An oppressed Mexican peasant village hires seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.
I have been offered a lot for my work, but never everything
A vile bandit constantly raids a small Mexican village and pilfers what he so wants. Finally having enough, and not wanting to relocate, the villagers set about recruiting some hired guns to finally rid themselves of the dastardly Calvera.
As most people now know, The Magnificent Seven is of course a remake of Akira Kurosawa's immense and hugely influential picture, Shichinin no samurai. Adhering closely to Kurosawa's themes, director John Sturges has crafted a classic in its own right, one that has become something of a Bank Holiday staple for TV schedulers. When you break it down for scrutiny, the story is purely a very ordinary one, but as each archetype character and set up arrives, it becomes evident that it's a story rich in texture, all framed marvellously in a Western setting.
Sturges for sure knew how to direct ensemble casts, he would after all go on to direct the fantastic 1963, ultimate holiday movie, The Great Escape. Here he is excellently served by a faultless cast, though Yul Brynner was the only major name of note, the likes of Steve McQueen (owning the movie), Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and James Coburn would go on to become part of cinematic macho culture, with each actor vying for the right to own the movie proving to be a bonus trump card for this rousing and much loved picture. Even the score has slipped nicely into popular culture, Elmer Bernstein's music having now become recognisable to even the most youthful of movie fans ears.
Unashamedly macho, but certainly delightful for the female viewers as well, The Magnificent Seven is an across the board delight for almost everyone who enjoys the escapism of film. Perhaps the last word should rest with Kurosawa himself, who after viewing John Sturges' picture was moved to present him with a Samurai Sword in recognition of the great film he had crafted, enough said there I feel. 9/10
Alpha Productions, The Mirisch Company, United Artists by John Sturges, William Roberts, Akira Kurosawa, Walter Bernstein.
Stars: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Western
Keywords: horse village friendship remake bandit farmer cowboy white man's burden henry rifle hired gun
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