The Searchers, 1956

John Wayne and others go after the Comanches who raided the family ranch. Visually it’s well done, with western landscapes and Comanches in war paint and feathers. Even the square dancing, pretty mundane, looks great. The Searchers is a good enough western, though not one I’d seek out to watch again.

Because of gaps in the plot, characters’ actions are sometimes unmotivated, especially in the romantic sub-plot. I suspect the original novel was more cohesive, but in adaptation or editing they cut parts they should have kept. Or, probably better, they should have dropped the romantic sub-plot and made a shorter movie focused tightly on the search for the kidnapped child. The best thing about the otherwise-unremarkable romance is the Other Man, a most amazing oaf. His face, voice, and laugh perfectly fit the guy the girl should not marry. It’s really good acting by Ken Curtis, whom I recognized only after looking him up.

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