Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Glenn Frankel

Glenn Frankel is director of the School of Journalism and G.B. Dealey Regents Professor in Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

His new book is The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend.

From the author's Q & A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: What first intrigued you about The Searchers, and why did you decide it would make a good subject for a book?

A: I was always intrigued by The Searchers since I was a boy and I saw it for the first time on the big screen. It was a very unsettling, exciting, challenging film. I saw a lot of Westerns as a kid, and it was the only one that stuck with me. In college, Andrew Sarris taught it at Columbia—he held it up as an example of great filmmaking. I always thought that it was a great American story. When I came back to the U.S. in 2006, I was looking for an American book. I came back to The Searchers. I thought I would undertake a “making of the movie” book. I knew there was something called the “captivity narrative.” I had no idea that The Searchers was loosely based on a true story. It opened up an entire area of research work.

Q: What surprised you most in the course of your research?

A: A couple of things. One was that it turns out to be easier to research Cynthia Ann Parker and Quanah Parker in 19th century Texas than to research John Ford in Hollywood. That was because John Ford didn’t leave much in the way of writing, or explanation of his work. I was putting together pieces of the puzzle. And Texans are so in love with their history that there are so many places [to do research]. It was surprising and interesting. Another thing—you can see all these places. Monument Valley—you can see where Ford filmed. In Texas, you can see…Palo Duro Canyon. In Oklahoma, you can see Quanah Parker’s Star House. As a journalist/historian—I’m not sure which I am at this point—it’s important for me to...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Glenn Frankel's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Searchers.

--Marshal Zeringue