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The Searchers [HD DVD]

John Wayne , Jeffrey Hunter , John Ford    NR (Not Rated)   HD DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 31.99
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A favorite film of some of the world's greatest filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, John Ford's The Searchers has earned its place in the legacy of great American films for a variety of reasons. Perhaps most notably, it's the definitive role for John Wayne as an icon of the classic Western--the hero (or antihero) who must stand alone according to the unwritten code of the West. The story takes place in Texas in 1868; Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a Confederate veteran who visits his brother and sister-in-law at their ranch and is horrified when they are killed by marauding Comanches. Ethan's search for a surviving niece (played by young Natalie Wood) becomes an all-consuming obsession. With the help of a family friend (Jeffrey Hunter) who is himself part Cherokee, Ethan hits the trail on a five-year quest for revenge. At the peak of his masterful talent, director Ford crafts this classic tale as an embittered examination of racism and blind hatred, provoking Wayne to give one of the best performances of his career. As with many of Ford's classic Westerns, The Searchers must contend with revisionism in its stereotypical treatment of "savage" Native Americans, and the film's visual beauty (the final shot is one of the great images in all of Western culture) is compromised by some uneven performances and stilted dialogue. Still, this is undeniably one of the greatest Westerns ever made. --Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Existential Cowboy Jan. 10 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this with my friends when I was a kid - we went around quoting Old Mose, whom we all loved - "Thank you for those kind words." - it did not matter he was somewhat crazed; that made him all the more sympathetic and loveable. I don't know how much we liked the movie otherwise because it is not totally action-packed. Having seen it now, as an adult, I see that John Ford (and, perhaps John Wayne) had other concerns: racism, sexism, political intransigence, the concept of family, and the loner. This movie, set in Texas but obviously filmed (beautifully) in Monument Valley, is more about character. And the possibility of change. And, perhaps, the impossibility of change; or, the shattering of growth by an overwhelming sense of loss (Wayne's character: the war, and the woman). Ford is a master director - I recommend watching the Special Feature in which the movie is explained, showing all the incredible framing of shots, the backlighting, the pacing of shots.... Aw, just watch it and forget any prejudices you have against John Wayne. It is a beauty.The Searchers
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Imitation widescreen presentation! How sad!! Jan. 27 2003
By A Customer
A fantastic movie and a true classic - and certainly one that really shines when presented in its true widescreen aspect ratio. That said, SHAME on Warner Brothers for butchering this issue with a "imitation" widescreen format (hence my 1-star rating). The packaging claims both Standard format and "matted" widescreen are on the dvd - the latter (at least for WB) means that they take the (already width-cropped) standard screen version and simply [take] huge strips off of the top and bottom of the picture to make the shape approximately 1:85:1 (so an HDTV format screen is filled, no doubt). The result is that when watching this "widescreen" version, one is seeing far less picture than even in the Standard format! I have verified this by comparing the two dvd sides (one standard, the other "widescreen") to one another and to a true widescreen tape that I have. Those reviewers that have been raving about this widescreen presentation, have a look at the standard format side of the disk to see more of the movie ;-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Searchers!! June 14 2004
Ethan Edwards, (John Wayne), finds his way home after the civil war to his brothers homestead. Some cattle are rustled and he and a few men track them only to discover it's a Comanche trick to lure them away while they kill out the folks left behind which is Ethan's brother, wife, and kids. They arrive back too late, all are dead except Ethan's niece who was taken captive. Ethan sets out to find his niece accompanied by Martin Pauley, (Jeffrey Hunter), who Ethan found as a baby years earlier after another Indian raid. Ethan loved his brother's wife which is clear in the book by Lemay but very lightly alluded to in the film. This helps to explain his rage because everything he cared for in the world is gone. He will pursue the Comanche that have his niece until hell freezes over. Along the way he finds that he is still a human being. This film is widely considered the greatest western of all time and a favorite film of Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg if that means anything to you, I thought I would toss it in anyway.
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3.0 out of 5 stars STILL SEARCHING FOR AN ADEQUATE TRANSFER June 10 2004
By Nix Pix
John Ford was a master craftsman of the American cinema. Though he dabbled in melodrama and action during his directorial career, his everlasting contribution to the movies remains in those galvanic distillations of the old west put forth by an unparalleled series of legendary films. "The Searchers" ranks among his most finely wrought and meticulously hand crafted projects. Indeed it seems to be the film in which the culmination of Ford's own commitment to the power, beauty and frailty of the western frontier tragically come together in a revisionist perspective that exposes both its grandeur and its flaws. The film stars the iconic John Wayne as Ethan Edwards - a strangely majestic antihero who vows bloody revenge after his cousin and family are slaughtered by marauding Comanches. But Ethan's search for his surviving niece (Natalie Wood) becomes a sinister and all-consuming obsession when he learns that she - having been abducted while still a child - has now adopted the ways of her captors and, at least in Ethan's mind, has become one of them. The film tackles racism in the form of Ethan's distrust of one time family friend (Jeffrey Hunter) who is part Cherokee and the sweep and spectacle of Death Valley has never been quite so poignantly captured on film.
THE TRANSFER: While Warner Home Video has made "The Searchers" available in anamorphic widescreen in a print that is light years ahead of anything the film has looked like before for the home film enthusiast, compared to more current DVD releases, the visual splendor of the transfer falls short of expectations. Though colors are rich there's something of a muddiness and lack of balance to them in many of the indoor scenes.
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Even if you've never seen John Ford's THE SEARCHERS, you will have, undoubtedly, seen a film that owes it's 'style' to the film. DANCES WITH WOLVES, THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES, UNFORGIVEN, JEREMIAH JOHNSON, and OPEN RANGE are just a few westerns that have 'borrowed' from it, but THE SEARCHERS' impact transcends the genre, itself; STAR WARS, THE ENGLISH PATIENT, THE LAST SAMURAI, even THE LORD OF THE RINGS have elements that can be traced back to Ford's 1956 'intimate' epic. When you add the fact that THE SEARCHERS also contains John Wayne's greatest performance to the film's merits, it becomes easy to see why it is on the short list of the greatest motion pictures ever made.
The plot is deceptively simple; after a Comanche raiding party massacres a family, taking the youngest daughter prisoner, her uncle, Ethan Edwards (Wayne), and adopted brother, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), begin a long quest to try and rescue her. Over the course of years, a rich tapestry of characters and events unfold, as the nature of the pair's motives are revealed, and bigoted, bitter Edwards emerges as a twisted man bent on killing the 'tainted' white girl. Only Pawley's love of his 'sister' and determination to protect her stands in his way, making the film's climax, and Wayne's portrayal of Edwards, an unforgettable experience.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Its the Duke
Fantastic colors and story
Published 2 months ago by Walter D. Tanner
5.0 out of 5 stars Another John Wayne Western hit movie
In this western the DUKE plays a darker role, more out for vengeance than justice. Still, we are entertained as the Duke searches for a young relative taken by Indians. Read more
Published 8 months ago by John R. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars The Searchers
Any good one for the Duke, very enjoyable movie and I am very happy to add it to my Duke collection. A must buy for collectors.
Published 13 months ago by Watcher
5.0 out of 5 stars The Searchers
Believe this is my favorite film and to have it on DVD Blu-rae excellent, John Wayne,s very best. Should have won Acadeny Award
Published 21 months ago by wmgaryfrizzell
3.0 out of 5 stars John Wayne western
Touted as one of the most popular, yet understated western movies starring John Wayne. I enjoyed the sweeping panoramas and the epic feel; however, John Wayne is not academy... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Paul Desjardins
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising back up feature
It's easy to see why The Searchers is so high on so many "best of" lists. The appreciation special feature helps put the film in its cultural context. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2012 by PD Johnston
5.0 out of 5 stars great
Blu came in packaging, was quick. no scratches & excellent condition and it came on time no problems with the seller, would buy from him again
Published on Aug. 11 2011 by Johnny
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray audio problem
What can I possibly say that has not already been said. Great cast, great cinematography, great movie. My comment really concerns the blu-ray edition. Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2009 by Richard Charron
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent film
I brought this as a gift for my mom. She is a big Western John Wayne fan. We had own the Vhs copy of the movie and my mom wore it out. Read more
Published on May 14 2009 by Roxanne J. Cyr
4.0 out of 5 stars A CLASSIC WSTERN...
This film, directed by the legendary John Ford, and starring John Wayne in the leading role is a western that has achieved mythic proportions. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2007 by Lawyeraau
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