In his online review of the film for slate.com, Stephen Metcalf presents a devastating review of The Searchers:
The Searchers, John Fords epic 1956 Western, is a film geeks paradise: It is preposterous in its plotting, spasmodic in its pacing, unfunny in its hijinks, bipolar in its politics, alternately sodden and convulsive in its acting, not to mention boring. Impossible to enjoy, and yet not as obviously medicinal as, say, The Spirit of the Beehive, The Searchers segregates the initiated from the uninitiated; and so it is widely considered, by the initiated, at least, to be among the four or five best movies of all time. At his maiden screening, a young Cahiers du Cinema critic named Jean-Luc Godard wept, later adding, How can I hate John Wayne … and yet love him tenderly … in the last reel of The Searchers? Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader routinely name The Searchers as one of their favorite films, adding, I see it once or even twice a year (Scorsese), or, I make sure to see The Searchers at least once a year (Schrader), though such encomia have the curious effect of making the movie sound dutiful and unpleasant, like a prostate exam. Maybe the analogy isnt so outlandish as it seems.
Why do you agree or disagree with Metcalfs criticism of The Searchers?
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