The Searchers

Anyone who keeps John Ford's 1956 masterpiece in their Netflix queue instead of heading to BAM deserves to have an eye removed. Right up front, with the famous opening composition of landscape framed through doorway, Ford and cinematographer Winton C. Hoch signal their immense ambition. By the time the motif is recapitulated at the finale, the saga of an embittered Confederate soldier (John Wayne) on a quest to find his kidnapped niece (Natalie Wood) has voyaged far through the American West and deep into the American psyche. "I take SPACE to be the central fact to man born in America," the poet Charles Olson wrote of Melville, in words as applicable to The Searchers as Moby Dick. "I spell it large because it comes large here. Large, and without mercy." Call for showtimes. (NR) NATHAN LEE

Wed., June 27, 2012

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