Thursday, 19 February 2015

The searchers scene 1956

The Searchers:
I have chosen the final scene from The Searchers:

Even though this scene is a relatively short clip, it is arguably one of the best scenes. This is because it demonstrates just how much of a classic Western the film is. It does this with the setting, social behaviour, camera work, actors as well as the story line too.

The setting shows the hardships in which 'Ethan' faced during the quest of finding the girl 'Debbie'. Because it is set in the dessert, which is hot and uncomfortable to be walking and riding in for many hours a day, whilst also fighting Indians that he encounters. The scenery is also very symbolic of the Western genre, as it represents the American West in the 1900's. It demonstrates the major difference between wilderness and civilisation, whilst showing that they can be together despite being complete opposites, as you have the family home in the wilderness.  

The music is a significant feature of this clip, especially as the words indicate that 'Ethan' should be and it meant to be alone. The words are "Ride away..." suggesting that in Westerns even the hero has to leave. Within this film though, it is because he is a danger to the family including the women, especially as he has a worrying background, because he has allegiances with the Confederacy, and yet he wants to potentially live in a place South. The music is sad as well, which relates to the fact that 'Ethan' is being left out of the family, despite doing all the hard work of finding the girl 'Debbie'. The fact that he is a hero and not actually welcome there any longer is an interesting ending to a film, but it is also a typical Western ending too.

It is as if 'Ethan' the hero is destined to be on his own as he is the outsider or the lone cowboy. He belongs to the wilderness rather than civilisation, so therefore cannot stay with the family because he is best suited with nature, always on the move, especially as he very rarely sits down even in the civilisation settings, demonstrating that his character belongs with the wilderness. He is meant to go to the next town and be the hero once more. It is like a vicious circle. When he walks off in the very end, the setting is an amazing scene with the lone man walking away to the unknown.

The fact that 'Ethan' doesn't question the way in which the family just ignore him, indicates that he is either used to it, or doesn't actually want to be there and included in the family. He prefers to be on his own in the wilderness as a lone cowboy. It is interesting that the family don't even say thank you or shake his hand, or even acknowledge his existence! This in itself shows how they are isolating him from the family and don't want him to be there.

When 'Ethan' walks up to the house and family with the girl 'Debbie' in his arms really demonstrates the pride in which he had in finding the girl. Because he could of just dropped her off when he got off the horse, but to actually carry her to the parents shows how much he cared in doing a good job. This is why the response of the family is so interesting and also an important part of the film as it shows the relationship between the hero and the family or society. This creates the question of whether 'Ethan' is a flawed hero because the family have difficulty in trusting him.

John Wayne's height is how masculinity operates in the film, especially when he is carrying the girl. This is also shown when he gets off the horse,as he is not only towering over the man beside him, the camera work makes him taller than the horse.

The clothing in this final scene is significant as the use of the hats indicate dominance, with 'Ethan' and the old man sitting in the rocking chair being the only people actually wearing a cowboy hat. This shows dominance and despite the old man wearing a hat, he is also sitting down, making John Wayne the most masculine figure there.

The fact that John Wayne 'staggers' off into the distance shows his dominance, and that he doesn't have anywhere to be in a hurry. This whole scene reinforces the myths of the Western, as it has the iconography, story line and setting of a classic Western film.

This image is a contrast of the one above as it really has a lot of meaning to it. Because the previous image has John Wayne among others, which symbolises that he would be made welcome into the family, as he is a hero for finding the girl. However, this image shows him just standing there, all alone, which is a symbolic and traditional way to  end in many Western films.

Grace La Traille 


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