April 16, 2011

A rainy Saturday with the movie, The Magnificent Seven

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - The movie The Magnificent Seven, with Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, James Coburn and raft of other stars, was the perfect film for a rainy Saturday.

Released in 1960, the movie holds up as well as any western, and better than most.

Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner
Based on the Japanese movie, The Seven Samuri, it tells the tale of six American gunslingers (and one young Mexican gunhand) hired by poor farmers to go to a Mexican village to rid the village of a bandit named Calvera (played by Eli Wallach) who rides in from time to time with his 40 Mexican gunmen.

It's a classic tale of a bully getting a much deserved drubbing at the hands of a band of avengers.

In one scene, Eli Wallach tells Yul Brynner that he can rob the village at will because "if God didn't want them to be sheared, he would not have made them sheep."


The story underscores the timeless lesson that anyone who pays attention to history knows - men with guns rule. And if one group happens to be better with guns, well, they get to rule, it seems.

Of course, it isn't easy for the Magnificent Seven to rid the village of Calvera.
Charles Bronson guards the village

After an initial skirmish, Calvera and his men come back - when Yul Brynner and his crew have left the village to do some reconnaisance. Calvera sneaks in takes over the village with the help of some villagers more afraid of the Mexican bandit than anything. When Brynner and crew return they are held at gunpoint. But instead of killing Yul and crew, Calvera let's them go.

Big mistake on Calvera's part, but necessary for the plot.

And the denouement?

After being forced to leave, the Magnificent Seven are left miles from the Mexican village, their guns tossed on the ground, with the smart thing to do to ride on and let the villagers suffer the consequences of their betrayal.

But these seven aren't smart, just principled - and proud - like  James Coburn's character Britt.


Rainy day of not, The Magnificent Seven is well worth watching again if you have viewed this classic.  Maybe I'll take a look at it for a second time today, actually.

The Magnificent Seven

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