Sunday, 22 February 2015
The Searchers - Rangers Vs. Warriors
The scene i chose to analyze from The Searchers - John Wayne accompanies the Texas rangers on his initial pursuit of his niece (post sacking of the 'homestead') , the armed group pursue a war band of Texan Native Americans. The scene setting, is of the group becoming encircled by the Indians led by Chief 'Scar'. the scene is set in the traditional western landscape i.e. desert, rocky peaks and barren terrain, with the 'righteous' white group of law enforcement agent who become ambushed by the Indians (portrayed in the stereotypical view of the 'Native American'; dressed in large feathered headdress and carrying primitive weaponry and old era guns) who sound the 'war cry' and chase the protagonist and company and proceed in an unsuccessful attack, leading to a setting at the river, this allows the company to take up defensive positions and repulse the attack.
This is a representation of the ineptitude of the natives in fighting the superior 'white man'. The myth of the 'western' is exacerbated due to the way the fight scene is executed, in that the outnumbered 'white men' prevail due to their superior firearm technologies and upheld moral.
The concept of 'western' cinema during this era (1950s) , was developed to emphasis how easily the west was won. it is epitomized in this scene because the defeat at the river renders the war band ineffective until later in the film; this was created to appeal to the contemporary audience, to whom they would predominately hold favor with John Wayne. Although the negative perception of John Wayne's character Ethan Edwards is thoroughly promoted in this scene (as a aggressive and over zealous individual) the overall effect of the battle sequence is to created excitement and allow the viewer to accept that the Edwards party was in a position of dominance over the native americans.