Quick Hit: One of the original team up movies predicating all the superhero team ups we currently have today.
There’s not too many genres of movies that I don’t like (ok, spoiler, I can’t think of any off the top of my head I don’t like at all). However, those that have tuned in to my reading once, or maybe at least twice, can easily see that I have my favorites. I love science fiction movies, I adore horror, and movie musicals hold a special spot in my heart. But one of the genres that has almost died off in the past few decades is the Western. We’ve done a few on the site (Hell or High Water could be considered a Western due to its motifs, and of course we did the terrific Huckleberried Tombstone), but in the overall representation, we are a bit lacking.
Therefore, it is my pleasure to bring to you, Dear Reader, a Western and its remake: The Magnificent Seven.
It’s ironic that we continue to talk about how Hollywood is only remaking films and not putting out original stories. I know that I have whined about it several times, and praised movies and films for their original ideas. But it’s interesting to note that it’s not like this is a new practice. Essentially, this movie in 1960 was a remake of a movie called Seven Samurai that came out in 1954. The only difference is that we obviously Americanized it, and made it a classic Western.
Like almost all good Westerns, the movie rests solely on the shoulders of its cast. Like maybe no other genre, Westerns rely on the heroes of the story to provide the variety of the dialogue, often because the villains are dying out too quickly to give you much. This one found two good ones in Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner (who was also in the original Westworld). You wouldn’t be able to tell it by watching the movie, but these two men fought constantly while on set, because Brynner felt as if McQueen was upstaging him. McQueen was constantly fidgeting in all his scenes, but there is a definite uptick when he shares the screen with Brynner. It’s a great dynamic, because both are charismatic, good-looking cowboys, but one is very stoic, while the other is more loose in behavior.
I think what really makes this movie is the vistas and the ride across the border, which essentially sets the tone for the whole film. It’s fun, despite the impending danger the men feel riding into such poor odds. The film is also not afraid to allow characters to die – which is something our current cinematic universes (at least in the comic book world) seem to forget.
The original Magnificent Seven is a classic Western that is a study of camerawork, as well as something that will present you with a tune that will not get out of your head for quite some time. I’m going to give it a “B”.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"