Re: The Movie Project
I love Taxi Driver but it doesn't have anything like the breadth in theme and tone that The Searchers has. I do recognize that lots of people, including Roger Ebert, think The Searchers is uneven because they don't like that (although since Ebert doesn't seem to think that it's a problem with Ford in general I think he just believes movies about racism need to be solemn or something). Taxi Driver has a more intense tone and that's part of what sucks you in, but I think the comedic b-plot more than doubles what The Searchers would really be "about" if it just had the revenge/racism parts.
I'm not criticizing anyone for liking Taxi Driver more, especially if you just prefer the aesthetics of The New Hollywood to the 1950s, but Taxi Driver is the simpler movie so it sometimes it rubs me the wrong way when people site the influence to as the proof of The Searchers' value.
Critics and fans who like Ford's humor make the Shakespeare comparison all the time. I wonder how many people who like the "serious" parts of The Searchers but dislike the b-plot also enjoyed that dour, boring, nihilist Hollow Crown series.