The Searchers closing scene - YouTube
Searchers, The (1956) - Movie Review / Film Essay
The question becomes this — is Ethan in love with Martha in desire only, or did they actually have an affair? The film never quite says. In a 1974 interview, Wayne said Ford hinted throughout the movie that Ethan had had an affair with his brother’s wife, and was possibly the father of Lucy and Debbie. (A) If true, this would mean Ethan’s vengence stems from the murder of his lover and the abduction of his own children. How’s that for another layer! Whether they actually had an affair or just mentally desired it is irrelevant. The point is that this is what fuels “the search.”
The Searchers Movie Review & Film Summary (1956) - Roger Ebert
Still, the greatest pop culture impact came in the music industry. The film inspired John McNally to form his British band The Searchers, exactly a year after Ford’s film. You know them from their #3 Billboard hit “.”
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.Such distinctions are superfluous compared to the fact that Wayne himself named his son Ethan in honor of the movie. When he finally won the Oscar as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (1969), it was really the Academy honoring his entire body of his work, of which The Searchers dominates. And when Wayne died shortly after his to present Best Picture at the 1979 Academy Awards, it was a picturesque exit, like the door closing him out into the wilderness in the final shot of The Searchers.