you hire men?"
Every year the Calvera (Brynner) gang terrorise and exploit
a small Mexican town just over the border but the villagers have had enough.
Gathering together everything of value that they own they head for America
to buy guns but when they meet Chris Adams (Brynner) he suggests that they
hire gunmen to solve their problem. Chris manages to gather together six
of best in Texas and the seven head for the village only to discover that
Calvera has gathered together an army.
When it comes to naming quintessential Westerns there are
a handful of films that will quickly roll off the tongue and 'The Magnificent
Seven' is definitely one of them.
In 1960 the western was still at its height in popularity
but when veteran cowboy director John Sturges gathered together his impressive
ensemble cast, history was made in the Wild West. After already directing
another classic in 'Gunfight at the O.K. Corral', Sturges keeps up his momentum
with another superb example of the genre in that time and one that would
instantly become a classic.
What the movie will be remembered for is the big name cast.
There are few occasions in the modern cinema when a movie will attract a
group of big name actors together for a project. With the big stars now
commanding huge individual fees, they now have to agree to make the movie
for no money and a cut of the profits to any kind of a big name cast. Under
the studio system of fifties and sixties however, this wasn't a problem
and you could gather together an all-star cast with no problems at all.
'The Magnificent' is prime example.
Leading the fight against the bandits is Yul Brynner as Chris
Adams. Even though you really can't visualise a hardened gunfight been called
Chris, Brynner is superb in the role. The legend that is Steve McQueen plays
honest drifter Vin, the man who is reliable in a fight and who will never
let you down. Robert Vaughn is the fugitive Lee, who is about crack under
the pressure of what he has done. Bernardo O'Reilly is Charles Bronson,
a gunfighter who is discovering his Mexican roots much to the amusement
of the village children. James Coburn is Britt, the deadliest of the seven
who is just as skilled with a knife as he is with a gun. Brad Dexter is
chancer Harry Luck, the man who is looking to make a quick buck from the
job. Hollywood newcomer at the time Horst Buchholz plays Chico, the young
wannabe who brings some humanity to the seven. Add to this another superb
performance from the brilliant Eli Wallach as the villainous Calvera and
you have a cast to die for.
While the movie does look overly clean with far too many bright
colours compared to the gritty, dirty and more realistic Westerns of the
modern era, it is the story for the 'Magnificent Seven' that rings true
and make it a true classic of the genre.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the
movie is presented well.
Audio Commentary by James Coburn, Eli Wallach, Walter Mirisch (Producer)
and Robert Relyea (Assistant Director)
The producer and assistant director join the two stars to provide a nostalgic
and fun commentary for the classic western. The group talk about working
with the director John Sturges, regaling you with stories from the set
and what it was like working with the renowned director. They also talk
about watching Akira Kurosawa's 'Seven Samurai' and how the classic Japanese
movie was transformed into the western that defined an era and began the
decline of the genre. The cast and characters are also discussed in detail,
as they remember what it was like on set and what each actor brought to
the production. This is a good commentary and one made all the more better
by the presence of the late, great James Coburn.
Elmer Bernstein and The Magnificent Seven (14.10 mins)
Film Music historian Jon Burlingame talks about how the score for the
movie redefined how music was used in movies. Highlighting the pieces
'After the brawl', 'The journey', 'Fiesta', 'Toro', 'Diner music', 'Petra
declaration', 'Calvera's return', 'Training', 'Crossroads', 'Harry's mistake',
'Calvera killed' and 'Finale', the featurette shows how the score captured
the true Americana of the movie and set the standard for every orchestral
score that followed.
The Linen Book: Lost Imagines from The Magnificent Seven (14.10 mins)
MGM Home Entertainment Photo Archives head Maggie Adams, assistant director
Robert Relyea and star Eli Wallach show you the original linen book from
the 1960 shot for the Magnificent Seven. A linen book is the studio's
collection of publicity and behind the scenes pictures taken during the
production of the movie and this was found in MGM's storage facility over
forty years after the film rapped. The featurette looks at images of Yul
Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Brad Dexter, Charles Bronson, Robert
Vaughn, James Coburn and Horst Buchholz and both the assistant director
and star regale you with stories from the set.
Guns for Hire: The Making of The Magnificent Seven (44.57 mins)
Executive producer Walter Mirisch, assistant director Robert Relyea, associate
producer Lou Morheim, screenwriter Walter Bernstein, composer Elmer Bernstein
and stars Yul Brynner, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Eli Wallach, Horst
Buchholz, Brad Dexter, John Alonzo and Rosenda Monteros are joined by
actor Chazz Palminteri, director John Carpenter and Lawrence Kasdan, Steve
McQueen's former wife Niele McQueen Torrel and Yul Brynner former wife
Doris Brynner come together to talk about 'The Magnificent Seven'. The
featurette is a collection of old and new interviews that chart the journey
of the film to the silver screen, from it origins in the Kurosawa classic
through to Anthony Quinn's involvement and then onto the final production.
We hear about the many changes to the script and the people writing it
and the impact the film had on the genre, as well as the many sequels
it produced. This is a good featurette that has many interviews with the
stars of the movie who have sadly passed away over the years.
View the 'original theatrical trailer', 'theatrical trailer Seven' and
the trailers to the sequels 'Return of the Magnificent Seven', 'The Guns
of the Magnificent Seven' and 'The Magnificent Seven Ride'.
View 'Behind the Scenes', 'Classic Production Art', 'Off the set', 'Portrait
Art' and 'Poster Art' galleries for the movie.
MGM have done a decent job with the collector's edition of 'The Magnificent
Seven'. With a very good commentary track and featurettes that are both
nostalgic and informative, fans of the movie should be pleased with the
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