Sequence Analysis on The Searchers
The Searchers is a film about a man and his adopted nephew’s search for their niece and sister, respectively, after they had been lured away by a trap set by Comanche Indians. While lured away searching for the missing cattle, the Comanche sneaked in behind them and razed Ethan’s brother’s house. They killed their family including Ethan’s brother, his brother’s wife Martha, whom it had been presented earlier that Ethan clearly loved through certain shots such as them sharing a long, passionate hug, and their son Ben. They also kidnapped Ethan’s nieces Lucy and Debbie. This series of events is what leads up to the pursuance of Debbie and mainly the Comanche who stole her away. It is evident throughout the early stages of the film, before this clip, that Ethan had a disdain for Indians, such as when he labels Martin a half-breed with a contemptuous tone of voice. Ethan already felt a deep seated hatred for the Comanche and this kidnapping of his nieces and massacre of his beloved was like throwing gasoline onto an already raging inferno. He becomes a man stricken with a feverish obsession to exact revenge against the Comanche and free his niece from the clutches of these savages. In this clip of The Searchers, John Ford uses techniques of mise-en-scene, cinematography, and editing to convey moods of revenge and contempt as well as to contrast Martin and Ethan’s reasons for searching for their sister and niece, Debbie.
The clip begins with Martin standing in the lower left hand corner of the shot while Ethan and Moses vehemently ride past him. They are all quickly rushed to return because they already know that something bad has happened involving their loved ones. This shot is significant in that it represents how Ethan quickly rides right past Martin without any thought of taking him with him. The shot places Martin in the lower corner of the image just as Ethan had placed Martin within the back of his mind as...
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