ABSTRACT

In this chapter, I examine John Wayne’s highly crafted portrayal of Ethan Edwards in The Searchers (John Ford, 1956) through the lens of ConstantBenoît Coquelin’s theoretical understanding of the actor’s creative work in order to shed new light on the art of fi lm acting. While at fi rst glance the American fi lm star and the French theatrical icon seem to have little in common, their shared views on the techniques of acting reveal that fi lm acting and stage acting are, at base, the same basic art form. They may have worked in diff erent eras and media and made use of diff erent performance styles, but their remarkably similar craft suggests how theatrical history can productively illuminate the mechanics behind screen performances.