Monday, February 1, 2016

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Director: John Sturges

Writer: William Roberts

Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Starring: Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn, Jorge Martinez de Hoyos, Vladimir Sokoloff, Rosenda Monteros, Rico Alaniz, Horst Buchholz, Robert J. Wilke, Val Avery, Whit Bissell, Bing Russell

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  Once You've Met Them...You'll Never Forget Them.

Plot:  An oppressed Mexican peasant village assembles seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.

My rating: 9/10

Will I watch it again?  Yup.

LEVEL OF BADASSICITY (10 being the highest): 9

Great flick.  Despite the sometimes cheesy things Chris (Brynner) does, almost all of which is from the beginning until the group sets off on their mission, it's a rock-solid action adventure Western that hits on everything you would expect.  Its got its fair share of cliches but they're far from eye-rollers and they work well for what it is.  It's exciting and funny and it's got an amazing cast, most of which get to shine a few times.  It's hard to believe that at the time Brynner was the biggest star of them all.  In just a few short years many of the rest would become household names.  Elmer Bernstein's score transcended the film and went on to represent the Western genre in the decades since.  This one is truly one of the all time great Westerns and Sturges did a hell of a job with this ensemble cast.  I've seen this one many times over the years but I've yet to see any of the three sequels.  I should do something about that.  The damn things have been sitting on my shelf for years.

Bronson is great and it's easy to see how he would become one of the top stars in the world a decade or so later.  At 39 he's one of the old cats in the film but you'd never know it.  There's a rumor (started right here) that Bronson was such a badass that it caused a tremendous amount of jealousy among the cast and crew.  Women begged daily for his essence.  The men, lead by McQueen and Brynner (not so much Brynner because he had a warehouse full of testosterone that no one else had access to), revolted and all charged Bronson after a long day of shooting.  Bronson cleaned their clocks and how.  Unfortunately a few women jumped into the mix and got served a few knuckle sandwiches themselves.  Bronson doesn't discriminate.  The next day everyone was in line, now knowing their place in Bronson's universe and the picture finished not only early, but under budget.  McQueen donated some of his salary to Bronson's charity, Bronson's Beauties. 

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