The Magnificent Seven


2h 6m 1960
The Magnificent Seven

Brief Synopsis

Seven American gunmen hire themselves out to protect a Mexican village from bandits.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Magnificent Six
Genre
Action
Western
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Nov 1960
Premiere Information
New York and Los Angeles opening: 23 Nov 1960
Production Company
Alpha Productions; The Mirisch Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
Mexico and United States
Location
Japan; Mexico City,Mexico; Mexico City--Estudios Chrubusco,Mexico; Oacalco, Morelos, Mexico; Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico; Tepoztlan,Mexico
Screenplay Information
Based on the Japanese film Shichinin no samurai , written by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni (Toho Company, Ltd. 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 6m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
14 reels

Synopsis

When ruthless bandit leader Calvera and his forty men raid the Mexican village of Ixcatlan for food and goods, the villagers, used to Calvera's harvest-time plundering, keep quiet with the exception of one outraged farmer, whom Calvera summarily shoots. After the banditos leave, the villagers, barely able to survive on what remains but unable to fight the banditos, seek the advice of the old man, a village elder, who tells them to buys guns at the border and learn how to use them. When the three-man delegation from Ixcatlan led by Hilario arrives at a border town to buy guns, they are awed by gunslingers Chris and Vin, who offer to drive a carriage carrying the body of an Indian through town when the funeral director refuses to transport it for fear of the bigoted citizens' reprisals. After witnessing Chris and Vin easily outdraw the angered townsmen as they make their way to the graveyard, the delegation asks Chris to buy guns for them, explaining that the Mexican rurales cannot guard the village from Calvera's repeated plundering. Chris instead offers to round up a team of gunmen, even though the villagers can only afford to pay $20 pay for six weeks' work. As word spreads, young, impetuous Chico, inspired by Vin and Chris's triumphant carriage ride, asks for the job, but is humiliated when he fails Chris's test to determine if Chico is a quick draw. Soon after, jovial gold hunter Harry Luck, assuming that there must be some hidden treasure which the other gunslingers will split, joins the team, as well as Vin and the brawny war veteran O'Reilly. The next day, Chris watches as expert knife-thrower and gunslinger Britt easily wins a draw with a deadly knife throw and considers him for the team. At a bar that night, an enraged Chico holds Chris at gunpoint and orders him to draw, but Chris quietly refuses the challenge until the boy collapses from drunkenness. Soon after Britt joins the group, the well-dressed but destitute Lee offers his services in attempt to regain his nerve, which he has lost while on the run from his enemies. Days later, as the delegation, joined by the six gunslingers, rides toward Ixcatlan, they notice Chico following and Chris, softened by the young man's resolve, finally motions for him to join them. When they are greeted with silence as they enter the village, Chris accepts the villagers' fearful reluctance, but Chico angrily rages at them for their cowardice. The next day, the seven attend a town celebration and notice that all the village women are missing. Soon after, Chris learns that three of Calvera's men are nearby and sends Britt and Lee to bring the men back alive. However, Chico ruins the plan by shooting one of the banditos, forcing Britt to kill the second and third men, who were fast escaping on horseback. When an amazed Chico compliments him on his long-distance shot, an irritated Britt tells him that it was "the worst. I was aiming for the horse." Later at the village, Chris observes that Calvera probably sent the men ahead to scout for the coming raid and reassures the villagers that they will have time to train before Calvera's men arrive in force. Over several days, the seven use the dead men's weapons to coach the farmers in how to shoot. One afternoon, Chico catches the strident young Petra, who is spying on him as he tests his bullfighting skills against a tame farm animal, and learns that the villagers have hidden their women for fear of the gunslingers raping them. After warning the village men that the women have more to fear from Calvera than from the gunslingers, Chris orders Chico to bring the women back. That night Petra and others petulantly serve the men food, but when the seven learn the village is starving on a few meager beans, they give their servings away. The next day, after the boys on guard signal that the enemy is approaching, Chris, Britt and Vin stand in the middle of town to meet Calvera, who does not flinch at finding gunslingers there. Instead, he offers to share the village spoils with the seven in exchange for standing down, but when Chris orders him to "ride on," a gunfight erupts. Unprepared for the onslaught, Calvera and his men try to escape but are trapped by newly built nets and rock walls erected by the villagers, thus enabling the villagers and gunslingers to pick off many of the banditos. That night, as the mild-mannered Sotero and other villagers toast the seven on their success, shots interrupt the jubilant occasion, forcing Chris to send O'Reilly, Vin and Sotero to track the sharpshooters. While searching for the men, Sotero tells Vin that he is committed to protecting his family, and Vin openly envies Sotero's bond with his family, which neither he nor the other six have. Meanwhile, disobeying her father's orders against talking to the gunslingers, a love-struck Petra begs Chico to be careful. Later that night, Chico, wanting to prove himself to the others, touts the gunslinger lifestyle as the stuff of legends. While Chris reminds them, as hired gunmen, they are beholden to no one, Vin laments that he has no family and Lee adds that they have no enemies, because they are dead. When Lee awakens screaming from a nightmare about his enemies, two villagers reassure him that "only the dead are without fear." Meanwhile, three young boys adopt the Mexican-Irish O'Reilly, promising that they will avenge his death and put flowers on his grave if he should die in battle. Harry is convinced that the villagers must be hiding ancient treasure, which is rumored to be buried in the nearby mountains. Believing that this is the real reason for Calvera's return, Harry tries to entreat the village men into gambling. Meanwhile, Chico, hiding his face under a sombrero, infiltrates the Calvera camp and surprises the six when he reports back that Calvera will attack soon because his men are starving. The villagers fight among themselves about whether to surrender to save their families, while Chris argues with his men about their chance of success. Later, Chico boasts to Petra about his new life as a roving gunslinger, but his resolve quickly weakens as she kisses him. That evening, after Chris and his men find the Calvera camp empty when they attempt to steal their horses, the seven return to the village and are immediately surrounded by Calvera's men, who have been tipped off by the cowardly Sotero. Although he could easily kill them, Calvera decides to spare their lives to avoid alerting the United States police to his operation. After publicly ordering them to leave their guns, Calvera quietly offers to return the weapons once the seven are out of town and asks why they became involved with the villagers, unable to believe the gunslingers would have any motivation other than money. As he lays down his gun, Vin cryptically explains with a joke: When someone asked a man why he threw himself into a prickly pear cactus, the man simply replied that it "seemed to be a good idea at the time." Before the seven leave, O'Reilly explains to his boys that they should respect their fathers, who are brave to carry the burden of family responsibility, something O'Reilly has never had the courage to do. That night, after the seven are escorted out of town and given their guns, Chico explodes in anger about the villagers' betrayal, but Chris reminds him that his hatred stems from being the son of just such a Mexican villager. The next day, after Harry, tired of fighting without the hope of riches, leaves the group, the remaining six ride into town and begin a shootout with the banditos. Wounded, Vin drags himself into a store, while Harry, having changed his mind, rides into town and is shot. Following Vin, Chris drags Harry into the store, where he soothes the dying man with a story of imaginary riches. Meanwhile, Lee finally draws and shoots four of Calvera's men, but is then killed. Spurred by the seven's sacrifice, the villagers, including the women, come out of hiding and beat Calvera's men with every chair and stick available. Meanwhile, Chris wounds Calvera, who, with his dying breath, continues to express his disbelief that the seven had any reason to return. After Britt takes out four banditos with perfectly aimed shots, he dies from a wound sustained in the battle. O'Reilly's boys find their hero, who begs them to emulate their fathers, then dies from a wound suffered before their young eyes. By the end of the battle, the remaining banditos are finally driven from town, but the old man sagely announces to those remaining of the seven, Chris, Vin and Chico, that only the farmers have won. As they ride out of town, the astute Chris turns to Chico, tells him "adios" and watches as Chico returns to Petra, for whom he lays down his holster. As they pause to look back on the village, Chris tells Vin that the old man was right, only the farmers have won, not the gunslingers, who will always lose.

Photo Collections

The Magnificent Seven - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from The Magnificent Seven (1960). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

Magnificent Seven, The (1960) - You Lost Chris (Yul Brynner) and Vin (Steve McQueen) are seeking recruits when they find taciturn Britt (James Coburn), dealing with a cocky cowpuncher (Robert Wilke), in director John Sturges' version of a famous scene from Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, in The Magnificent Seven, 1960.
Magnificent Seven, The (1960) - Like A Good Father The first and probably the best scene for villain Calvera (Eli Wallach), his band arriving in the village, abusing brave Sotero (Rico Alaniz), early bits of Elmer Bernstein's score, opening John Sturges' remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, 1960.
Magnificent Seven, The (1960) - Now We Are Seven Chris (Yul Brynner) and mercenaries (Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter) arrive in the Mexican village, meet the "Old Man," (Vladimir Sokoloff), tag-along Chico (Horst Buchholz) finally earns his membership, in John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven, 1960.
Magnificent Seven, The (1960) - You Learn Fast Jobless Vin (Steve McQueen) blows his stake at the saloon, then meets acquaintance Chris (Yul Brynner) and the Mexican farmers, making slow progress hiring men to guard their village, in John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven, 1960.
Magnificent Seven, The (1960) - I Got Nominated Undertaker Whit Bissell can't get anybody to drive the hearse bearing an Indian to Boot Hill, Chris (Yul Brynner) and Vin (Steve McQueen) volunteer, Chico (Horst Buchholz) and the Mexicans (led by Jorge Martinez de Hoyas) cheering them on, early in John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven, 1960.
Magnificent Seven, The (1960) - Very Young, Very Proud Chris (Yul) Brynner recruiting guns for the Mexican farmers led by Hilario (Jorge Martinez de Hoyas), receiving first impetuous Chico (Horst Buchholz), then savvy Harry (Brad Dexter), in John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven, 1960.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
The Magnificent Six
Genre
Action
Western
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Nov 1960
Premiere Information
New York and Los Angeles opening: 23 Nov 1960
Production Company
Alpha Productions; The Mirisch Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
Mexico and United States
Location
Japan; Mexico City,Mexico; Mexico City--Estudios Chrubusco,Mexico; Oacalco, Morelos, Mexico; Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico; Tepoztlan,Mexico
Screenplay Information
Based on the Japanese film Shichinin no samurai , written by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni (Toho Company, Ltd. 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 6m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
14 reels

Award Nominations

Best Score

1960

Articles

Behind the Camera (11/9)


The Magnificent Seven was shot on location in Cuernavaca, Mexico and at the Estudios Churubuscos Aztecas in Mexico City. Shooting there meant clearing the script through the Mexican censors, who demanded numerous changes to present the story's locale and Mexican characters in the best possible light. One thing they insisted on was that the farmers be shown wearing clean clothes in every scene.

For the film, Yul Brynner studied shooting and the quickdraw method with Rodd Redwing, a Native American who had taught many other Hollywood actors, including co-star Steve McQueen.

Stars Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen feuded throughout shooting. Brynner felt, quite rightly, that since he had developed the property he was the star and should be the center of attention on screen. McQueen, who had just scored a hit on the television series Wanted Dead or Alive and secretly envied Brynner's superstar lifestyle, set out to steal the film from him. He even told an interviewer, "When you work in a scene with Yul, you're supposed to stand perfectly still. I don't work that way." During one scene, Brynner had to stand still while McQueen paced. To keep focus, Brynner made a small perch out of dirt so he would be taller than the other actor. But every time McQueen walked past him, he surreptitiously kicked a little of the dirt away. Eventually, Brynner had to assign an assistant to keep an eye out for McQueen's scene stealing. He even had Sturges call him on it a few times.

Cast as the Mexican bandit chief, stage-trained Eli Wallach wanted to make his performance as authentic as possible, so Sturges recruited some actual bandits to play his henchmen. The locals formed a close attachment to Wallach, teaching him to shoot, ride and snarl convincingly. They also served as unofficial bodyguards for the actor and his wife, actress Anne Jackson, during the location shoot.

Although the film received only mixed reviews, Sturges got a rave from the one source that really mattered to him. After seeing the picture, Kurosawa was so impressed, he sent the American director a ceremonial sword as a gift.

by Frank Miller
Behind The Camera (11/9)

Behind the Camera (11/9)

The Magnificent Seven was shot on location in Cuernavaca, Mexico and at the Estudios Churubuscos Aztecas in Mexico City. Shooting there meant clearing the script through the Mexican censors, who demanded numerous changes to present the story's locale and Mexican characters in the best possible light. One thing they insisted on was that the farmers be shown wearing clean clothes in every scene. For the film, Yul Brynner studied shooting and the quickdraw method with Rodd Redwing, a Native American who had taught many other Hollywood actors, including co-star Steve McQueen. Stars Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen feuded throughout shooting. Brynner felt, quite rightly, that since he had developed the property he was the star and should be the center of attention on screen. McQueen, who had just scored a hit on the television series Wanted Dead or Alive and secretly envied Brynner's superstar lifestyle, set out to steal the film from him. He even told an interviewer, "When you work in a scene with Yul, you're supposed to stand perfectly still. I don't work that way." During one scene, Brynner had to stand still while McQueen paced. To keep focus, Brynner made a small perch out of dirt so he would be taller than the other actor. But every time McQueen walked past him, he surreptitiously kicked a little of the dirt away. Eventually, Brynner had to assign an assistant to keep an eye out for McQueen's scene stealing. He even had Sturges call him on it a few times. Cast as the Mexican bandit chief, stage-trained Eli Wallach wanted to make his performance as authentic as possible, so Sturges recruited some actual bandits to play his henchmen. The locals formed a close attachment to Wallach, teaching him to shoot, ride and snarl convincingly. They also served as unofficial bodyguards for the actor and his wife, actress Anne Jackson, during the location shoot. Although the film received only mixed reviews, Sturges got a rave from the one source that really mattered to him. After seeing the picture, Kurosawa was so impressed, he sent the American director a ceremonial sword as a gift. by Frank Miller

The Magnificent Seven


Director John Sturges once theorized that it was possible to adapt any story into a Western and proved that hunch by transposing Akira Kurosawa's 1954 art-house hit, The Seven Samurai to a Western setting, replacing the swordsmen with gunfighters, and titling it The Magnificent Seven (1960). Although the basic plot survived the transfer intact - a poor village hires seven armed men to protect them from a marauding band of bandits - Sturges filmed his version in Panavision and color with on-location shooting in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The other main difference was purely cultural. Whereas Kurosawa's film explored samurai honor and social responsibility, Sturges turned The Magnificent Seven into an elegy for a vanishing West once ruled by gunfighters. In a way, The Magnificent Seven could be seen as a forerunner of such influential Westerns by Sam Peckinpah as Ride the High Country (1962) and The Wild Bunch (1969).

The road to production on The Magnificent Seven was a rocky one with conflicting reports of who initiated the project. By most accounts, it was Yul Brynner who first envisioned the Kurosawa film as a Western remake and encouraged movie mogul Walter Mirisch to purchase the rights from Japan's Toho Studios. Mirisch struck up a distribution deal with United Artists but then ran into trouble with Anthony Quinn, who filed a breach of contract suit against Brynner. Quinn claimed he had acquired rights to The Seven Samurai with Brynner and had collaborated with him on several ideas for the remake before they had a parting of the ways. But there was no signed contract and Quinn lost the claim.

There were other obstacles to overcome. The Mexican government censors, who had some major concerns about the depiction of their country as inhospitable, demanded some script changes before granting the film crew permission to shoot in their country. The casting was touch and go for awhile too as Steve McQueen was denied permission to participate by Four Star, the production company for his TV series, Wanted Dead or Alive. He outfoxed them by crashing a rental car and claiming whiplash, which released him from his TV commitments.

Although Yul Brynner had final casting decision and had approved McQueen for the film, his relationship with the soon-to-be-famous star would become fiercely competitive on the set of The Magnificent Seven. Brynner, who studied the quick draw with world champion, Rodd Redwing, was no match for McQueen when it came to gunplay. The latter would practice firing for hours each day and learned to shoot two rounds into a one-square-foot target in just eleven hundredths of a second. McQueen also taught Brynner the scene-stealing trick of flicking the gun backward into the holster. However, McQueen remained unimpressed by Brynner's star status at the time and said to one interviewer, "When you work in a scene with Yul, you're supposed to stand perfectly still. I don't work that way."

Perhaps the tension on the set between the two actors improved the film because both Brynner and McQueen are the essence of cool in their roles as Chris and Vin. In fact, Brynner is so closely identified with his character in The Magnificent Seven that he wore the exact same black gunfighter outfit years later as the cyborg killer in the sci-fi thriller, Westworld (1973).

The rest of the cast members are equally impressive, particularly James Coburn, who barely has twenty words of dialogue and almost steals the film as the mysterious knife-thrower, Britt. Charles Bronson, who was just a few years away from superstardom in Europe, plays O'Reilly, the stoic woodcutter; Robert Vaughn, soon to be known as TV's The Man from U.N.C.L.E., is Lee, an outlaw wrestling with his fear of death; Brad Dexter co-stars as Harry Luck, the hardened cynic in the group; Horst Buchholz, in the role of the reckless Chino, maintains the same high level of manic energy that Toshiro Mifune brought to the same role in the original version.

Last but not least, a mention must be made of Elmer Bernstein's rousing score which was nominated for an Oscar but lost to Ernest Gold's soundtrack for Exodus. If Bernstein's central theme sounds overly familiar, it's because United Artists sold the music to Marlboro cigarettes for use in their television commercials.

Director: John Sturges
Producer: John Sturges, Walter Mirisch, Lou Morheim
Screenplay: William Roberts
Cinematography: Charles Lang Jr.
Editor: Ferris Webster
Art Direction: Edward Fitzgerald
Music: Elmer Bernstein
Cast: Yul Brynner (Chris Adams), Eli Wallach (Calvera), Steve McQueen (Vin), Charles Bronson (Bernardo O'Reilly), Robert Vaughn (Lee).
C-129m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Jeff Stafford

The Magnificent Seven

Director John Sturges once theorized that it was possible to adapt any story into a Western and proved that hunch by transposing Akira Kurosawa's 1954 art-house hit, The Seven Samurai to a Western setting, replacing the swordsmen with gunfighters, and titling it The Magnificent Seven (1960). Although the basic plot survived the transfer intact - a poor village hires seven armed men to protect them from a marauding band of bandits - Sturges filmed his version in Panavision and color with on-location shooting in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The other main difference was purely cultural. Whereas Kurosawa's film explored samurai honor and social responsibility, Sturges turned The Magnificent Seven into an elegy for a vanishing West once ruled by gunfighters. In a way, The Magnificent Seven could be seen as a forerunner of such influential Westerns by Sam Peckinpah as Ride the High Country (1962) and The Wild Bunch (1969). The road to production on The Magnificent Seven was a rocky one with conflicting reports of who initiated the project. By most accounts, it was Yul Brynner who first envisioned the Kurosawa film as a Western remake and encouraged movie mogul Walter Mirisch to purchase the rights from Japan's Toho Studios. Mirisch struck up a distribution deal with United Artists but then ran into trouble with Anthony Quinn, who filed a breach of contract suit against Brynner. Quinn claimed he had acquired rights to The Seven Samurai with Brynner and had collaborated with him on several ideas for the remake before they had a parting of the ways. But there was no signed contract and Quinn lost the claim. There were other obstacles to overcome. The Mexican government censors, who had some major concerns about the depiction of their country as inhospitable, demanded some script changes before granting the film crew permission to shoot in their country. The casting was touch and go for awhile too as Steve McQueen was denied permission to participate by Four Star, the production company for his TV series, Wanted Dead or Alive. He outfoxed them by crashing a rental car and claiming whiplash, which released him from his TV commitments. Although Yul Brynner had final casting decision and had approved McQueen for the film, his relationship with the soon-to-be-famous star would become fiercely competitive on the set of The Magnificent Seven. Brynner, who studied the quick draw with world champion, Rodd Redwing, was no match for McQueen when it came to gunplay. The latter would practice firing for hours each day and learned to shoot two rounds into a one-square-foot target in just eleven hundredths of a second. McQueen also taught Brynner the scene-stealing trick of flicking the gun backward into the holster. However, McQueen remained unimpressed by Brynner's star status at the time and said to one interviewer, "When you work in a scene with Yul, you're supposed to stand perfectly still. I don't work that way." Perhaps the tension on the set between the two actors improved the film because both Brynner and McQueen are the essence of cool in their roles as Chris and Vin. In fact, Brynner is so closely identified with his character in The Magnificent Seven that he wore the exact same black gunfighter outfit years later as the cyborg killer in the sci-fi thriller, Westworld (1973). The rest of the cast members are equally impressive, particularly James Coburn, who barely has twenty words of dialogue and almost steals the film as the mysterious knife-thrower, Britt. Charles Bronson, who was just a few years away from superstardom in Europe, plays O'Reilly, the stoic woodcutter; Robert Vaughn, soon to be known as TV's The Man from U.N.C.L.E., is Lee, an outlaw wrestling with his fear of death; Brad Dexter co-stars as Harry Luck, the hardened cynic in the group; Horst Buchholz, in the role of the reckless Chino, maintains the same high level of manic energy that Toshiro Mifune brought to the same role in the original version. Last but not least, a mention must be made of Elmer Bernstein's rousing score which was nominated for an Oscar but lost to Ernest Gold's soundtrack for Exodus. If Bernstein's central theme sounds overly familiar, it's because United Artists sold the music to Marlboro cigarettes for use in their television commercials. Director: John Sturges Producer: John Sturges, Walter Mirisch, Lou Morheim Screenplay: William Roberts Cinematography: Charles Lang Jr. Editor: Ferris Webster Art Direction: Edward Fitzgerald Music: Elmer Bernstein Cast: Yul Brynner (Chris Adams), Eli Wallach (Calvera), Steve McQueen (Vin), Charles Bronson (Bernardo O'Reilly), Robert Vaughn (Lee). C-129m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Jeff Stafford

Magnificent Seven, The - The Magnificent Seven on DVD


The Magnificent Seven (1960), one of the greatest Westerns, finally makes its DVD appearance in a fascinating special edition full of bonus material. (Return of the Magnificent Seven (1966) has also been released but with no extras.) From its first appearance in 1960, The Magnificent Seven has been both an audience and critical favorite, one of that year's highest grossing films and a popular Western title ever since. A remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954), the film shows a Mexican village continually terrorized by bandits. In desperation the villagers enlist seven American misfits for help but what can seven men do against a hundred? The Magnificent Seven fleshes out this story with a wonderful ensemble cast who were equally at home with the drama as well as the stunts and gun fighting. Yul Brynner was already familiar at the time but actors just starting to make a lasting impression on audiences were Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Eli Wallach. The score by Elmer Bernstein was equally unforgettable and was later used in commercials. A guitar instrumental version even cracked the Top 40 on the radio.

The special edition DVD does justice to this film. The wide spaces necessary to follow the action are well presented in anamorphic letterbox. There's a wealth of background information in the audio commentary by Eli Wallach, James Coburn and producer Walter Mirisch. You can also view a new documentary about the making of the film, the original trailer and a gallery of still photos. The sound is 5.1 Dolby Digital with options for closed captioning, subtitles (French and Spanish) or alternate audio tracks (also French and Spanish).

Magnificent Seven, The - The Magnificent Seven on DVD

The Magnificent Seven (1960), one of the greatest Westerns, finally makes its DVD appearance in a fascinating special edition full of bonus material. (Return of the Magnificent Seven (1966) has also been released but with no extras.) From its first appearance in 1960, The Magnificent Seven has been both an audience and critical favorite, one of that year's highest grossing films and a popular Western title ever since. A remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954), the film shows a Mexican village continually terrorized by bandits. In desperation the villagers enlist seven American misfits for help but what can seven men do against a hundred? The Magnificent Seven fleshes out this story with a wonderful ensemble cast who were equally at home with the drama as well as the stunts and gun fighting. Yul Brynner was already familiar at the time but actors just starting to make a lasting impression on audiences were Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Eli Wallach. The score by Elmer Bernstein was equally unforgettable and was later used in commercials. A guitar instrumental version even cracked the Top 40 on the radio. The special edition DVD does justice to this film. The wide spaces necessary to follow the action are well presented in anamorphic letterbox. There's a wealth of background information in the audio commentary by Eli Wallach, James Coburn and producer Walter Mirisch. You can also view a new documentary about the making of the film, the original trailer and a gallery of still photos. The sound is 5.1 Dolby Digital with options for closed captioning, subtitles (French and Spanish) or alternate audio tracks (also French and Spanish).

Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004)


Elmer Bernstein, the film composer who created unforgettable music for such classics as The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, and won his only Academy Award for Thoroughly Modern Millie, died of natural causes at his Ojai, California home on August 17. He was 82.

Elmer Bernstein, who was not related to Leonard Bernstein, was born on August 4, 1922, in New York City. He displayed a talent in music at a very young age, and was given a scholarship to study piano at Juilliard when he was only 12. He entered New York University in 1939, where he majored in music education. After graduating in 1942, he joined the Army Air Corps, where he remained throughout World War II, mostly working on scores for propaganda films. It was around this time he became interested in film scoring when he went to see William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), a film whose score was composed by Bernard Herrmann, a man Bernstein idolized as the ideal film composer.

Bernstein, who originally intended to be a concert pianist and gave several performances in New York after being discharged from military service, decided to relocate to Hollywood in 1950. He did his first score for the football film Saturday's Hero (1950), and then proved his worth with his trenchant, moody music for the Joan Crawford vehicle Sudden Fear (1952). Rumors of his "communist" leanings came to surface at this time, and, feeling the effects of the blacklist, he found himself scoring such cheesy fare as Robot Monster; Cat Women of the Moon (both 1953); and Miss Robin Caruso (1954).

Despite his politics, Otto Preminger hired him to do the music for The Man With the Golden Arm, (1955) in which Frank Sinatra played a heroin-addicted jazz musician. Fittingly, Bernstein used some memorable jazz motifs for the film and his fine scoring put him back on the map. It prompted the attention of Cecil B. De Mille, who had Bernstein replace the ailing Victor Young on The Ten Commandments (1956). His thundering, heavily orchestrated score perfectly suite the bombastic epic, and he promptly earned his first Oscar® nod for music.

After The Ten Commandments (1956), Bernstein continued to distinguish himself in a row of fine films: The Rainmaker (1956), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Some Came Running (1958), The Magnificent Seven (a most memorable galloping march, 1960); To Kill a Mockingbird (unique in its use of single piano notes and haunting use of a flute, 1962); Hud (1963); earned a deserved Academy Award for the delightful, "flapper" music for the Julie Andrews period comedy Thoroughly Modern Mille (1967), and True Grit (1969).

His career faltered by the '80s though, as he did some routine Bill Murray comedies: Meatballs (1980) and Stripes (1981). But then director John Landis had Bernstein write the sumptuous score for his comedy Trading Places (1983), and Bernstein soon found himself back in the game. He then graced the silver screen for a few more years composing some terrific pieces for such popular commercial hits as My Left Foot (1989), A River Runs Through It (1992) and The Age of Innocence (1993). Far From Heaven, his final feature film score, received an Oscar® nomination for Best Score in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Eve; sons Peter and Gregory; daughters Emilie and Elizabeth; and five grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004)

Elmer Bernstein, the film composer who created unforgettable music for such classics as The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, and won his only Academy Award for Thoroughly Modern Millie, died of natural causes at his Ojai, California home on August 17. He was 82. Elmer Bernstein, who was not related to Leonard Bernstein, was born on August 4, 1922, in New York City. He displayed a talent in music at a very young age, and was given a scholarship to study piano at Juilliard when he was only 12. He entered New York University in 1939, where he majored in music education. After graduating in 1942, he joined the Army Air Corps, where he remained throughout World War II, mostly working on scores for propaganda films. It was around this time he became interested in film scoring when he went to see William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), a film whose score was composed by Bernard Herrmann, a man Bernstein idolized as the ideal film composer. Bernstein, who originally intended to be a concert pianist and gave several performances in New York after being discharged from military service, decided to relocate to Hollywood in 1950. He did his first score for the football film Saturday's Hero (1950), and then proved his worth with his trenchant, moody music for the Joan Crawford vehicle Sudden Fear (1952). Rumors of his "communist" leanings came to surface at this time, and, feeling the effects of the blacklist, he found himself scoring such cheesy fare as Robot Monster; Cat Women of the Moon (both 1953); and Miss Robin Caruso (1954). Despite his politics, Otto Preminger hired him to do the music for The Man With the Golden Arm, (1955) in which Frank Sinatra played a heroin-addicted jazz musician. Fittingly, Bernstein used some memorable jazz motifs for the film and his fine scoring put him back on the map. It prompted the attention of Cecil B. De Mille, who had Bernstein replace the ailing Victor Young on The Ten Commandments (1956). His thundering, heavily orchestrated score perfectly suite the bombastic epic, and he promptly earned his first Oscar® nod for music. After The Ten Commandments (1956), Bernstein continued to distinguish himself in a row of fine films: The Rainmaker (1956), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Some Came Running (1958), The Magnificent Seven (a most memorable galloping march, 1960); To Kill a Mockingbird (unique in its use of single piano notes and haunting use of a flute, 1962); Hud (1963); earned a deserved Academy Award for the delightful, "flapper" music for the Julie Andrews period comedy Thoroughly Modern Mille (1967), and True Grit (1969). His career faltered by the '80s though, as he did some routine Bill Murray comedies: Meatballs (1980) and Stripes (1981). But then director John Landis had Bernstein write the sumptuous score for his comedy Trading Places (1983), and Bernstein soon found himself back in the game. He then graced the silver screen for a few more years composing some terrific pieces for such popular commercial hits as My Left Foot (1989), A River Runs Through It (1992) and The Age of Innocence (1993). Far From Heaven, his final feature film score, received an Oscar® nomination for Best Score in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Eve; sons Peter and Gregory; daughters Emilie and Elizabeth; and five grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

TCM Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13th - TCM Remembers Charles Bronson this Saturday, Sept. 13th 2003.


Turner Classic Movies will honor the passing of Hollywood action star Charles Bronson on Saturday, Sept. 13, with a four-film tribute.

After years of playing supporting roles in numerous Western, action and war films, including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960, 8 p.m.) and THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967, 1:15 a.m.), Bronson finally achieved worldwide stardom as a leading man during the late 1960s and early 1970s. TCM's tribute will also include THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963, 10:15 p.m.), Bronson's second teaming with Steve McQueen and James Coburn, and will conclude with FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976, 4 a.m.), co-starring Jill Ireland.

TCM will alter it's prime-time schedule this Saturday, Sept. 13th. The following changes will take place:

8:00 PM - The Magnificent Seven (1960)
10:15 PM - The Great Escape (1963)
1:15 AM - The Dirty Dozen (1967)
4:00 AM - From Noon Till Three (1976)

Charles Bronson, 1921-2003

Charles Bronson, the tough, stony-faced actor who was one of the most recognizable action heroes in cinema, died on August 30 in Los Angeles from complications from pneumonia. He was 81.

He was born Charles Buchinsky on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, one of fifteen children born to Lithuanian immigrant parents. Although he was the only child to have graduated high school, he worked in the coalmines to support his family until he joined the army to serve as a tail gunner during World War II. He used his money from the G.I. Bill to study art in Philadelphia, but while working as a set designer for a Philadelphia theater troupe, he landed a few small roles in some productions and immediately found acting to be the craft for him.

Bronson took his new career turn seriously, moved to California, and enrolled for acting classes at The Pasadena Playhouse. An instructor there recommended him to director Henry Hathaway for a movie role and the result was his debut in Hathaway's You're in the Navy Now (1951). He secured more bit parts in films like John Sturges' drama The People Against O'Hara (1951), and Joseph Newman's Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952). More substantial roles came in George Cukor's Pat and Mike (1952, where he is beaten up by Katharine Hepburn!); Andre de Toth's classic 3-D thriller House of Wax (1953, as Vincent Price's mute assistant, Igor); and De Toth's fine low-budget noir Crime Wave (1954).

Despite his formidable presence, his leads were confined to a string of B pictures like Gene Fowler's Gang War; and Roger Corman's tight Machine Gun Kelly (both 1958). Following his own television series, Man With a Camera (1958-60), Bronson had his first taste of film stardom when director Sturges casted him as Bernardo, one of the The Magnificent Seven (1960). Bronson displayed a powerful charisma, comfortably holding his own in a high-powered cast that included Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. A few more solid roles followed in Sturges' The Great Escape (1963), and Robert Aldrich's classic war picture The Dirty Dozen (1967), before Bronson made the decision to follow the European trail of other American actors like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. It was there that his hard, taciturn screen personae exploded in full force. In 1968 alone, he had four hit films: Henri Verneuil's Guns for San Sebastian, Buzz Kulik's Villa Rides, Jean Herman's Adieu l'ami which was a smash in France; and the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West.

These films established Bronson as a huge box-office draw in Europe, and with some more stylish hits like Rene Clement's Rider on the Rain (1969), and Terence Young's Cold Sweat (1971) he soon became one of the most popular film stars in the world. It wasn't easy for Bronson to translate that success back in his homeland. In fact, his first few films on his return stateside: Michael Winners' Chato's Land, and The Mechanic (both 1972), and Richard Fleischer's Mr. Majestyk (1973), were surprisingly routine pictures. It wasn't until he collaborated with Winner again for the controversial Death Wish (1974), an urban revenge thriller about an architect who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are raped, did he notch his first stateside hit. The next few years would be a fruitful period for Bronson as he rode on a wave of fine films and commercial success: a depression era streetfighter in Walter Hill's terrific, if underrated Hard Times (1975); Frank Gilroy's charming offbeat black comedy From Noon Till Three (1976, the best of many teamings with his second wife, Jill Ireland); Tom Gries tense Breakheart Pass; and Don Siegel's cold-war thriller Telefon (1977).

Sadly, Bronson could not keep up the momentum of good movies, and by the '80s he was starring in a string of forgettable films like Ten to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), and Murphy's Law (1986, all directed by J. Lee Thompson). A notable exception to all that tripe was John Mackenzie's fine telefilm Act of Vengeance (1986), where he earned critical acclaim in the role of United Mine Workers official Jack Yablonski. Although he more or less fell into semi-retirement in the '90s, his performances in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991); and the title role of Michael Anderson's The Sea Wolf (1993) proved to many that Bronson had the makings of a fine character actor. He was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1968 until her death from breast cancer in 1990. He is survived by his third wife Kim Weeks, six children, and two grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

TCM Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13th - TCM Remembers Charles Bronson this Saturday, Sept. 13th 2003.

Turner Classic Movies will honor the passing of Hollywood action star Charles Bronson on Saturday, Sept. 13, with a four-film tribute. After years of playing supporting roles in numerous Western, action and war films, including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960, 8 p.m.) and THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967, 1:15 a.m.), Bronson finally achieved worldwide stardom as a leading man during the late 1960s and early 1970s. TCM's tribute will also include THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963, 10:15 p.m.), Bronson's second teaming with Steve McQueen and James Coburn, and will conclude with FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976, 4 a.m.), co-starring Jill Ireland. TCM will alter it's prime-time schedule this Saturday, Sept. 13th. The following changes will take place: 8:00 PM - The Magnificent Seven (1960) 10:15 PM - The Great Escape (1963) 1:15 AM - The Dirty Dozen (1967) 4:00 AM - From Noon Till Three (1976) Charles Bronson, 1921-2003 Charles Bronson, the tough, stony-faced actor who was one of the most recognizable action heroes in cinema, died on August 30 in Los Angeles from complications from pneumonia. He was 81. He was born Charles Buchinsky on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, one of fifteen children born to Lithuanian immigrant parents. Although he was the only child to have graduated high school, he worked in the coalmines to support his family until he joined the army to serve as a tail gunner during World War II. He used his money from the G.I. Bill to study art in Philadelphia, but while working as a set designer for a Philadelphia theater troupe, he landed a few small roles in some productions and immediately found acting to be the craft for him. Bronson took his new career turn seriously, moved to California, and enrolled for acting classes at The Pasadena Playhouse. An instructor there recommended him to director Henry Hathaway for a movie role and the result was his debut in Hathaway's You're in the Navy Now (1951). He secured more bit parts in films like John Sturges' drama The People Against O'Hara (1951), and Joseph Newman's Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952). More substantial roles came in George Cukor's Pat and Mike (1952, where he is beaten up by Katharine Hepburn!); Andre de Toth's classic 3-D thriller House of Wax (1953, as Vincent Price's mute assistant, Igor); and De Toth's fine low-budget noir Crime Wave (1954). Despite his formidable presence, his leads were confined to a string of B pictures like Gene Fowler's Gang War; and Roger Corman's tight Machine Gun Kelly (both 1958). Following his own television series, Man With a Camera (1958-60), Bronson had his first taste of film stardom when director Sturges casted him as Bernardo, one of the The Magnificent Seven (1960). Bronson displayed a powerful charisma, comfortably holding his own in a high-powered cast that included Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. A few more solid roles followed in Sturges' The Great Escape (1963), and Robert Aldrich's classic war picture The Dirty Dozen (1967), before Bronson made the decision to follow the European trail of other American actors like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. It was there that his hard, taciturn screen personae exploded in full force. In 1968 alone, he had four hit films: Henri Verneuil's Guns for San Sebastian, Buzz Kulik's Villa Rides, Jean Herman's Adieu l'ami which was a smash in France; and the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West. These films established Bronson as a huge box-office draw in Europe, and with some more stylish hits like Rene Clement's Rider on the Rain (1969), and Terence Young's Cold Sweat (1971) he soon became one of the most popular film stars in the world. It wasn't easy for Bronson to translate that success back in his homeland. In fact, his first few films on his return stateside: Michael Winners' Chato's Land, and The Mechanic (both 1972), and Richard Fleischer's Mr. Majestyk (1973), were surprisingly routine pictures. It wasn't until he collaborated with Winner again for the controversial Death Wish (1974), an urban revenge thriller about an architect who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are raped, did he notch his first stateside hit. The next few years would be a fruitful period for Bronson as he rode on a wave of fine films and commercial success: a depression era streetfighter in Walter Hill's terrific, if underrated Hard Times (1975); Frank Gilroy's charming offbeat black comedy From Noon Till Three (1976, the best of many teamings with his second wife, Jill Ireland); Tom Gries tense Breakheart Pass; and Don Siegel's cold-war thriller Telefon (1977). Sadly, Bronson could not keep up the momentum of good movies, and by the '80s he was starring in a string of forgettable films like Ten to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), and Murphy's Law (1986, all directed by J. Lee Thompson). A notable exception to all that tripe was John Mackenzie's fine telefilm Act of Vengeance (1986), where he earned critical acclaim in the role of United Mine Workers official Jack Yablonski. Although he more or less fell into semi-retirement in the '90s, his performances in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991); and the title role of Michael Anderson's The Sea Wolf (1993) proved to many that Bronson had the makings of a fine character actor. He was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1968 until her death from breast cancer in 1990. He is survived by his third wife Kim Weeks, six children, and two grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Yes. The final supreme idiocy. Coming here to hide. The deserter hiding out in the middle of a battlefield.
- Lee
We deal in lead, my friend.
- Vin
But who made us the way we are, huh? Men with guns. Men like Calvera, and men like you... and now me.
- Chico
Nobody throws me my own guns and says run. Nobody.
- Britt
If God hadn't meant for them to be sheared, he wouldn't have made them sheep.
- Calvera

Trivia

'Vaughn, Robert' played the role of Lee in the film. He later came back to star in "The Magnificent Seven" TV series playing the role of Judge Oren Travis.

Elmer Bernstein, whose score for this movie is one of the best-known ever composed, also wrote the score for the Magnificent Seven parody, !Three Amigos! (1986).

A remake of Akira Kurosawa's Shichinin no samurai (1954)

Yul Brynner was married on the set; the celebration used many of the same props as the fiesta scene. The film was cast quickly to beat an actor's strike. Mexican censors required the peasants to always be wearing clean clothes.

Walter Bernstein did the original adaptation of Kurosawa's film but it wasn't used. Walter Newman wrote the screenplay that is substantially what you see on screen.

Notes

As noted in the opening credits, The Magnificent Seven was based on a 1954 Japanese film entitled The Seven Samurai, produced by Toho Company, Ltd. The now classic film was directed by Akira Kurosawa, who stated that his film was inspired by American Westerns. According to a October 17, 1958 Daily Variety news item, Yul Brynner registered the title The Magnificent Six when he believed one of the principals would be dropped from the film.
       As supported by contemporary news items and described in the documentary Guns for Hire: The Making of `The Magnificent Seven', which was included on the 2001 DVD edition of the film, by May 1958 Brynner's Alciona Productions, Inc. had secured the rights to The Seven Samurai and announced that Brynner was to star in the film and United Artists would distribute it. A August 22, 1958 Daily Variety news item stated that producer Lou Morheim was to co-produce the film, while in the documentary, Morheim claimed that he had originally optioned the rights to The Seven Samurai and had asked actor Anthony Quinn to star. By February 1959, contemporary news items had reported that Quinn was on board and Brynner was set to direct, while Walter Bernstein was signed to write the screenplay and Clark Gable, Stewart Granger and Anthony Franciosa were being considered for lead roles. In April 1959, Martin Ritt became the director, replacing Brynner, who took the lead role, according to a Los Angeles Times news item, which also noted that Glenn Ford had agreed to appear in the picture.
       By August 1959, Brynner had sold the project to The Mirisch Company, who in turn hired Walter Newman to write the screenplay and arranged to co-produce the film with Alpha Productions, John Sturges' company. The Magnificent Seven was Sturges' first credit as a producer, the first film for Alpha Productions and the first collaboration between Alpha and The Mirisch Company, a partnership which led to many co-ventures. By December 1959, Dean Jones was considered for a role and executive producer Walter Mirisch had hired Steve McQueen, an actor already known for his role in the 1958-1961 television series Wanted Dead or Alive. In the documentary, McQueen's then wife, Neile Adams, stated that McQueen faked a car accident in order to gain time off the series to do the film. Sturges' final cast selections were complicated by the Screen Actors Guild strike, which ran from 7 March to 18 April 1960.
       According to a February 4, 1960 Hollywood Reporter news item, Mirisch-Alpha sought a court agreement with Morheim to exclude him from the project, but provide compensation amounting to five percent of the film's profits and a $10,000 salary. A March 2, 1960 Daily Variety article stated that, after Sturges demanded sole producer credit, Morheim sued Mirisch and UA for onscreen credit and to be able to participate in the film. By August 23, 1960, Hollywood Reporter reported that an out of court settlement had been reached in which Morheim was given financial compensation and an "associate producer" credit, but excluded from participation. According to a February 3, 1960 Hollywood Reporter news item, Quinn sued Alciona and Brynner over being excluded from the project, to which he claimed he had already contributed and in which he was supposed to star. Quinn lost the suit, but in 1964 filed suit against UA, Mirisch and Alpha Productions. The outcome of that suit is unknown.
       Writer Newman was not credited onscreen, and a modern source claims that he was so unhappy that William Roberts was hired to doctor his script on location in Mexico that he insisted on having his name removed from the credits. According to a April 10, 1960 New York Times article, Mirisch-Alpha budgeted $2,000,000 for the film, which began shooting on February 29, 1960, and shot on two village sets built by art director Edward FitzGerald, one in Tepoztlan, Mexico and the other in Oacalco, Mexico. All interior shooting took place at Estudios Churubusco in Mexico City. The article also noted that the village chapel was made of pâpier maché and adorned with two fake pigeons to encourage others to nest there and make the structure appear authentic.
       An international group of actors fleshed out the cast. Horst Buchholz, a German, made his American film debut as the Mexican "Chico." The role, according to the April 10, 1960 New York Times article, was created to appease the Mexican government, by placing a Mexican character as one of the seven. Mexican actor Rosenda Monteros made her American film debut in the The Magnificent Seven. Prominent cinematographer John Alonzo (1934-2001), who began his career as an actor, made his feature film debut in The Magnificent Seven, credited onscreen as "John Alonso." Jan, February and March 1960 Hollywood Reporter news items add David Renard, Joe Ruskin, Larry Duran, Chuck Hayward and Beatriz Flores Castro to the cast; however, their appearance in the film has not been confirmed.
       According to interviews in Guns for Hire, the presence of a Mexican censor on the production caused tension and ensured some scene changes. A May 20, 1960 New York Times article confirmed that one required change was that character of the "old man" was not to advise the villagers to hire gunmen. The revised script, instead, has the old man suggest that the villagers buy guns and defend their town to the death and then has the villagers vainly try to buy them at the border, until "Chris" suggests they hire gunmen instead.
       The Mirisch Company produced and UA distributed three sequels to the film: 1966's Return of the Seven (see below) starring Yul Brynner and Robert Fuller and directed by Burt Kennedy; 1969's Guns of the Magnificent Seven starring George Kennedy and James Whitmore and directed by Paul Wendkos and the 1972 production The Magnificent Seven Ride! (see below), starring Lee Van Cleef and Stefanie Powers and directed by George McCowan. In addition, M-G-M produced a 1998-2000 television series starring Michael Biehn and Eric Close, with guest star appearances by Robert Vaughn.
       Many contemporary reviews of the film were not supportive, including the New York Times, which stated that the film was "a pallid, pretentious and overlong reflection of the Japanese original." According to the documentary, UA later rereleased The Magnificent Seven with better results; however, box-office results of this rerelease have not been determined. Over the years, many critics and film historians have come to rank the film as one of the best Westerns of all time. Elmer Bernstein's stirring score was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to Exodus. The theme reached iconographic status with fans and film music historians and was made popular through its use in radio and television advertising for Marlboro Cigarettes, which, as noted in a May 24, 1966 New York Times article, bought the rights to the theme from UA. In June 2006, the Weinstein Co. announced that it was in negotiations to remake Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai, with Zhang Ziyi being considered to star.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video May 8, 2001

Released in United States 1998

Shown at Cinequest 1998: The San Jose Film Festival January 29 - February 4, 1998.

Remake of director Akira Kurosawa's "Shichini no samurai/ The Seven Samurai" (Japan/1954).

Released in USA on video.

Released in United States Fall November 1960

Released in United States on Video May 8, 2001

Released in United States 1998 (Shown at Cinequest 1998: The San Jose Film Festival January 29 - February 4, 1998.)

Released in United States Fall November 1960