|The Magnificent Seven
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- A richly enjoyable Western with a terrific Oscar-Nominated Musical Score...
John Sturges acquires a reputation as a solid director of superior Westerns filled with tense action scenes such as: "Escape From Fort Bravo," "Bad Day at Black Rock," "Backlash," "Gunfight At The O.K. Corral," "The Law and Jack Wade," "The Last Train From Gun Hill," "Sergeant Three," "The Hallelujah Trail," and one of the best of all Wyatt Earp movies, "Hour of the Gun."
He succeeds in one of the most exhilarating opening sequences of all Western movies, when he had McQueen and Brynner riding a hearse up legendary Boot Hill creating a mood and peril that never allow the slightest degree of viewer confusion or ennui... For Sturges, the West is a man's world, and his cool, hard, detached style, emphasizing action, excitement and the rugged environment of the frontier, endorses the point...
"The Magnificent Seven" is derived from Kurosawa's superb "The Seven Samurai," a compelling tale of intimidated and impoverished medieval villagers hiring mercenary warriors to repel bandit ravages... The villagers in this case are Mexicans, plagued beyond all bearing by the activities of bandit Calavera, who always leaves them on tortillas and few beans... Three of them cross the border to offer meager pay and sustenance for any professionally skilled fighting men who will aid them...
Yul Brynner is the man, dressed in black, with the luminous dome and the hypnotic Mongolian eyes who portrays the distinctive Chris Adams leader of the seven hired gunmen hired to chase some 'flies from a little Mexican village.'
Eli Wallach is memorable as Calvera, chief of the ruthless outlaws... He is greedy and merciless terrorizing without pity the poor peasants...
Steve McQueen gives a standout performance as the sardonic gunman ('We deal in lead, friend'), carrying appealing ease and sense of humor to his role as Vin, Brynner's first recruit and second-in-command...
Charles Bronson portrays Bernardo O'Reilly, who explains his curious name to Chris, with 'Mexican on one side, Irish on the other--and me in the middle!' Bronson, the strongest face in Western, and with a bit of Mexican in him--cunning face, steady eyes, revealing voice--the character of Bernardo O'Reilly suits him perfectly... This half-breed gunfighter becomes the conscience of the team... Because of his tender paternal instincts, he is adopted by three children who promise him, in case he falls, to bring him, every day, fresh flowers...
Robert Vaughn--who was to do nicely on TV in "The Man from Uncle" spy spoof-- plays Lee, the 'good gun' with black gloves and nightmares, living in style with no enemies alive...
Brad Dexter plays Harry Luck, Brynner's happy friend who returns to join the team convinced of the existence of a large amount of hidden gold...
James Coburn makes a big impression as Britt, the expert gunman who can out-draw a gun with his knife-throwing... His looks and vague figure of violence are quite a response for his few talks...
Horst Bucholz represents youth, eagerness, and the urge to be proved and sorted out from the boys... He was caught on the road by Rosenda Monteros...
Robert J. Wilke is Britt's insisting challenger who swells the ranks of the villains in many Westerns like "High Noon," "The Far Country," and "Man of the West."
The Magnificent Seven's success spawned three sequels: "Return of the Seven" (again starring Yul Brynner), "Guns of the Magnificent Seven" and, last and least of all, "The Magnificent Seven Ride."
With a terrific Oscar-Nominated Musical Score by Elmer Bernstein, "The Magnificent Seven" remains a richly enjoyable Western, shot on location in Morelos state, Mexico...
- 5 Star Movie Stuck in a 3 Star Collector's Edition
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is my favorite movie and has been for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) is a tremendous disappointment of the highest order. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn, Horst Buchholz and Eli Wallach deserved better. For a Two-Disc Edition you really get little of substance and the best what you do get was already on the Single-Disc Special Edition. In fact I recommend you keep your Single-Disc Special Edition and don't trade it in. The new extras on this Two-Disc Collector's Edition are examples of perfunctory editions with no respect for this magnificent film. This Two-Disc Collector's Edition's only saving grace is the All-New Audio Commentary with Film Historian Christopher Frayling. Frayling's insight and commentaries are truly magnificent. I may not agree with everything he has to say but he has backed his point of view up quite convincingly. Christopher Frayling is a bit of a bombastic authority on Westerns and I perhaps like his British point of view on American Westerns, so I listen to what he has to say. I just felt he underplayed the importance and missed the point of Yul Brynner's performance which was pivotal from my perspective. This Two-Disc Collector's Edition is an edition you should have. It just could have been done much better. Just look at the outstanding job that was done for ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.
- Great Movie, poor copy
This movie has taken on a life of it's own in the years since it's release. It and "7 Samuari" are nearly manditory viewing for anyone interested in mid 20th century cinema. Given all that, AND that this is a "Special Edition", you'd think that MGM would of taken some care in picking a cleaner master to create the DVD from. I can understand the trailers being a little rough, but the main feature is grainy, with dust specs, emulsion flakes/pinholes... Not unwatchable by any means, just annoying that a movie that is this important couldn't have gotten a good going over....more info
- Doesn't live up to its classic billing
The Magnificent Seven, a Western remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, is a good movie, but hardly the classic that many people would make it out to be. The simplistic plot delivers exactly what it should, but the film falls short in its character development, possibly because of the limits of a 2-hour running time.
A small early 1900s Mexican farming village has been pillaged for years by a group of bandits lead by a man named Calvera (Eli Wallach). When the bandits come through, the villagers are left with hardly enough food to feed half of them; but since they are a group of farmers, they have no way of protecting themselves from Calvera and his men. After consulting the village elder, they decide to look for a group of gunfighters to protect them.
Enter Chris Adams (Yul Brynner), a drifter through the plains of the Old West, with nothing to lose, and not much to gain except respect for himself. Three representatives from the village seek his help, and, having nothing better on his plate at the moment, he agrees and assembles a group of seven men to protect the village.
The cast is a veritable who's who of 1960s tough guy actors: Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn among others. All of these men can act, but there's just not enough time to give full weight to all seven of the gunfighters, and the film feels incomplete because of this.
Also, The Magnificent Seven has not aged particularly well since its initial release almost 45 years ago. It's hard to believe that around the turn of the century in a small farming village in Mexico, all of the people would be bilingual, and not only that, but some of them speak English so well that the only way we can tell that they are supposed to be Mexican is by their bodily characteristics.
Of course, any discussion of The Magnificent Seven is not complete without mentioning Elmer Bernstein's legendary score. It is the true star of the film, and it does not disappoint at all. All of this is not to say that the film does not have its merits - it's a very enjoyable popcorn-type movie - but, for me, it does not live up to its lofty billing. ...more info
- High Quality DVD collectors edition
For all fans of this great western and first time viewers, this is the version you want. The picture quality and sound are much improved. Clearly, the effort is evident the moment the movie begins, meaning, MGM gave The Magnificant Seven the proper attention that it deserves and the quality DVD upgrade fans were hoping for. Collectors Edition is the way to go....more info
- Wanted to Give it 5 Stars, BUT...
This movie was excellent, from the brassy music to the awesome cast and storyline (from The Seven Samurai. It is just too bad that there are at least three scenes that require the viewers to leave the room until they are over. All three of these feature a certain person, played by Horst Buchholz. They say that his character's name is Chico, but I prefer to call him the "Stupid Kid." He is the only damper on an otherwise perfect movie. It is a terrible shame, from his lovely appearance, as he stupidly follows the hearse, to his speech to the farmers about how cowardly they are, to his love affair with the stupid girl, to his ....oh I can't go on........more info
- a class act
I agree that the Seven Samurai is a great film but there's also something extremely magical about the Magnificent Seven. How can I put into words my love for this film? To put it simply: for western lovers, and lovers of great films, this is a real beauty to behold and cherish. Classic....more info
- Fantastic Entertaining Western! One of the Best ever made!
A true Classic! Excellent story, fast paced yet, slow enough for the viewer to learn character development. In my opinion, it has one of the best director's of westerns, John Sturges, with a musical score composed and directed by the best man ever to develop a musical score for a western, Elmer Bernstein. His music lends to the story and captures human emotion in every secene. The acting is superb by a veteran cast of the best actors to be assembled for a film, Yul Bryner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, to name a few.
The interviews are interesting and captivating on the second disk, and give you a good a idea of what it was like to work on this film.
Believe me, you won't regret buying this two disk version. An excellent edition to a film library. A great film that you can enjoy over and over again.
John E. Matty, Springfield, VA...more info
- A Classic Companion Movie
"The Magnificent Seven" will have more appeal to American audiences than its Japanese progenitor, "Seven Samurai," but is a pale shadow to the later. The main reason to own "The Magnificent Seven" is enjoy and learn the heritage of cinematography starting with Sergei Eisenstein ("Battleship Potemkin," "Alexander Nevsky," etc.) to Akira Kurosawa ("Seven Samurai," "Ran," etc.) Very good movies such as "The Magnificent Seven" stand on the shoulders of giants in the history of movies. The best reason to own this DVD is to compare it side by side with "Seven Samurai" in the uninterrupted space and time of one's own home....more info
- seven samuri: The farmers always win.
The magnificent seven parallel the characters in seven samurai: 1. Old man consults village leaders too fight the bandits and adventure to the city seeking men willing to protect the village 2. Vin and Chris decide take a funeral hurst, up a hill, and deliver the body of an indian chief at the burial site. An act of valour that brings fame to Chris. 3. Chico is the young man, who wants to be part of the group but humilated by Chris in a quick draw contest, where Chris grabs Chico gun midflow. 4. Harry Luck joins the fight believing that Chris is scheming to defend the village because Chris has discovered Gold. In the scene where Harry has been shot and dieing, he asks Chris how much gold was found and Chris tells him half a million dollars worth. 5. Bernardo O'Reilly joins the group referred by Harry as an expert gunfighter. 6. Britt is the expert weapons specialist. Britt kills a man in a duel after being provoked in the fight. Britt beats the man in a draw and lodges his switch blade in the chest of the man before he can pull his weapon. Britt is the expectionally skilled fighter. The weapons specialist. Vin is also an exceptional clever gunfighter with a trade mark ability to shot in 360 degrees almost instanteously. 7. Lee joins the group and is supposely on the running from his enemies. Lee figures staying in Mexico will provide him a hiding place from his enemies. Lee is impartial to the villagers cause, but an exceptional fighter. In one scene Lee manages to kick in a door, enter, and kill a room full of bandits with injurying any of the villagers. Lee is killed in the last standoff. 8. Chico discovers Petra and falls in love with her. After the last battle with the bandits, Chico returns to live with Petra in the village. Chico is the son of a farmer and not really a gunfighter but his boldness and courage win him a place among the magnificent seven 9. Chris is offensive and attacks the bandit hide out increasing the odds of survival. 10. Some of the farmers want to meekly give the bandits food, money, and women. Chris refuses this idea and teaches the villagers how to shoot guns. 11. Calvera is a new innovation in villians. Calvera is clever and whitty. Calvera underestimates Chris determination too defend the village and as he is dieing says, "I don't understand, your not suppose to be that type of man."...more info
- Classic Western
Based off the Japanese 7 Samurai story. This movie has a great blend of characters with good acting and a great soundtrack. Classic western and among the favorites of many people who enjoy the genre.
- Magnificent Seven VHS
I was looking for a VHS for the subject film for a very specific reason. I received an excellent copy as described by the seller. I received it on schedule to meet my specific need.
Marvin Krotenberg...more info
- A classic museum piece
Seeing some stars from my youthful moviegoing at the peak of their careers almost always gives me a pleasant twinge of nostalgia. On that level, The Magnificent Seven works well, but only for about 30 minutes. After that, the load of Hollywood hokum that was injected into what was already a pretty uninspired job of writing and directing gets in the way. As others have noted, it's jaw-droppingly unlikely that a vicious bandito will turn loose a handful of gringos who have just slaughtered half the bandito's crew. And why does James Coburn need to nap at every opportunity, and why does he take a switchblade to a gunfight? Why is Robert Vaughn taking on a task for which his cowardice makes him unsuited? And why do three kids for no apparent reason adopt, and ultimately cause the death of, Charles Bronson -- how come no one else gets a retinue? How is it that Horst Buchholz can amble into the banditos' camp without being spotted as an outsider? The answers are of course that these sorts of illogical dramatic expediencies where part and parcel of moviemaking until fairly recently. Today's clich¨¦s involve computer-generated effects, I guess....more info
- Some thoughts on a classic film
Last year, a theater in Manhattan was doing a retrospective of United Artists films. I decided to see "The Magnificent Seven" again on the big screen. Seeing it left me with a stange feeling of sadness.
This film was released in 1960. At the time, Yul Brynner was still a superstar and Eli Wallach was a fairly established actor. The rest of the cast were still young and fresh. Steve McQueen was still doing "Wanted-Dead or Alive" on TV. He was still three years away from superstardom with "The Great Escape." Charles Bronson would continue guest-starring on shows like "Combat" and "The Fugitive," as well as appearing in supporting roles in popular epics like "The Great Escape," "Battle of the Bulge" and "The Dirty Dozen" He would not become a massive superstar until "Death Wish" in 1974. Coburn also did tv and supporting roles in films like "Americanization of Emily" and "Charade." He became "Our Man Flint" in 1965. Robert Vaughn became "The Man from UNCLE" in 1964. Now, with the exception of Vaughn and Wallach, they are all gone. It seems sad.
The thing that always surprises me about this film is that despite having a great action director in John Sturges, (one of my favorites,) the action scenes are really quite average. Other than McQueen flying through the air firing his pistol, there really isn't anything spectacular about the action sequences. The deaths of Bronson, Vaughn and Coburn, (gee I hope I haven't given anything away,) are especially uninteresting. One minute Coburn is shooting, the next minute he is shot, we don't even actually see him hit. I love so many of Sturges' films, especially "The Great Escape "and "Ice Station Zebra," however the action scenes really are disappointing.
I watched the deluxe dvd last night with the audio commentary by film historian, Sir Christopher Frayling. The commentary was good, although I did enjoy his commentary on the dvd of "Once Upon a Time in the "West" musch better. How Frayling could fail to mention once Sturges' all-time classic "The Great Escape" is beyond me. The dvd has a nice retrospective and some other featurettes including one on Elmer Bernstein who composed the magnificent music for this film and "The Great Escape" (as well as two great Duke Wayne scores "The Sons of Katie Elder" and especially, "The Comancheros."
I enjoyed watching the dvd again. It brought me back to a time, 1960, when show-biz legends like McQueen and Bronson were just beginning. It also brought me back to a time when American school children were still being taught American history in our schools and not just being taught to hate their own country. If only we could return to that time again....more info
- One of the better US-style westerns
Looking back at westerns in a 21st century point of view, sometimes we tend to look to into the acting and production styles of a different era. Our opinions may jump quickly at these differences, but we must recognize the style of the era and the technology up to the era as well. In Sturges' The Magnificent Seven, an all-star cast is assembled to bring the Seventh Samurai in a western setting. The ones that stand out are Yul Brynner as Chris, the Bald-Headed leader that still carries himself like a king. He never takes his hat off and doesn't break a sweat. Steve Mcqueen in an earlier role is memorable as well with his non-verbal acting. To me though, Eli Wallach shines as Calvera the "heel" with more liberty to exhibit more flair than the rest of the cast. He plays his role so good that in the end, I always root for him.
This DVD has additional features such as the making of the movie and trailers and commentary. I think what interesting that is featured in the making of portion, is the little conflict between Brynner and Mcqueen. Brynner being the real only established star and McQueen the hungry newcomer attempting to steal a scene or two. Interviews with Wallach and James Colburn are also a treat.
A remake, but a memorable one nonetheless....more info
- Good, but not as Great as the reputation
This classic western was one that I found myself wanting to love as much as the original Seven Samurai. It highlights the launching of Brynner, Bronson and McQueen's stars in a story of seven down on their luck gunslingers banding together to protect a small village from a group of bandits.
The movie fell flat twice, perhaps because I had seen the Seven Samurai first:
- The characters lacked the emotional intensity of the original seven.
- The conflict of Gunslingers versus Farmers did not play out nearly as well as Samurai versus Farmers. It seemed very forced, and should have either been left out or adapted.
In the end I felt this is a poor imitation. I'll grant that I might have felt differently if I watched this one first. Although it has stood the test of time, I'd have a hard time giving it the fifth star when I'd prefer a Clint Eastwood movie to the sequel....more info
- Best Score for a movie....EVER!!
I don't care what anyone says about this movie...here's the real poop.......This is a fantastic movie with an unbelievable cast and the best score ever written...except for "Gone With The Wind". I've grown up with this movie and it just gets better and better. If you love westerns, this is the definitive movie for you....more info
- Way Too Hackneyed
Okay, I realize I'm bordering on blasphemy by not liking THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Many who know a heck of a lot more about the genre than moi claim it to be the "greatest Western ever." (I will maintain 'til they shovel dirt over me that "Lonesome Dove" is the greatest Western ever, but that's a topic for another time.) I had never had the opportunity to watch this film until I ran across it late one evening on public television, so I seized the chance to experience the "greatest Western ever."
Given the melodrama, banality, and over-the-top acting so prevalent in films at the time, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN still requires a suspension of disbelief unhindered by the cosmos themselves. Yul Brynner. . .in a Western? As King of Siam or Pharaoh of Egypt, sure; but not as a grim-faced leader of six thugs and misfits on horseback. Too often, as I watched Brynner turn to his sidekick in this film (Steve McQueen), I expected him to say, "So let it be written, so let it be done!" I guess my point is (if there is a point to any of this), if the viewer is constantly putting the lead character into other roles more suitable while watching a film, the film itself becomes unsuitable.
As to the ensemble of the "Seven," the guys never meshed, in my view. Charles Bronson was too bizarre while Brad Dexter too plain and James Coburn should have taken an extra couple of visits to the buffet line on the set. The prim and proper Robert Vaughn comes across as the Donald Trump of cowboys (which means his character is a howler), and I never was able to figure out if Horst Buchholz was supposed to be Hispanic, American, European, or extra-terrestrial.
Fact is, I never was able to figure out what all the hoopla was (and is) surrounding this film.
For Westerns to be engaging, the actors have to seamlessly take the viewer into the story. . .make him or her care what happens. Instead, with THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, I spent too much time guffawing. Sorry, Western lovers, this film was way too contrived and hackneyed for me. Maybe if Yul Brynner had been driving a chariot. . .
--D. Mikels, Author, WALK-ON & THE RECKONING...more info
- ONE OF THE GREAT WESTERNS
THE SEARCHERS HIGH NOON RIO BRAVO RED RIVER AND M7 5 GREATEST WESTERNS EVER MADE....more info
- Style --- in spades
Contrary to Horton's statement in his lack-lustre review of this film, one of the major factors that makes it one of the greatest and most seminal Westerns is precisely its sense of style. Many of the scenes seem to be choreographed, almost like ballet, with the actors performing stylized movements, in set pieces, reminiscent of Eisenstein's films. Heads move in unison, or in sequence; the actors are carefully placed in the framework; they move almost like dancers, so that the whole film has a rhythmic, formal quality which, imho, makes it almost unique, and especially memorable. Many of the scenes are unforgettably iconic: Bronson chopping wood; Robert Vaughn catching his one fly, and sliding down with his mouth against the adobe wall; Brynner coming from nowhere, back there, and heading nowhere, forward. The dialogue is also admirably laconic: "the worst"; "haw, haw, haw"; "you lost"; "no enemies --- alive"; "Florrie won't believe this"; "time was I'd have caught all three"; "the farmers always win". As remarked in the very interesting special features section, the themes are timeless, and given outstanding expression in this drama. The world divides into farmers and cowboys, classic and romantic, ancient and modern; winners and losers. Romance = death and loss; the plodding peasant survives, and carries on. Like Bronson says, it may be braver to accept responsibility, and carry the burden. I have to agree, however, with the reviewer who noted that the Buchholz character is incredibly irritating, throughout. Still, in a way this flaw somehow makes the rest of the ensemble even better. ...more info
- Seven Icons Riding South West.
The film's director, John Sturges, has done several great action movies as "Ice Station Zebra" (1968) and "The Eagle Has Landed" (1976) but no one so good and compelling as "The Magnificent Seven" (1960) and "The Great Escape" (1963).
These two earned him a well deserved reputation.
This film profits from great characterizations performed by (now) well known actors: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, Brad Dexter, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and Horst Buchholz. This was a pivotal point in their career; except for Brynner that was well know by that time.
All of them flesh their characters with great skill, depicting a hardboiled bunch.
The story is a transposition of Akira Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai" from middle ages' Japan to America's South West. Nothing is loosed with the change. All the film breathes an epic struggle. A small Mexican village is periodically harassed by bandits. The villagers are nearing starvation and desperation but they have no fighting skills to defend themselves. So as a last resort they decide to hire "protection".
Chris Adams (Yul Brynner) is able to round up a group of border "desperados" to put a stop, against overwhelming odds, to the marauders leaded by Calvera (an anthological Eli Wallach).
A real treat for western's & action fans, but also for those who want to see an unforgettable "Classic".
Enjoy the trip!
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
- "I got nominated real good."
It's said that Akiro Kurosawa studied the themes of American Westerns in preparation for creating his classic THE SEVEN SAMURAI. If that is true, then John Sturges' Hollywood remake, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, is a prodigal child come home.
The Magnificent Seven are recruited by a group of Mexican villagers to protect them against the depredations of the bandit Calvera (Eli Wallach) and his gang. Wallach finds the heart of Calvera's character in just a few short scenes, being alternately cruel, ironic, and deprecating. Despite sounding a bit like a Brooklyn version of Pancho Villa, Wallach does a splendid job.
The leader of the Magnificent Seven is Chris (Yul Brynner), the quintessential "Man in Black." Nothing fazes Chris who remains rock steady and remote throughout the film. The rest of the cast is a veritable Who's Who of graduates from the Clenched Jaw School of Acting. Steve McQueen is Vin, a jaded, but slightly wry gunfighter who yearns for a settled life. James Coburn is Britt, laconic to the point of sphinxism, who is a dangerous as a snake with both knife and gun. Charles Bronson is Bernardo O'Reilly, stolid, deadly, and unaccountably gentle. Robert Vaughn is Lee, the Riverboat Gambler gunslinger who has secretly lost his nerve. Brad Dexter, the only unremembered actor in the cast, plays Harry Luck, avaricious but principled. And Horst Buchholz plays Chico, the Young Turk, upstart, and boy-into-man with a chip on his shoulder, who admires the rest and strives to live up to them. At first excluded from the group, Chico slowly proves his mettle, and in the end matures past his need to prove anything.
The acting quality is uniformly excellent. The implicit toughness and uniform taciturnity of the actors set a standard for Westerns that later films have never exceeded. Scored with now-legendary music by Elmer Bernstein (aka "The Marlboro Man Theme") and shot on location in Mexico, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was released just as Westerns were falling into decline. In many ways, this film represents the best, but last gasp of the genre.