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3 November 2012

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Last night I dug out The Magnificent Seven thinking that it would be right up my son's street. What with cowboys and shooting, how could it fail to please? J-Uke took one look at the opening credits and said: "Oh yeah... The Magnificent Seven... I've seen this... They all die at the end..."

Right.

Count these...
The Magnificent Seven, MGM 1960

It wasn't long before he was sat beside me asking question after question after question. :-)

I'm going to struggle to tell you anything about The Magnificent Seven that hasn't been said a million times over, but let's just see how this goes...

Watch the window!
The Magnificent Seven, MGM 1960

The Magnificent Seven was made in 1960 at around the same time that the whole Spaghetti Western scene was kicking off. A couple of key things prevented it from being a Spaghetti Western, not least the fact that Director John Sturges was American. The film was filmed in Mexico and featured an illustrious cast. most of whom at the time were more famous for their TV work than for feature films.

Bears can cut wood
The Magnificent Seven, MGM 1960

The story is very simple: Mexican farmers being terrorised by bandits decide to stand up and fight for their rights. Only they have no weapons. Three farmers head North looking for guns and run into the gravel-voiced Chris Adams (played by Yul Brynner). It isn't long before Chris is out and about pulling together a team of hired guns. After much finger counting, seven tough hombres turn up at the Mexican village. It is simply a matter of time before bandits arrive and shooting ensues. And no... despite J-Uke's reports... they don't all die at the end... or do they? :-)

The Magnificent Seven is a re-imagining of sorts. Yul Brynner is credited with having the idea to adapt Akira Kurosawa's hugely influential The Seven Samurai. Seven Samurai was released in 1954 following a troubled shoot that almost saw it being canned. I haven't seen Kurosawa's film... maybe I should!

No kissing please... this is a Western!
The Magnificent Seven, MGM 1960

I loved the collection of gun slingers. Yul Brynner effectively co-stars with Steve McQueen and there were reports that there was all sorts of one-upmanship between the two during filming. You don't get any hint of that in the final cut. Charles Bronson is brillant as the tough mexican-irish Bernardo O'Reilly. Robert Vaughn shines as the troubled Southern dandy, Lee. James Coburn lopes about as lanky knife-throwing, Britt; and the barrel-chested Brad Dexter isn't so lucky as Harry Luck. This bunch of cowboy misfits each have their back-story and never seem happier than when they've got a lost cause to champion. Hold on, I almost forgot to mention the hot-headed Horst Bucholz who plays the impetuous and foolhardy Chico. "Now we are seven."

Worthy of special mention is Eli Wallach as head-bandito Calvera. He's everything a bad-ass bandito should be!

I was aiming for the horse...
The Magnificent Seven, MGM 1960

The music is brilliant. It was scored by Elmer Bernstein and stands there as a crowning glory in a career that spanned some 50 years and literally hundreds of TV Shows and films.

So many good things came together on this film. It's not hard to see why it remains such a popular watch.

I think I've said enough.

On the Triple-B I'm going to award the Magnificent Seven a magnificent 8. But tell me... where's the goldmine?



2 comments:

  1. RE:
    "Charles Bronson is brillant as the tough mexican-irish Bernardo O'Reilly"

    I thought he was still in prison.-)

    Now there's a great film,"Bronson"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMJ1c3qxOWc

    Have you seen that one yet?
    One of my favourite movies.
    And I ended up watching it because of a dream I had about the actor Charles Bronson doing micky-flips on my forklift.

    http://brizdazz.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/exit-in-pursuit-of-bear-work-in.html

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  2. That film does look like it would be up my street Daz. I haven't seen it, but the trailer reminds me a bit of Chopper. Here's a review I did when I was still finding my way with this blog http://theukuleleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/chopper-2000.html. And if you like the whole prison thing then when not check out SCUM too http://theukuleleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/scum-1979.html
    BTW if I keep singing this bloody Grizzly Adams song today, I will hunt you down and do terrible things to you ;-)

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