Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Switching Protagonists in THE SEARCHERS, the novel and the film

Two great experiences: Watching the film, THE SEARCHERS with John Wayne as the protagonist, then reading the novel, THE SEARCHERS by Alan Le May. The 1956 film is based on Le May’s novel published two years earlier. In the novel, the Mart Pauley character emerges—after substantial development, as the protagonist. In the film, Mart Pauley is a secondary character who tags along with the dominant Ethan Edwards, played so memorably by John Wayne. Interestingly, in the novel that John Wayne character was named Amos not Ethan. The novel and the film offer similar story lines until the ending when they diverge dramatically. And of course, the film directed by John Ford has some comic touches, while the novel remains fairly serious throughout. The screenplay was by Frank Nugent who wrote the scripts for an incredible number of great films: Last Hurrah; Mr. Roberts, The Quiet Man. She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache—all directed by John Ford. For a clearer understanding of the hatred for Comanches often attributed to Texans in the Nineteenth Century, I would suggest reading “EMPIRE of the SUMMER MOON: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History” by S.C. Gwynne. While I was so much a fan of the movie—watching it many times over the years--it never occurred to me to read the novel until one of my sons sent me the recently released Kindle version as a gift. It was a great gift.

A suggestion: My novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon..

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