Thursday, July 8, 2010

Movie 16 Review: The Magnificent Seven

"The Magnificent Seven" is a 1960 Cowboy Western Adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Japanese Film "Seven Samurai" and was directed by John Sturges ("Thunderbolt!", "Bad Day at Black Rock", "The Great Escape"). Both films would inspire future media around the World in not just Cowboy Westerns and Samurai films but in ensemble media like "Ocean's 11" or the "Super Sentai"/"Power Rangers" television series. "The Magnificent Seven"'s Music Score was given an Academy Award Nomination in 1961.

The film stars Yul Brynner ("The King and I", "The Ten Commandments") as Chris Adams, Eli Wallach ("The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly", "The Godfather Part III", "The Holiday") as Calvera, Steve McQueen ("The Blob", "The Great Escape", "The Sand Pebbles") as Vin, Charles Bronson ("The Great Escape", "The Dirty Dozen", "Death Wish" Series) as Bernardo O'Reilly, Robert Vaughn ("The Young Philadelphians", "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." TV Series, "Hustle" TV Series) as Lee, Brad Dexter ("Von Ryan's Express", "The Naked Runner") as Harry Luck, James Coburn ("Affliction", "The Great Escape", "In Like Flint") as Britt, & Horst Buchholz ("Tiger Bay", "Fanny", "Life Is Beautiful") as Chico

The film is about a farm village in Mexico that has been frequently raided by a gang of bandits led by a "desperado" asivwere named Calvera. Three men of the village are then tasked to buy guns to defend themselves but instead decide to hire Gunmen to protect their village. Their initial hire, Chris Adams, then sends out an open contract for any gunmen to help, in the process gaining 6 allies.

The film is well done, and the acting is done fine. Honestly, from a neutral standpoint, it's just as good as "Seven Samurai". It really all depends on whether you like Cowboy Westerns or Sengoku (Warring States) Period Samurai Films, but both can be enjoyed regardless.

I found it somewhat disapointing though that they combined "Seven Samurai" characters Katsushiro & Kikuchiyo into the one "Magnificent Seven" character Chico, thus leading to the creation of the Lee & Harry Luck characters. Harry Luck I felt would have been more suited to follow the Kikuchiyo character. However, I'm saying that as someone who saw "Samurai" before "Magnificent", I may feel differently if it was vice versa.

Interestingly, "Magnificent" was a good enough film that Akira Kurosawa loved it and had presented John Sturges a Samurai Sword in his appreciation of the film. Quite the statement when the director of the film that inspired John, inspired Akira back with it's fruit of the inspiration.

I have no recommendation of which film to watch first, but both are stellar. I have a preference of Samurai films over Cowboy Films, but don't let that influence you from not watching this.

Flickchart Rankings
Worldwide: 926
Tack Angel: 191 (I have "Seven Samurai" listed as 31)

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