The Magnificent Seven

Like a translation of a translation back into the original language, The Magnificent Seven is a Western version of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, itself heavily influenced by the Westerns of John Ford. The film is both archetypal and transitional, pointing toward the further genre translations and transformations that Sergio Leone and others would soon undertake. It even features Eli Wallach as a “Mexican” heavy, a bandit terrorizing a small village whose farmers turn to gunman Yul Brynner for help in their defense. So Brynner slowly assembles his band of seven (Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn among them), and they ride out across the widescreen landscape accompanied by Elmer Bernstein's irrepressible theme. The film exults not only in its many memorable set pieces but in the details of men at work, until the distinction between heroism and opportunism becomes irrelevant.

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