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Loved TCM hosts discussion about "The Searchers"


Toto
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Last night, after viewing "The Searchers", TCM hosts discussed the problems with racist depictions of Native Americans in this film.  Like so many classic westerns, the Native Americans are portrayed as savages and often not even played by Native Americans.  I really appreciated that this topic was brought up.  It needs to be as movies have influenced the way many people see history and have shaped attitudes toward minority groups.  The hosts pointed out that they felt we should still see these movies (many are masterpieces of film making) but to open our eyes and to see the racism in them.  I am  Native American and greatly appreciate these views.  These are the kind of discussions we all need to be having.  Thank you TCM.

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21 minutes ago, Toto said:

Last night, after viewing "The Searchers", TCM hosts discussed the problems with racist depictions of Native Americans in this film.  Like so many classic westerns, the Native Americans are portrayed as savages and often not even played by Native Americans.  I really appreciated that this topic was brought up.  It needs to be as movies have influenced the way many people see history and have shaped attitudes toward minority groups.  The hosts pointed out that they felt we should still see these movies (many are masterpieces of film making) but to open our eyes and to see the racism in them.  I am  Native American and greatly appreciate these views.  These are the kind of discussions we all need to be having.  Thank you TCM.

Glad you feel so positive about it! :) 

Welcome to TCM City.

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Wow! Whaddaya know?! FINALLY a newbie to these boards who GETS why this "Problematic Film" series is being run has posted their thoughts on this, AND stated so elegantly TOO, I might add!

(...will wonders never cease)

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Btw Toto, gotta question for ya here, and seein' as how as you said you're of Native American descent.

Among the three motorcycles I own (the other two being British-made Triumphs) is one of the modern made Indian brand models.

And now, NOT that I'm going to sell it if you don't approve of it here mind you and 'cause it really is one hell of a great motorcycle AND isn't one of those damn ubiquitous Harley-Davidsons  (LOL), BUT what's YOUR take on the use of this name and the revival by Polaris Industries of Minnesota of this hallowed old brand of motorcycle?

(...okay folks, JUST seein' if this seemingly enlightened new member of ours here is gonna be a "one post wonder" or NOT  ;) ...although, I WOULD like an answer to this query of mine here, as on the Indian motorcycle website there is currently a big brouhaha of a thread going on about this very topic)

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When I think of the hundreds of Native Americans who were seeking work in Hollywood and who were denied the opportunity, simply because of their views, something in me just dies.

What a black mark on Hollywood history.

 

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21 minutes ago, LuckyDan said:

When I think of the hundreds of Native Americans who were seeking work in Hollywood and who were denied the opportunity, simply because of their views, something in me just dies.

What a black mark on Hollywood history.

 

This reminds me of the career of Iron Eyes Cody.

Real name: Espera Oscar de Corti...a nice Italian boy from Louisiana.

 (...but HEY, you DO have to admit that "crying indian" PSA he did back in '71 sure helped kick off that whole "Keep America Beautiful" campaign in highstyle anyway, RIGHT?!)  ;)

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10 hours ago, Dargo said:

This reminds me of the career of Iron Eyes Cody.

Real name: Espera Oscar de Corti...a nice Italian boy from Louisiana.

 (...but HEY, you DO have to admit that "crying indian" PSA he did back in '71 sure helped kick off that whole "Keep America Beautiful" campaign in highstyle anyway, RIGHT?!)  ;)

He was an Italian Boy from Louisiana!  I had no idea.  Wished they had used a Native American but I do support "Keep America Beautiful".

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Racism aside, it might be said that director John Ford was one of the first Hollywood directors to hire Native Americans in his early westerns, especially IRON HORSE 1924 (featuring over eight hundred Pawnee, Sioux, and Cheyenne Indians) and those made with John Wayne. Many of his westerns filmed in the late forties and into the mid sixties employed native Americans from Arizona and Utah.

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On 3/19/2021 at 9:29 PM, Toto said:

Last night, after viewing "The Searchers", TCM hosts discussed the problems with racist depictions of Native Americans in this film.  Like so many classic westerns, the Native Americans are portrayed as savages and often not even played by Native Americans.  I really appreciated that this topic was brought up.  It needs to be as movies have influenced the way many people see history and have shaped attitudes toward minority groups.  The hosts pointed out that they felt we should still see these movies (many are masterpieces of film making) but to open our eyes and to see the racism in them.  I am  Native American and greatly appreciate these views.  These are the kind of discussions we all need to be having.  Thank you TCM.

I have Native American ancestry but it cannot be denied that some native Americans, at times, engage in barbaric behavior. Likewise, some European settlers and US military forces, engaged in barbaric ways. It was a clash of cultures and as has been demonstrated repeatedly throughout history the same pattern of dehumanizing the “enemy “ is repeated, whether there are racial differences or not. Early European history is replete with this pattern.  European tribes subjugated, drove out, enslaved or absorbed weaker peoples. It seems that, though ugly, this struggle ultimately results in the advancement of civilization. 

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In response to an earlier post which pointed out that Director John Ford was one of the first directors to employ Native Americans in early western films, thank you for posting this.  This is interesting.  I have heard that one of Ford's latest movies "Cheyenne Autumn" takes a much more enlightened view toward Native Americans.  I'm trying to find a copy of this film to view.   I think that at the time "The Searchers" was made, the typical way of portraying Native Americans was as the "bad guys" in westerns and this wasn't questioned.  Later into the 60's, attitudes towards Native Americans starting changing and type-casting them as "bad guys" didn't work any more.  Things had become more complicated.  Ethan (the John Wayne character in The Searchers), is a vicious racist who at one point actually thinks Debbie (the Natalie Wood character captured by the Comanches) would be better off dead.  The other white characters in the film seem to just accept Ethan's attitudes.  It is powerful at the end when Debbie is finally returned to her family and Ethan is shown walking alone into the vast landscape out of a doorway.   It feels like he is alone.  What did Ford mean by this ending? 

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4 hours ago, Toto said:

In response to an earlier post which pointed out that Director John Ford was one of the first directors to employ Native Americans in early western films, thank you for posting this.  This is interesting.  I have heard that one of Ford's latest movies "Cheyenne Autumn" takes a much more enlightened view toward Native Americans.  I'm trying to find a copy of this film to view.   I think that at the time "The Searchers" was made, the typical way of portraying Native Americans was as the "bad guys" in westerns and this wasn't questioned.  Later into the 60's, attitudes towards Native Americans starting changing and type-casting them as "bad guys" didn't work any more.  Things had become more complicated.  Ethan (the John Wayne character in The Searchers), is a vicious racist who at one point actually thinks Debbie (the Natalie Wood character captured by the Comanches) would be better off dead.  The other white characters in the film seem to just accept Ethan's attitudes.  It is powerful at the end when Debbie is finally returned to her family and Ethan is shown walking alone into the vast landscape out of a doorway.   It feels like he is alone.  What did Ford mean by this ending? 

that's a good question. I think Ford was just trying to say ethan edwards was a loner.

 

"a man keeps his cattridges close to the vest."

John Wayne his performance as Ethan Edwards in The Searchers (1956) is  ranked #87 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest⦠| John wayne, John wayne  movies, Western film

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I have never seen THE SEARCHERS because I'm not a fan of John Ford & the plot makes me uncomfortable. One of these days I'm just going to have to get through it to see for myself. I'm sure it has some redeeming aspects. 

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10 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

maybe the shoulder he got the comanch arrow was starting to hurt him a bit. maybe this was Ford's symbolic ending like Shane.

John Wayne his performance as Ethan Edwards in The Searchers (1956) is  ranked #87 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest⦠| John wayne, John wayne  movies, Western film

That elbow hugging stance was a homage by John Ford and John Wayne to Harry Carey, who used to hold his elbow like that.

sr1zfhtx18151.jpg

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4 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I have never seen THE SEARCHERS because I'm not a fan of John Ford & the plot makes me uncomfortable. One of these days I'm just going to have to get through it to see for myself. I'm sure it has some redeeming aspects. 

You know Tiki, I have admired you all of these years since you seem to be the type of film fan who enjoys all genres and many of the past actors and directors. But when I read what you posted above I could not believe my eyes!!! Not liking a certain director is one thing, but having never seen The Searchers really befuddles me. I can understand if you had seen the movie and afterwards did not like it, but you should really do yourself a favor and sit down and watch this masterpiece of film making. There are many things in this film that has inspired many directors including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, John Milius, Paul Schrader, Jean-Luc Goddard and George Lucas.

What is it about the plot that makes you feel uncomfortable?

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