Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Searchers - closing scene

This closing scene of The Searchers features several parallels to the opening scene of the movie. In fact, the entire scene can be said to be the opening scene in reverse.

Opening scene:
1. Door opens
2. Ethan approaches from the wilderness
3. After many years apart, Ethan is reunited with the family
4. The family enters the house

Closing scene:
1. The family comes out of the house
2. After many years apart, Debbie is reunited with the family
3. Ethan retreats into the wilderness
4. Door closes.

There are key differences in terms of characters and attitudes - in this scene, we are with a different family, and they are less welcoming to Ethan. Whereas Ethan enters the house in the opening scene, in this scene he lingers on the threshold, before retreating back into the wilderness. As he retreats, the same song as was heard at the beginning of the movie plays. Specifically, as Ethan makes the decision to leave, the lyric "ride away" is repeated - echoing exactly what Ethan has decided to do. As Ethan walks further into the distance, his retreating figure becomes smaller and he begins to blend in with the mise-en-scene, suggesting that Ethan will always be a part of the wilderness. The shot ends with the closing of the door, graphically matching the very first shot of the movie, of a door opening.

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