Together with High Noon and Shane, this picture has come to be regarded as one of the three greatest Westerns of all time! Oddly enough, the story belongs to an Eastern, the legendary 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai and it is still every bit as good - after more than 40 years! Yul Brynner and Eli Wallach were already stars in their own right back then... but it launched the careers of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn and Horst Buchhoz in the biggest possible way. Also, it was German actor Buchholz's first American film, and there is not the slightest trace on an accent!
A small, poor Mexican village is periodically raided by bandits led by Calvera (Eli Wallach). The village's leaders travel to a town on the American border with the aim to buy guns - and men to use them - against Calvera and his men. There, they encounter a veteran gunman who calls himself Chris (Yul Brynner) who reluctantly agrees to help, subject to his being able to get men to help him. Eventually, he finds another six such men, although the pay offerred is a mere pittance.
As the story progresses, we learn that each of The Seven has a human side - excepting, possibly, Lee, (Robert Vaughn) the most complex of the whole bunch. He's a slick gunman who is slowly losing his nerve and knows it; and is sometimes plagued by nightmares as a result.
And then the farmers begin to have second thoughts as to whether their hiring the gunmen was really such a good idea after all...
Directed by John Sturgess, the colour photography is flawess - and Elmer Burnstein's action-packed musical score adds punch to an otherwise already great movie. The only downer is that it spawned thee highly inferior sequals that tried - unsuccessfully - to cover much of the same territory!
Akira Kurosawa's rousing Seven Samurai was a natural for an
American remake--after all, the codes and conventions of ancient
Japan and the Wild West (at least the mythical movie West) are not
so very far apart. Thus The Magnificent Seven effortlessly turns
samurai into cowboys (the same trick worked more than once:
Kurosawa's Yojimbo became Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars). The
beleaguered denizens of a Mexican village, weary of attacks by
banditos, hire seven gunslingers to repel the invaders once and for
all. The gunmen are cool and capable, with most of the actors
playing them just on the cusp of '60s stardom: Steve McQueen, James
Coburn, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn. The man who brings these
warriors together is Yul Brynner, the baddest bald man in the West.
There's nothing especially stylish about the approach of veteran
director John Sturges (The Great Escape), but the storytelling is
clear and strong, and the charisma of the young guns fairly flies
off the screen
|Country of origin:
||192 x 137 x 15mm (L x W x T)
Region 2. This DVD will play in all South African DVD players.
|| Widescreen 16:9 (1.78:1)
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