The Searchers, an American Legend

Friday, July 05, 2013

Glenn Frankel tells the story behind “The Searchers.” In 1836 in East Texas, nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker was kidnapped by Comanches, raised by the tribe, and eventually became the wife of a warrior. Twenty-four years later she was reclaimed by the U.S. cavalry and Texas Rangers and reunited with her white family. It’s become a foundational American tale and has inspired operas plays, and a novel by Alan LeMay, which was adapted into one of Hollywood's most legendary films, “The Searchers,” directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne. In The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, Frankel examines how the story has been shaped over time.


Glenn Frankel

Comments [1]


Extremely strange interview. It's like the 60s never occurred, no mention of Native American reactions to this film or how consciousness of Native American cultures have reshaped our attitudes to the Western genre, especially after films like Soldier Blue etc. This guy sounded like a 13 year old boy, talking about one of his favourite toys, rather than the mature criticism that one would expect with someone of his credentials. And to say this poor woman was the "ultimate victim of these wars" is just extraordinary given the nature of the genocide, and is like saying Meryl Streep's character in Sophie's Choice is the ultimate victim of the holocaust. And an almost creepy excitement crept into his voice when he spoke of the "honour" killing of women, with not the slightest hint of irony. Really, a very strange, rather absurd, totally uninsightful perspective. Ford, like Griffiths, was not a complicated man, neither were his films, which he was the first to admit. The romance surrounding these figures speaks to the adolescent mentality that surrounds so much cinema criticism of the past 20 years and the state of entropy in the industry it illustrates.

Jul. 05 2013 01:22 PM

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