Wednesday, April 16, 2008

They were seven - And they fought like seven hundred!

I watched this movie again last night for the umpteenth time:

A poor Mexican village imperiled by raiding bandits was the setting for the popular 1960 western, The Magnificent Seven. Inspired by Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Seven Samurai, director John Sturges cast up-and-coming stars, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Brad Dexter, Robert Vaughn and Horst Buchholz, alongside film veteran Yul Brynner as the down-on-their-luck gunmen who come to the villagers aid.

The latter film was closely modeled after the Japanese original, but replaced its wayward samurai with gunfighters; with some characterizations and even whole dialogue lifted from the Kurosawa film. The Magnificent Seven proved to be a box office smash, and it launched many of the actors into successful careers. The film also inspired three sequels: 1966's Return of the Seven (Brynner reprised the role of Chris), 1969's Guns of the Magnificent Seven (George Kennedy replaced Brynner as Chris) and 1972's The Magnificent Seven Ride (featured Lee Van Cleef as Marshal Chris Adams).

Guns is the superior of the three sequels, however, my recommendation is to avoid the tepid television series based on Sturges western film which ran from 1998-2000.
[Trivia] Yul Brynner basically reprised his signature role twice more. The robot that Yul Brynner portrays in 1973's scif-fi thriller Westworld is an homage/spoof of his character Chris from The Magnificent Seven and he wears the same costume. Brynner's final film appearance was in the 1976 sequel, Futureworld, where he again appeared as the robotic gunslinger.


Karswell said...

Great movie.

Chuck Wells said...

It looks like the Weinsteins are mounting a big screen remake of Seven Samurai for 2009.

I'll reserve judgement on that until more info becomes available.