The Magnificent Seven
Screening: 24 April 2006
SynopsisA small Mexican village is visited periodically by a violent gang who steal their crops. This jeopardises their survival and the demoralised peasants decide to fight back. Realising that they need help, several of the villagers set out to find men whose guns are for hire. They have very little to offer as inducement to fight, and maybe die, in defence of their village but luck is with them and they find Chris Adams (Brynner). He, in turn, knows where to find his own kind, although the first to join him is a stranger, the extremely cool Vin (McQueen). The recruitment of the other five is interesting in that it gives each man a distinctive character and some of the best one-liners in the script.
Everyone will have a favourite scene but who can forget Britt (James Coburn) unfolding his long limbs to meet the challenge of a gunslinger's taunts. His laconic 'You lost' over the body of his dead opponent tells you all you need to know about his minimal approach to life, and death. With the arrival of Chico (Buchholz) a wild youth who wants desperately to be accepted by this experienced band of six, they are set to become The Magnificent Seven.
As they ride together the music (composed by Elmer Bernstein) swells - de de dedde dededededede - come on, you do know it - and you will be stirred.
When the bandit leader Calvera (Wallach) launches his next attack he is repelled. The surprise resistance of the villagers, together with the gunslingers, means that he is forced to leave empty handed. He vows to return and now the seven face a tough decision. Their own code of honour means they must stay and fight - but at what cost to themselves.
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Film FactsThe Magnificent Seven is a remake of the Japanese film The Seven Samurai. This film, written and directed by Akira Kurosawa, was released in 1954.
On 22 May 2006 we are screening Yojimbo also by Akira Kurosawa - another of his films which became the inspiration for many great western.
The Magnificent Seven was filmed in Mexico.
The character played by Steve McQueen was not in the original storyline but director John Sturges decided he wanted an 'oddball' to set off against the others and so Vin was created.
Yul Brynner was married on the set. The celebration used many of the same props as the fiesta scene.
Mexican censors required the peasants to always wear clean clothes.
A young Gene Wilder auditioned for the role of Vin.
After Chris delivers the final line, Vin and Chris turn around and ride over the hill - Chris is riding on the right. After a brief cut away, the camera returns to them riding into the distance - Chris is now on the left.