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THE SEARCHERS - Yo, lzcutter, look here
Posted: May 12th, 2007, 9:45 am
I just checked over on TCM to see if The Searchers was going to be on during the tribute to John Wayne. It's not. So for those of you who have never seen it, or haven't seen it in a long time, it will be on Encore's Western channel several times starting on the 26th of May. I don't know if it will be in letterbox or Pan and Scan, but whatever, it's worth seeing in any style. So if you know someone who has Encore's Western Channel, you might want to make arrangements for them to video it for you. They are advertising 100 years, 100 hours, and from the looks of the schedule, it will be literally 100 hours. TCM is running their tribute one week earlier, so you better get your stock ready if there are some of his movies you want to copy.
A movie TCM is running is Trouble Along the Way. If you want to see JW in a part totally different from anything else he has done, this is it. He is a football coach at a small Catholic college, which is, as usual out of money. He has his young daughter, a tomboyish Sherry Jackson (from the Danny Thomas Show) and Donna Reed as a social worker (and love interest), who is worried about the little girl due to JW's ex-wife making noises about him. Wayne plays a devoted and loving father - nowhere near the 'father personna' presented by him in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, or Red River. This is one I feel easy in recommending, not for any special acting or directing, but just because it's a nice little heart-warming vehicle for JW fans. Not that it doesn't have a couple of lessons to teach about ethics and family, but that's for a later discussion.
Posted: May 13th, 2007, 12:03 am
I enjoyed Trouble Along The Way, and what you said is so true concerning a role that the Duke played that is so out of the ordinary.
Donna Reed and Sherry Jackson are good. I'm glad someone else appreciates it, too!
Posted: May 14th, 2007, 7:50 am
I saw "Trouble Along The Way" years and years ago but it's one I remember because it was so unusual for Wayne, especially at this point in his career. (BTW, The Westerns channel usually show "The Searchers" in pan/scan, but it's worth seeing in any format.)
Rented "Baby Face" this weekend and was surprised to find John Wayne in a small part in this Barabar Stanwyck pre-code.
Re: THE SEARCHERS
Posted: May 14th, 2007, 10:30 am
mrsl wrote:I just checked over on TCM to see if The Searchers was going to be on during the tribute to John Wayne. It's not. So for those of you who have never seen it, or haven't seen it in a long time, it will be on Encore's Western channel several times starting on the 26th of May. I don't know if it will be in letterbox or Pan and Scan, but whatever, it's worth seeing in any style.
I actually disagree with this. It's well worth the trouble to see the letterboxed version. In fact, I can't think of a John Ford movie that doesn't demand to be seen in the original aspect ratio. The land is such an important part of his work. If you haven't seen it before and the Encore is in pan and scan (aren't most of their movies pan and scan?), then buy it or rent it or borrow it in letterbox.
Posted: May 14th, 2007, 11:11 am
Jon wrote: "It's well worth the trouble to see the letterboxed version."
Right, right, right, right, right!! While Anne's enthusiasm for everyone to watch one of the greatest films ever made is on the money, please do yourselves the favor of watching it in its proper aspect ratio. John Ford had a reason for doing everything he did, and THE SEARCHERS exemplifies that to the Nth degree! And it is easily available, either in a relatively low-priced DVD or through NetFlix (or wherever you rent your movies).
Trouble Along the Way (1953)--oops, a non-Western snuck in!
Posted: May 14th, 2007, 2:35 pm
A movie TCM is running is Trouble Along the Way[/color]. If you want to see JW in a part totally different from anything else he has done, this is it. He is a football coach at a small Catholic college, which is, as usual out of money. He has his young daughter, a tomboyish Sherry Jackson (from the Danny Thomas Show) and Donna Reed as a social worker (and love interest), who is worried about the little girl due to JW's ex-wife making noises about him. Wayne plays a devoted and loving father - nowhere near the 'father personna' presented by him in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, or Red River. This is one I feel easy in recommending, not for any special acting or directing, but just because it's a nice little heart-warming vehicle for JW fans. Not that it doesn't have a couple of lessons to teach about ethics and family, but that's for a later discussion.
Au contraire, Anne! I do think that Trouble Along the Way ranks up there with Wayne's other Pops. Thank you for pointing out that TCM has finally latched onto one of my sentimental favorites in the Duke's canon. I love Trouble Along the Way (1953) precisely because it shows another side to John Wayne's gallery of father figures. In this one he doesn't act as though he has all the answers or even some of the answers, but does his gruffly tender best to raise his daughter in an admittedly hardscrabble existence. It seems similar in tone to our beloved The Rifleman, though this time you have a father and daughter. You have a lone parent who's made some mistakes, had some tough luck and who's raising an only child. Add to this the skein of the story that follows how the game little girl and her Dad are struggling against the odds to survive financially and psychologically while keeping each other alive emotionally and putting together a (semi-pro) football team at a down-on-its-luck Catholic college. Yeah, it has everything but the wolves snappin' at their behinds. Good, solid entertainment, like ya said, Anne.
Of course, it also doesn't hurt that the early fifties were Mr. Wayne's most appealing period, physically, uh, speaking as one of the girls, mind you.
Posted: May 14th, 2007, 4:35 pm
Okay Jon and Dewey:
Geez I feel like I knocked the movie or something.
Actually, not all the movies on the Western Channel are P&S, it seems like if it's out on DVD and they have it, it is shown in letterbox. e.g. Unforgiven
was in Lbox and so was Zorro
last night, or I should say this morning. For the life of me I can't recall which movie I saw last week which was from the mid-50's and it was in Lbox, and I made a mental note to myself to remember its' name, but of course, I have now forgotten, but it was a fairly well known movie, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will show The Searchers
However, although I agree, visually, it is best seen in Lbox, for those who have never seen it and want to know what the raving is all about, it's worth viewing. Let's face it guys, I realize most of us love The Searchers,
but all of you appreciate Citizen Kane
which I cannot stand, but have watched several times to try to understand your admiration of it, yet I still see an egotistical idiot who both made and starred in the movie about an egotistical idiot who ran a newspaper and became rich. Therefore, who knows, some who have not seen it may not want to run out and purchase, even for a nominal amount, sight unseen, a movie they might end up not caring for.
Sorry, but when you talk about buying DVD's, my practical side comes roaring to the surface. Remember, a lot of us don't have the funds to run off buying DVD's just because somebody recommended it.
Posted: May 15th, 2007, 2:56 pm
I am so thrilled that Trouble Along the Way is being shown! I finally will get to see this much talked-about movie of JW's. I'm going to check the whole JW TCM Schedule and make sure I don't miss a thing.
Posted: May 29th, 2007, 7:30 pm
With your marvelous insight (no joke!), and maybe moira can help here, I wonder about something at the end of The Searchers.
At the end, they find little Debbie. JW hoists her up like he did when she was a little girl and apparently carries her all the way back to the Jorgensens, who are no relation but dear friends.
Through half of the movie he is constantly letting Martie know that they are not related, and when Ethan thinks he may die from the arrow wound, he leaves a will stating Martie as beneficiary, as Ethan has no living relatives. but Debbie is his niece of which Martie reminds him. Martha was Ethans' love of his life yet he stepped aside so his brother could give her a better family life. Family is important to Ethan all through the movie and so, at the end, he accepts Debbie back into his personal fold. (Got me so far?)
Why does he leave her with comparative strangers (the Jorgensens) and walk away, when she is his blood niece. Why wouldn't he stay and bring her back to her parents ranch, and try to reverse the wrong he did her mother by reversing the regret he felt in letting her go? He's a hard man who lived a hard life, but when he accepts her, he shows us his hidden softness. (He also showed it, though we didn't see it, when he buried Lucy and returned, and refused to talk about it.)
Don't get me wrong, the ending was superb, especially his tribute to Harry Carey, but one quick previous scene like this: As they go inside the house, Debbie looks back at Uncle Ethan, as Mrs. Jorgensen says, "He'll be back", leaving us with the impression that he will take care of her, then go into the final solitary end. The point is, he isn't alone anymore, he still has that important family connection.
I guess watching Chisum is what really made me think of this. As Chisum he built this beautiful ranch and has nobody until his niece comes to live with him - suddenly he has someone. Cute line: She says "Thank You for asking me to come here", and he replies, "I didn't". We learned earlier that she had written and said she was coming out to live, with no previous communication, after her parents had died and she was left with an older maiden aunt.
So, what do you think of my scenario?
Posted: May 30th, 2007, 1:44 am
Why does he leave her with comparative strangers (the Jorgensens) and walk away,>>
I don't know if I can do this answer justice, but I will try.
Ethan had endured the Civil War which likely made him realize (as wars often do with all men) that the killing is harder and the living with the killing is much harder than they (as young men) ever thought it would be.
He returns to the West, to his brother's ranch and the woman they both love. Why? Perhaps to repair his broken spirit, revel in the one thing that matters most (in light of the horror and blood shed that he has seen and particpated in), family.
But it is a short-lived reville, as the family is attacked and his lost love killed and her daughters kidnapped.
This revives in him the instinct that he honed during the war, kill or be killed as he and Marty set out to find Debbie. Along the way, he is constantly reminded by the brutality of war. (The finding of the older sister and wrapping her in his Confederate coat and telling Harry Carey, Jr to never ask him about it again).
There is the hinted at clues that Ethan himself may be part Indian and given how he feels about Indians (and how talks to Marty) it is a strong possiblity and hard for him to reconcile.
There are some who believe that Ethan's mother was killed in an Indian raid.
Ethan travels inward to a very dark place within himself and becomes capable of more brutality than he ever thought himself capable of.
Perhaps he imagines that Debbie is the child that he and Martha might have had, but events and life worked out differently.
Debbie becomes, in Martha's death, the one thing that he clings to as a manifestion of his love for Martha.
It also makes him crazy and makes him do much more violent acts. He is beyond reason. As the years go by, he grows to hate Debbie and wish her dead becaus he knows as she grows older the role that she must play as a squaw.
But, in that final moment of truth, she is not the woman of an Indian brave but the child that he loved and thought of as his own.
His humanity breaks through the insantiy and cruelty that became his life in the search for her and he sees her as Martha's daughter and the possiblity of his, had fate been different.
He returns her to the Jorgensens because he knows the darkness that encompasses his soul. He has become that which he hates. He knows that his bitterness towards the Indians, towards his own brother and towards himself for deserting Martha years ago to go to war will always eat at him and make it impossible for him to give her the family life that she needs to nourish and grow beyond trauma.
So, he stays outside the door, unable to enter the household with Debbie, the Jorgensens and Martin, knowing that she will have a better life with them than with him.
He will always be there watching over her but he can not be her primary care giver because he is too broken spiritually to be able to do that.
Posted: May 30th, 2007, 8:18 am
Thanks Lynn. Your insights make the movie even more powerful for me. I just watched this over the weekend, and as I was reading your post, it was like watching it right now. Got a little teary-eyed, too! I think this movie and "The Quiet Man" are JW's two best.
Posted: May 30th, 2007, 8:27 am
There must be a book in your future. Between this "answer" and the insight you provided on Liberty Valance gives us a depth of understanding that would be hard to find anywhere. Thanks for sharing.
Posted: June 1st, 2007, 9:09 am
I'll just add my own appreciation for Lynn's remarks. I have only been fortunate to see The Searchers once from start to finish---I find it, like GWTW or Doctor Zhivago, a movie I like to watch sparingly because it's so powerful and contains so much to absorb. However, I have always been a bit confused about the relationships and your post, Lynn, has made everything much clearer.
I agree that "Debbie" could have no happiness living with Ethan alone, but it's really regrettable he couldn't rejoin the family of Jorgensens as well, instead of banishing himself to loneliness. This particularly resonates today because most people seem to be broken away from their families and end up terribly alone in the end. Without Ethan's abilities to look after himself, too.
Posted: June 1st, 2007, 10:14 am
Thanks, Miss Goddess:
That's basically what I meant. It's too bad he couldn't find a place for both of them to heal.
Posted: June 21st, 2007, 11:42 am
On AFI's 10th anniversary list "The Searchers" showed up at number 12. Up from 96 in 1998. I think that was the biggest mover on the list.