia Ann Parker's abduction from Fort Parker near Groesbeck, Texas, was part of the inspiration for Le May's book, The Searchers. I recall Francis "Ab" Abernathy, Texas folklorist and professor, mentioning something about this in the 1970's, but I had heard it rumored much before in 6th grade at Cynthia Ann Parker Elementary School in Houston.
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Postby knitwit45 » June 30th, 2007, 5:53 pm

Lzcutter wrote:The novel is by Alan Le May.

It's likely out of print but you might be able to find a copy through abebooks.com


Thanks Lynn, both for the author and the website. Just got a copy of the book for $5.00! and also found "Turnabout" by Thorne Smith, that Judith has been reviewing. I am one happy reader today!!

Thanks also to Sue2, I think your recommendation will be next on my shopping list.

Nancy
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The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
""Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it." ~ Soren Kierkegaard


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