Just a quick reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, it may be best to move on!
An oppressed Mexican peasant village assembles seven gunfighters to help defend their homes. (via IMDb)
What I Liked
- Now that I have watched Unforgiven and The Searchers, I feel as though I am a little more familiar with the Western as a genre (though obviously I know that there are thousands more to watch!), and I think that helped me enjoy this one more than I might have done if it had been my first one.
- I am a big Steve McQueen fan. I know that I shouldn’t base my enjoyment of films on how attractive I find the men (or women) in it, but it’s a factor for me. And my love of Steve McQueen is not all to do with how much I fancy him (though I do, a lot). I really enjoy watching him act. There’s something very natural about him; there are no theatrics in his performance here, but he’s still a star.
- I had never really seen Yul Brynner in much; I know he’s in The King and I, but I’ve only really watched the beginning of that film and so haven’t really seen him in all his resplendent glory as the King of Siam. So I didn’t really know what to expect from him here, and the first thing I noticed was what a fabulous voice he has.
- The music of course, cannot be ignored. It has one of the most iconic themes of any film ever; even if you have never even heard of The Magnificent Seven, chances are that you have heard that piece of music.
- The classic Western hero is here, but we get him seven times over instead of just once. It’s such an American genre, the Western, and here we get to see the classic underdog (seven men against many more) triumphing.
- All the time I was watching it, I kept thinking how familiar it felt, even though I had never seen it and didn’t really know the story. It eventually dawned on me that I was thinking of A Bug’s Life. I never realised how closely the Pixar animation resembled The Magnificent Seven.
- The opening scenes, in which Yul Brynner’s Chris decides to ensure that a Native American is given a burial, despite the feelings of the townsfolk, is so great. It really sets up the two main characters of Chris and Vin (played by Steve McQueen), and shows up exactly why they end up helping out the Mexican villagers.
- Sure, it’s a Western, so there are gunfights, but the most striking thing here is how well we get to know the characters. Even the ones who don’t say much, like James Coburn’s characters. We get to know everyone’s motivations for joining the group that wants to help the villagers fight the injustices.
What I Didn’t Like
- I think it’s perfectly obvious what I am going to say here. I can’t think of one thing that I didn’t like about this film. It felt quite long, but on reflection it’s only just over two hours. So it’s nit picky to suggest such a thing. Don’t worry – Anchorman is next up.