Saturday, Oct 2020
Director: John Sturges
Screenwriters: William Roberts based on Akira Kurosowa's film; The Seven Samurai.
Length: 126 mins.
Theme Song: The Magnificent Seven, Elmer Bernstein
Released: 1960

magnificent seven posterAs is attributed honestly in the credits, this Western is based on the Japanese film Seven Samurai. This is the well-known and popular Western which made stars of McQueen, Coburn, Bronson and Vaughn.What is less known is that it helped launch Eli Wallach's movie career from stage roles. More importantly, his bad guy here undoubtedly helped him land the bad-guy role in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.A good trivia question is to name the actors who played all seven of the "Magnificent Seven" Most of us can name the famous 5, but how many can add 'Brad Dexter' and 'Horst Bucholz'? And don't forget the other trivia question from the same cinematic era which includes at least one of these actors, "Which two characters actually escaped in The Great Escape?" It is suggested that knowing these questions and the answers will win you substantial money and considerable popularity at appropriately interesting saloons. Another trivia question based on this film would be to name all of its sequels: Return of the Seven (1966); Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969); and The Magnificent Seven Ride (1972). This movie is said to have set the trend for the Westerns that followed in the 1960s. The Western genre was financially rejuvenated by this film's success in Europe, which cleared the way for the future "spaghetti Westerns".

The story is the tale of a disparate band of professionals who take on the job of protecting a small farming village from marauding bandits led by Wallach. Thus another aspect of the film not often mentioned: its tale replicates the beginnings of the Mafia in Sicily, which was hired protection for farmers in the absence of adequate government police. The movie features some corny humor, sentimentality and a love story, three elements which can, cumulatively, undermine a weak Western. But this movie is saved by the cast, the score and the action sequences, all of which are considerable. The criminal Wallach sneers of the helpless villagers: "If God didn't want them sheared, he would not have made the sheep." And Yul Brenner's line, "We lost. We always lose," is a classic anti-hero's concession which paved the way for the different, doubting heros of countless future Westerns and other films.This is a good Western, worthy of its popularity. Certainly a Must See.

--Jed

Cast:

  • Yul Brynner --- Chris Adams
  • Eli Wallach --- Calvera
  • Steve McQueen -- Vin
  • Charles Bronson -- Bernardo O'Reilly
  • Robert Vaughn --- Lee
  • Brad Dexter --- Harry Luck
  • James Coburn --- Britt
  • Jorge Martínez de Hoyos -- Hilario
  • Vladimir Sokoloff -- Old Man
  • Rosenda Monteros -- Petra
  • Rico Alaniz --- Sotero
  • Horst Buchholz -- Chico
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