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9

THURSDAY

One of the best-known (and best) of Hollywood’s revisionist Westerns, The Searchers didn’t get much respect upon its 1956 release but subsequently has been widely hailed and often imitated: In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker has a John Wayne moment when he finds the family homestead destroyed. Wayne’s Ethan Edwards isn’t just an iconic loner in this John Ford saga, which was filmed in the director’s favorite location, Monument Valley. He’s also a rare example of a complex Wayne character: A racist veteran of the Confederate Army, Edwards obsessively seeks the niece (Natalie Wood) who was kidnapped by Comanches but expects to find her hopelessly tainted by her time with the “savages.” Yet the Indian-hater is more comfortable in Comanche country than with his brother’s family—an estrangement Ford expresses by framing Edwards in a doorway: This is the story of a man who is always outside. The film screens at 6:30 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Mark Jenkins)