The Magnificent Seven

Netflix: The Magnificent Seven:
Fed up with being brutalized and impoverished because of outlaw raids led by a merciless brigand (Eli Wallach), the besieged citizens of a small Mexican town hire seven American gunslingers to stave off the marauders once and for all. Badass Yul Brynner heads the band of mercenaries, which includes Hollywood luminaries Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Robert Vaughn. Elmer Bernstein penned the film's unforgettable score.
Perhaps because I recently watched the Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven tasted like a watered down version of a good story. The 'noble' gringos save the hat-in-hand Mexican villagers, using healthy dollops of that phony cowboy gallantry I discussed, briefly. These cowboys would never torture prisoners by stacking them into pyramids. In fact, they don't even seem concerned with prostitutes, only with 'upholding honor'. While that may be a noble goal for all of us to strive for, considered historically, I don't buy it as a motivation for these guys. The 7 Samurai version seems quite a lot more realistic. Perhaps it was a matter of chemistry:
According to Eli Wallach's autobiography, Yul Brynner had a major problem with what he perceived as Steve McQueen's trying to upstage him. According to Wallach, McQueen would do things when on screen with Brynner to draw attention to his character. Examples were his shaking of the shotgun shells and taking off his hat to check the sun during the hearse scene and leaning off his horse to dip his hat in the river when the Seven cross into Mexico. Brynner was supposedly so worried about McQueen stealing his limelight in scenes that he hired an assistant to count the number of times McQueen touched his own hat when he [Brynner] was speaking.

Magnificent Seven Whatever the reason was, the Magnificent Seven resembles nothing as much as a cartoon, Reader's Digest version of the vastly superior, Seven Samurai. I note that IMDB users rate the Mag Seven almost 8 out 10, so apparently I'm in a minority for considering this a mediocre film. Oh, and the vaunted soundtrack didn't do much for me either.


I had the same reaction--I found Mag Seven tepid at best, and The Wild Bunch is only slightly more interesting.

Strange how much laudatory press both Mag Seven and Wild Bunch received, compared to how little I enjoyed them. Seven Samurai also is the recipient of an incredible amount of positive praise, but well deserved in this case.

Could be a genre problem: I've never been a fan of Westerns outside the spaghetti ones. Perhaps I just don't "get" them, even those purported to be superior.

I'll agree: the majority of the westerns I've seen are dreck. But there are some good ones - Treasure of Sierre Madre comes to mind, or High Noon, even Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. Maybe because I grew up in Texas? has a list of some others, many of which I liked.

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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on October 1, 2005 9:00 PM.

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