The Magnificent Seven, a 1960 Western adaptation of Seven Samurai by renowned filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, is superb both in name and in execution. It’s a movie about respectable guys who are skilled at immoral acts who, out of a sense of duty, defend a tranquil agricultural community from an oppressive band of robbers. When it can be, it is humorous; when it should be, it is intense. While paying homage to Kurosawa’s work, director John Sturges creates a traditional Western that deviates from the conventions of the genre.
The Magnificent Seven’: Timeless Storytelling Done Right
The tranquil community that the movie begins on is hidden under a mountain range. A group of guys enter the hamlet, a rural town in Mexico, on horses. The guys, commanded by Calvera, are bandits who have been robbing the peasants of their harvests for years, leaving them with just enough to endure until the following season. The locals seize anything of value when Calvera and his men go and send three men across the border to purchase firearms. They run upon a gunman named Chris, who advises them to hire gunfighters as a more affordable and efficient alternative. He makes the decision to assist them and recruits Chico, Harry Vin, Bernardo O’Reilly, Britt, and Lee as more members.
As the guys arrive in the village. They start teaching the tranquil residents self-defense skills while also developing a bond with them. During their return, Calvera and his gang suffer severe casualties. Chris offers a surprise strike on Calvera’s camp to do the job when Chico discover. That Calvera still intends to raid the settlement. Nevertheless, the camp is deserted when they get there. They later learn that this is because Calvera and his men took over the town while they were gone.
Calvera orders the assailants to be led away while sparing their lives. An altercation starts as the gunmen decide to return to the village to free the residents. The villagers join in, fighting the robbers with everything they have available after observing the gunmen’s braver. Dedication to aiding them. When all is said and done, the robbers have been defeated. Chris has killed Calvera, and all but three of the shooters have perished. Chris and Vin are bid farewell by the village elder, but Chico decides to stay.
The cast of Seven is its most valuable asset. When seen in the context of their body of work, their performances are even more impressive. Brynner, who is portrayed from the outset as a guy who stands up for what is right, is the movie’s protagonist. He is seen personally bringing a local man’s body to a graveyard despite the desires of a hostile few. His Chris is passionate, a rapid draw who never falters. He has the conviction to convince others to join him. It is a great surprise to watch the actor succeed in a new role. He is most frequently known for his appearances in The King and I and Westworld.
Another surprise is McQueen. Who is more renowned for his icy intensity but is viewed here as a friendly wanderer and the first to support Brynner’s viewpoints. When he is on the screen, Wallach commands the audience’s attention and steals the show. His Calvera is a terrible guy whose moods may shift at a moment’s notice. His voice also changes quickly from amiable to intensely frightening. He contributes a lot to this part that can be observed in his more well-known performance as Tuco in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Key Elements Elevate ‘The Magnificent Seven’ Film
The film’s complementary mix of components that meld together naturally is one of its major merits. Elmer Bernstein’s music opens the picture with a stirring traditional Western theme that hints subtly to the film’s Oriental origins. The intriguing use of lighting by Sturges continues. The peasants are frequently lighted brilliantly, the bandits are lit dimly, and the gunmen are positioned in the centre, symbolising how their lives see their feet falling on both sides. Sturges also subverts expectations through costume.
Charlie, the nice man, is wearing a black outfit and the black cap that is typically worn by Western villains. Contrarily, Wallach’s Calvera dons a vivid crimson shirt that is typically linked with the exact antithesis of his persona. Sturges also makes the most of the set, examining every square inch of the community and using it to widen the scope of the gunfights.
Sight of the Story
Two passages in particular truly put the director’s skills on show. The first is the sight from the town’s anniversary celebration. It’s a magnificent, innocent event, with the hamlet decked up in colour and its residents jiving to the music. However, Sturges makes a fascinating choice to add a “buzz” when a young boy rushes in to alert Chri. That Calvera is approaching them. This makes the conversations about the impending danger audible but negatively affects the joyful noise of the celebration. As if a sonic blanket has been placed on the scene to muffle its joy.
A remark made by the villagers who were taken to the United States earlier in the movie is resolved in the second scene. They admit to Chris that they are gentle farmer.Who have never shot a gun in their lives, but every villager would fight with shovels, axes, or whatever els. That was available to them in order to defend the lives of the villagers. Fast-forward to the last gunfight, and sure enough. The villagers come out of hiding to fight their oppressors with shovels, axes, chairs, or anything else when they find that the shooters have returned as promised. It’s a touching turn of events that, strangely enough, blends in with the mayhem of the shooting.
Sum It Up!
The Magnificent Seven is a superb Western film that pays homage to Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai while deviating from genre conventions. The film follows a group of gunmen hired by a tranquil agricultural community to defend them against an oppressive band of robbers. The cast’s performances, the mix of complementary elements, and the director’s skills make this film a must-see.