We will probably never again, in our lifetimes, see a movie like The Searchers. It was made by grown men. They may not have been the best of men, but they were real men, and such creatures are no longer welcome in Hollywood. If a grown man wandered by mistake into Hollywood today he would be hunted down like a dog by the pussies who run the place and ridden out of town on a rail, to the accompaniment of high-pitched hysterical screams.
There are of course real men hiding out in Hollywood in 2012 but they keep a low profile and dream of escaping. They are relics of a vanished time.
This is all just a way of saying that Hollywood has become a place of terminally arrested adolecence and as such is doomed, will pass away shortly into nothing. To quote The Searchers, “Maybe it needs our bones in the ground before that time can come,” but that’s what our bones are for — to mark the fight against what’s pathetic and shameful.
And don’t mistake me — the virility of The Searchers is not about guns and horses and action and moving through wide open spaces. The widest open space in the film is the emptiness inside Ethan Edward’s heart, and inside the heart of the woman he loves, and who loves him, his brother’s wife Martha.
Ethan doesn’t become a real man until he can look into that abyss with clear eyes and live with it. It costs him everything — costs him all his pride and self-regard, his construction of himself as a tough guy. He becomes a man when he’s ready to pay that price. This is something only a man who’s paid that price, or knows he needs to pay that price, understands.