The Magnificent Seven (1960)

The Magnificent Seven
Directed by John Sturges
Written by William Roberts
(number 225)

Richard came by to watch this movie with Blair and me.

Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Charles Bronson head up a posse of awesomely cool dudes to protect a poor Mexican farming town being menaced by a gang. It’s a remake of The Seven Samurai, and it was again remade as Battle Beyond the Stars, The 13th Warrior, Galaxy Quest, The Three Amigos! and A Bug’s Life

It’s a good story. As Blair sagely observed, good stories will always be with us, reincarnated and told differently.

Richard pointed out that the guns they use are appropriate for the time period. I like the movie because the characters are clever and funny, and the action is legitimately exciting. My favourite character introduction possibly ever for film is James Coburn’s napping cowboy being called on to prove how fast his knife throwing is. He’s like, the essence of cool, and he shows off his impressive skills at the same time.

The film is rather long, and we had a brief intermission while Richard took a call and I hung out my laundry, and not all of the movie is riveting. However these old Westerns work best with a bit of ‘breathing time’ and I wouldn’t trade in the down time moments for anything. The hired cowboys bonding with the children of the village, or falling n love with a girl, having nightmares, it’s all colour for their characters and I’m happy to have it.

Does it make me love the people? They’re hard men, happy to kill without much remorse, but they’re doing such a good thing – going and keeping the bandits away from poor honest farming folk who just want to work the land, etc etc. So yes, it does.

Bechdel test: Nope, only one named female character, and she’s the beautiful love interest – albeit a spunky type one.

Best line:

Petra: He said he’d punish me for being salacious but I don’t care.

Calvera: Generosity… that was my first mistake. I leave these people a little bit extra, and then they hire these men to make trouble. It shows you, sooner or later, you must answer for every good deed.

State of Mind: it’s long but good. It’s essential viewing. It’s awesome if you like Westerns.


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