Regarding Glenn Frankel's book [“Searching for Cynthia Ann
,” Screens, Feb. 15] and your 1993 review of The Searchers
, Oct. 1, 1993], my two cents: The Searchers
, while arguably John Ford's most perfect film (if you can tolerate the perfunctory teen romance thread), is one of his least personal, although his overlooked less personal projects like Three Godfathers
are among his best. I elevate Liberty Valance
as Ford's masterpiece, the summation of Ford's cinematic career, the final celluloid chapter of Ford's visual meditation of traditional family values set against American history from the Mohicans to Boston City Hall. That Liberty Valance
opens with John Wayne's death as imagined by the man who created Wayne's screen persona before revising the personal themes that permeate Ford's cinema, the film clearly surpasses The Searchers
in depth and nuance.