Friday, February 24 at 8PM
The Searchers Starring John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Natalie Wood, Ward Bond. Directed by John Ford. 1956, 119mins., Color. Screened in 35mm.
John Ford is one of the great directors of classic Hollywood, and though he directed works as diverse as “The Grapes of Wrath” and “The Quiet Man”, he is most often associated with Westerns. And “The Searchers” is arguably his greatest Western. It is, in Ford’s own words, a "psychological epic” -- at once the grand outdoor spectacle filmed in Monument Valley that was the director’s signature in genre classics such as “Rio Grande”, but also a surprisingly modern film about one man's troubling moral code and inner demons. It is a big-screen adventure of the 1950s that anticipated the complex themes and characters that would dominate the 1970s. John Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a former Confederate soldier who returns to his brother's frontier cabin three years after the Civil War, still with his rebel uniform and weapons, a large stash of Yankee gold, but no explanation where he's been since Lee's surrender. Though he’s a loner who is not comfortable in the bosom of his family, when renegade Comanches kill his brother and sister-in- law and kidnap their daughter, Ethan takes his adopted nephew on a relentless, five year search for her. But it’s not clear what motivates him: the hope of finding the girl or his obsessive hatred of Indians. And when it seems that his “white” niece has been willingly living with the Comanche warrior who abducted her, Ethan’s revulsion is extreme.
Natalie Wood is striking in her role as the young woman, lost between two worlds. Yet although Wood was a major star in the middle decades of the 20th Century, she never won an Oscar.
John Wayne is often pre-judged by modern audiences either on the basis of the many cartoon-like impersonations of him by TV comedians or for the political stands he took during the Vietnam War. But Wayne was a good actor, and in “The Searchers” he gave perhaps his finest performance, pushing his archetypal Westerner character into a role that was a progenitor of the screen antiheroes of the 1970s; by the film's conclusion, his single-minded obsession seems less like heroism and more like madness. Wayne bravely refused to soft-pedal Ethan's ugly side, and the result is a remarkable portrait of a man irreparably contorted by racism and hatred, who is incapable of answering to anyone except himself and, ultimately, seems as isolated and removed from his society as the Indians he so despises. Wayne did not win an Oscar for “The Searchers”, but was finally recognized by the Academy 14 years later for “True Grit”.
“The Searchers” was initially greeted in America as just another big budget Western; it was French critics and film makers who first recognized groundbreaking cinema in the evocative style and unresolved tensions of John Ford's narrative. In the 1970s, the American "film school" generation was deeply influenced by “The Searchers”, no more evidently so than in Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader’s “Taxi Driver”. “The Searchers” is now widely considered to be one of the greatest American films ever made.
$8 for adults; $6 for seniors (65+) and children (12 & younger). Combo pricing for seeing more than one.
At the Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre, 54 Journal Square, Jersey City, NJ (201) 798-6055 http://www.loewsjersey.org" target="_blank" target="_blank. Email: [email protected]" target="_blank" target="_blank http://www.facebook.com/landmarkloewsjersey/" target="_blank" target="_blank
The Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre, at 54 Journal Square, Jersey City, NJ., is easily reached by car and mass transit from throughout the New York & New Jersey area. We are located directly across JFK Blvd from the JSQ PATH Station with trains to and from the World Trade Center and 33rd Street in Manhattan, as well as Newark’s Penn Station. The Theatre is close to the NJ Turnpike & Holland Tunnel. Discounted off street parking in Square Ramp Garage. Tel: (201) 798-6055 Web: loewsjersey.org Email: [email protected]" target="_blank" target="_blank.
The Loew's is a place where the great movie going experience is still alive -- a classic movie palace, a 50 foot wide screen, and a real pipe organ for entrance music before most shows! And whenever possible, screenings are still in 35mm.
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