One fine day, Yul Brynner is in a movie theater watching The Seven Samurai, Akira Kurosawa's epic classic. He is so blown away that he immediately decides that it must be adapted for Hollywood and western audiences. This is how the Magnificent Seven was born. Once word got out that the movie was being made, Hollywood's biggest clamored for the roles. Actors cast include Charles Bronson (He cleans house!), James Coburn, Robert Vaun and Eli Wallach (also in the Good the Bad and the Ugly). Steve McQueen was originally unable to be in the film because he was working on something else. So he crashed a car and while "recuperating" he shot the Seven.
Anyway on to the film. This movie is about a Mexican village where the farmers are terrorized by local bandit Calvera (Wallach). He rides in with his gang and takes whatever he wants leaving the villagers just enough to live. Now if you saw this movie (Jake Willis is a stubborn jerk face), you will note that Calvera looks EXACTLY like El Guapo from the Three Amigos. Just a note.
So the villagers decide they are fed up with the situation and go to buy guns. They meet Chris Adams (Brynner) who convinces them it would be cheaper and more effective to buy gunmen. So he recruits 6 other guys and they go to protect the village. The first time Calvera comes he is driven off. But the victory is short lived. Some of the villagers have a weak stomach and their fear persuades them to turn on their seven protectors. Calvera drives them away, but like the good men the west was just full of, they return and drive off the bandits, killing Calvera in the process, though all but 3 of them die in the process.
So I enjoy this film very much. Great actors, great story, lots of action. And it is a more accessible version of the Seven Samurai, which, while brilliant, is a long and deliberate film. Favorite line:
Calvera: What I don't understand is why a man like you took the job in the first place, hmm?
Vin: It's like a fellow I once knew in El Paso. One day, he just took all his clothes off and jumped in a mess of cactus. I asked him the same question, "Why?"
Vin: He said, "It seemed to be a good idea at the time."
Some fun things about this movie. Although it is a western, three of the gunmen aren't "Western." Brynner was born in Russia, Bronson is Lithuanian and Horst is German. I think Bronson pulls it off best. Brynner's accent is just too strong and Horst is so freaking German that he can't move without it being really obvious.
Steve McQueen was constantly trying to upstage Brynner during the film. Any scene that includes the two of them will usually find McQueen playing with his hat, or make some kind of distracting action or gesture. Apparently it drove Brynner crazy.
Bronson's character Bernado, in my opinion, is the inspiration for Dusty Bottoms. He has kids following him around and asking about what they can do for him when he dies. I was hoping he would ask if there was anything else to eat besides Mexican food.
Anyway, good movie. So tell me what you think. Also, the August Movie of the Month Category (via Steve Snow Jr.) is Audrey Hepburn Movies. I am way excited. I have to admit I'm semi-obsessed with Audrey Hepburn. I consider her to be the Queen of Hollywood. If I have another daughter, probably gonna slip the name Audrey in there somewhere. Seriously if you have never watched one of her films then I am really excited for you. So I'm suggesting the film Wait Until Dark. Actually pretty scary with an evil Alan Arkin and Colonel Trautman. Let me know what Audrey Hepburn film you want to see and I'll have the poll up on August 1st.