“The old man was right, only the farmers won. We lost, we always lose.” – Chris Adams.
Western movies don’t get a whole lot better than The Magnificent Seven. The retelling of Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai by John Sturges is absolutely riveting. If there is a difficulty for a modern audience approaching the western it is that the classic western takes time to develop an actual story and there is no CGI to create absolutely impossible events take place. In The Magnificent Seven people die, good people, bad people, villains and heroes.
The Magnificent Seven is a simple story of a small Mexican town that hires a group of gunmen to protect them from a raider named Calvera who routinely pillages the village to support his gang. The story is broken into three parts which make for effective story telling and a great technique for building a tension which lasts almost all the way through to the epilogue sequence. Yul Brenner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn and James Coburn – it sounds like an impressive cast because it is an impressive cast. The remarkable thing about the cast is that not all of them were well known when they were cast in their respective parts. The talent assembled makes a good script absolutely sing. That is not to say there aren’t some weaknesses in the movie. Horst Buchholz who plays the young gun Chico brings a whole new meaning to the term overacting. Brad Dexter as Harry Luck must have thought he was the most underutilized actor in the movie.
For a movie with so few weak spots it might seem odd that one of the most outstanding features is the musical score. Elmer Bernstein’s Academy Award winning score of The Magnificent Seven is one of the most instantly recognizable scores in movie history. The Magnificent Seven is a must add to your DVD collection as one of the most entertaining, well acted and well directed westerns to ever hit the silver screen.