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The Magnificent Seven
BLU-RAY disk
09.06.2011 By: Chris Bumbray
The Magnificent Seven order download
Director:
John Sturges

Actors:
Yul Brynner
Steve McQueen
Charles Bronson
Eli Wallach
James Coburn
Robert Vaughn

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An enigmatic gunman, Chris (Yul Brynner), defends an oppressed Mexican village from a bandit army, led by the cold-blooded Calvera (Eli Wallach). To help even the odds, Chris recruits six other gunmen; Vin (Steve McQueen) a virtuous sharpshooter yearning for a quiet life, Bernardo (Charles Bronson)- a perpetually broke gun-for-hire with a soft heart, Britt (James Coburn)- an expert with a knife or a gun, Lee (Robert Vaughn)- a hired killer on the run, Harry (Brad Dexter)- whoís convinced thereís money to be made somehow in the fight, and Chico (Horst Buchholz)- a hot-tempered kid with a chip on his shoulder.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
As far as remakes go, they donít get much better than THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. A western re-imagining of Akira Kurosawaís classic, THE SEVEN SAMURAI, John Sturgesí western epic is one of the few remakes to really stand on its own as a distinct work. I consider it the last great golden-age American western, with the genre petering out by the time it got a much needed shot of adrenaline with the Italian Spaghetti Westerns.

However, while itís a classical western, itís also distinct in that Sturges assembled an incredibly unique cast, most of who were unknowns at the time, but became stars in its wake. The only real star in the film was Yul Brynner, with this being his follow-up to THE KING & I, and ANASTASIA. Certainly, he cuts a far different western figure than someone like John Wayne or Alan Ladd. His ambiguous European accent, and completely shaven head- coupled with his head-to-toe black clothing are unique. Of course, good guys always wear black these days, but his Chris, whose background is never really revealed, is an anti-hero, in that itís obvious that heís a hired killer- trying to redeem himself somewhat by defending the village.

Brynnerís incredible, but Steve McQueen steals the show. This is mainly due to the fact that McQueen, relentlessly hogs the camera whenever he gets the chance. Keep an eye on him throughout the film, and youíll notice that whenever heís in a shot, heís never still. After this came out, McQueen became a star, and within a few years heíd be even more iconic than Brynner.

Charles Bronson and James Coburn had both been around for a while before SEVEN, but this really put them on the map and, along with McQueen, they both got juicy roles in John Sturges next epic, THE GREAT ESCAPE.

Of the SEVEN, the only actor who didnít go on to some kind of stardom was Brad Dexter, whoís best known these days for having been part of Frank Sinatraís entourage. SEVEN landed Robert Vaughn his signature role of Napoleon Solo in THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E, and Horst Buchholz went onto a long career in Europe, although for me heís the one link- as heís a tad too German to be playing a Mexican.

Other than Brynner, Eli Wallach was probably the biggest name in the cast, and itís not a stretch to assume his role as Calvera had a major influence on his part in THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY.

That said, the most memorable thing about THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is Elmer Bernsteinís immortal score, which is among the most recognizable themes in film history. Chances are, if youíve seen the film, youíre humming it right now. The cast, coupled with the direction and the score makes this a classic in anyoneís book.
THE EXTRAS
In terms of extras, we get a fantastic audio commentary featuring producer Walter Mirish, and stars Eli Wallach and James Coburn (this was recorded shortly before his death). It's a fun listen, and the fellas seem to be having a blast telling stories from the set. There's also a fun 45-minute documentary on the making of the film, which tells lots of juicy stories about McQueen's imagined rivalry with Yul Brynner (who took it in stride). There's also a featurette about Elmer Bernstein's iconic score, and a few trailers .
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
To me, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is a perfect film, and Iíve probably watched it at least half a dozen times in the last decade or so. I love it, and having it on blu-ray is a treat, as itís never looked or sounded better. For western fans, or just fans or good escapism, this is a no-brainer.
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8:05PM on 09/06/2011

Epic

Love this movie I'm a huge fan of Westerns, and this was one of the best. I'll be picking this up this weekend.
Love this movie I'm a huge fan of Westerns, and this was one of the best. I'll be picking this up this weekend.
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7:45PM on 09/06/2011

love the movie

and a great review as well
and a great review as well
Your Reply:



7:45PM on 09/06/2011

love the movie

and a great review as well
and a great review as well
Your Reply:



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