The Searchers - Sequence Analysis

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The Searchers

The scene in The Searchers being analyzed is the event that creates the plot of the entire film. Ethan returns from a ploy by the Comanche to get the men away the homestead, while the Comanche burn the homestead, kill the remaining men and women and abduct the girls Debbie and Lucy. In The Searchers this passage plays an important role in the development of the film, it provides psychological characterization of the main characters through cinematography, the editing style of the film, illusion of continuity and the mise-en-scene aspects of each scene. While also shedding light onto the films overall thematic concerns the film is attempting to portray. Recognizing the first shot’s importance in this passage helps to identify what has happened to the homestead. The scene begins with a low angle shot of Ethan and Mose stopping on top of the ridge to see what happened to the homestead. You do not see the expression on the face of Ethan and Mose just their outline on horseback colored black, while there is a blue sky and rolling clouds in the background. The composition of light and dark color sets the mood for a negative outcome in the scene ahead. The next scene begins with a traditional cut and a medium close up of Ethan’s upper body where you see his facial expression. Ethan’s expression shows he is shocked, sad, dejected and in disbelief. The scene ends when the music comes to a stop and another traditional cut is used and a long shot portrays the homestead burning with a cloud of black smoke rising into the west Texas landscape. The subsequent scene returns to a medium close up of Ethan’s face where his expression turns to rage. From there the scene returns to a low angle shot of Ethan and Mose where Ethan proceeds to pull out his rifle and sling the rifle cover to the ground and Ethan and Mose ride toward the homestead. With Ethan and Mose riding ahead the scene cuts back to Marty stumbling the last bit to the top of the hill where he gets...
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