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January 02, 2007

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Something To Do When Hunting Season Is Over

Around this time of year we find ourselves doubly afflicted. Hunting season is ending, or over, and the Holidays are upon us. If you find yourself moping around the house, bored plain flat p**sless with football and praying your houseguests will develop botulism by nightfall, here is a movie that will, if it doesn't cheer you up, at least distract you. It is, of course, a western, and I’ve alluded to it in past rants, but never given it the attention it deserves.

I'm talking about the 50th Anniversary special edition of John Ford’s 1956 masterpiece, The Searchers, which was both Ford’s and John Wayne’s greatest film. When it first ran, it was a solid commercial success, but completely ignored by the Academy Awards. Now it is universally regarded as one of the great films of all time.

The two-disc special edition, released this past summer by Warner Brothers, consists of a gorgeously restored print of the film and a second disc which is something of a marvel on its own. It contains the original trailers, promos, and most important, critical discussions of the film by such writers/directors as John Milius, Martin Scorcese, Curtis Hanson, and Peter Bogdanovich. Trust me when I say that these guys are a revelation. I’ve been watching the damned movie for half a century, and they showed me things I had never seen before. It’s like getting a new set of eyes and ears, plus an IQ boost of 50 points.

The Searchers is a western, and it is also a film about obsession and racism. But most of all it is, in the words of its own director, “…the tragedy of a loner.” When you watch it, you are in the presence of giants.


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Ralph the Rifleman

I agree with you DP, this movie does deserve special recognition.I'll need to dig my copy out for another review.
Thanks for the post.


Welcome back Dave, Hope you are looking forward to the SHOT Show next week.


Mr. Petzal I don't care what you write about i'll read it. You are an amazing writer and deserve more respect than you get. Sure you might raise some controversey now and then but atleast someone has the balls to.


What would JOHN WAYNE do?

What would DAVE PETZAL do?



William Giordano

Hey, who says that you have to pack away your guns after the season ends. My partner and I go to the range, bust some clays and then hie to the firing line and use our rifles. Its warmer than a tree stand and then there's always reloading to do when you get home.

Mike Diehl

Who says hunting season is over. I'm good to go through February.


Squirrels and rabbits through February, coyotes through mid-April, then Spring turkey ... I'm good. Actually, what brings a bigger grin then taking a little old Savage 24 .22/.410 out into the winter woods for bushytails.

While I am thinking about it, will you guys stop writing about great old guns we all drool over ... you're just driving the demand and prices through the freakin' roof (not that this little Savage will ever get outrageously priced). Please get out of the damn house so that you don't start reminiscing and writing any more about them.


I was born in 1956 and never had a chance to see the movie. But this year I got these two DVDs from my daudhter as a Christmas gift. I watched it once and I want to do it again. The movie is different than other Westerns but I like it a lot.


The Searchers is my favorite Wayne movie.

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