The Searchers (1956)
Warner Brothers, C.V. Whitney Productions * Directed by John Ford * Written by Frank S. Nugent, from
the novel of the same name by Alan LeMay * Produced by Merian C. Cooper, C.V. Whitney * Associate
Producer: Patrick Ford * Original Music by Max Steiner * Cinematography by Winton C. Hoch * Film
Editing by Jack Murray * Art Direction by
Frank Hotaling, James Basevi * Set Decoration by Victor
Gangelin * Costume Design by Charles Arrico (uncredited)
Cast: John Wayne (Ethan Edwards), Jeffrey Hunter (Martin Pawley), Vera Miles (Laurie Jorgensen),
Ward Bond (Capt. Rev. Samuel Clayton), Natalie Wood (Debbie Edwards), John Quaen (Lars
Jorgensen), Olive Carey (Mrs. Jorgensen), Henry Brandon (Chief Scar), Ken Curtis (Charlie McCorry),
Harry Carey Jr. (Brad Jorgensen), Antonio Moreno (Emilio Figueroa), Hank Worden (Mose Harper),
Lana Wood (Debbie as a child), Walter Coy (Aaron Edwards), Dorothy Jordan (Martha Edwards), Pippa
Scott (Lucy Edwards), Patrick Wayne (Lt. Greenhill), Beulah Archuletta (Look)
(Orson Welles, 1941) and
The Birth of a Nation
is one of the most influential films ever made. Perhaps no single film has
influenced the current generation of filmmakers than
. Directors such as John
Milius, Steven Spielberg, Paul Schrader and Martin Scorcese rank it among their all-time
favorite favorites. Unlike
Birth of a Nation
initially greeted as a masterpiece. Despite positive reviews overall, the film wasn't taken very
seriously by the critics.
Bosley Crowther, then the film critic for
The New York Times
called it a
“rip-snorting Western, as brashly entertaining as they come.” But at least Crowther liked the
s reviewer called the film “disappointing” and confessed to feeling like it could
have been “so much more.” Believe it or not, most critics agreed.
The Film Daily'
poll of film critics, gathering a paltry 32 votes.
A middling film like
manage to garner double that (64), while the poll's winner,
The King and I,
Fortunately, audiences weren't quite as stingy.
grossed $4,450,000 in its first run,
placing it among the year's top twenty films. Nevertheless, is success paled in comparison to
such films as
The Ten Commandments
Around the World in 80 Days
The King and I
($8.5 million). Nonetheless, $4.5 million was
good for a film in
1956, especially a Western.
Filmed on location in breathtaking Monument Valley in VistaVision, the visuals of the film