Emma is hosting her Legends of Western Cinema blog week again, and while I didn’t participate in the last one (because, a year ago, I didn’t like Westerns), I thought I would this time. Since watching The Magnificent Seven, my interest in Westerns has skyrocketed, but I’ve only seen a pitiful few – High Noon, Ride Lonesome, and The Ox-Bow Incident are the only other ones that come to mind, which is a shame, isn’t it? Any suggestions from you guys? I’d really like to broaden out and watch some new films (a LOT of new ones). Anyway…this post isn’t about my lack of eduction when it comes to Western movies. It’s about the awesomeness that is The Magnificent Seven (aka Mag7).
~The insanely amazing music. Elmer Bernstein, you are a genius. An absolute genius. You created perfect, unique scores for two of my favorite movies (Mag7, The Great Escape) and you accomplished your goal of moving Mag7’s story along with music, without all the talky scenes and quiet moments getting draggy. When I’m feeling low, all I have to do is listen to that incredibly cocky, upbeat theme for Great Escape or (more often than not) the epic, high-spirited Mag7 soundtrack. My hat’s off to you.
~The characters. There are seven very good reasons to watch Mag7: Chris, Vin, Britt, Bernardo, Lee, Harry, and Calvera. Because they’re awesome. And y’know, I’ve even come to accept Chico + understand how his story arc contributes to the plot + appreciate his character development. Vin is played by Steve McQueen, so of COURSE he’s gonna be perfect; ditto for Britt/James Coburn and Bernardo/Charles Bronson. And all the other guys are great too, even Calvera, who happens to be one of the best villains ever, so there you go. Great cast of characters all around.
~A surprising amount of depth for a Western/action movie. Seriously, who doesn’t tear up at the ending? (Come on, you know you did.) Ending aside (’cause I’m devoting a whole point to it later), there are other moments throughout Mag7 that tend to hit me pretty hard, like the ‘gunfighter arithmetic’ scene. Or the “I just didn’t want you to think you were the only sucker in town” line. The thing is, for the amount of plot crammed into the film’s two hours and seven minutes, the characterization is surprisingly deep, which naturally makes for thoughtful moments in the script.
~Allllll those ridiculously quotable lines. “I’ve been offered a lot for my work, but never everything.” “Fella says I’m going to make a crackerjack clerk. Crackerjack.” “No, I’m doing this because I’m an eccentric millionaire.” “You don’t happen to have an older, grateful sister, do you?” “We deal in lead, friend.” “Generosity. That was my first mistake. I leave these people a little bit extra and they hire these men to make trouble.” “We come cheaper by the bunch.” “Nobody throws me my own guns and says run. Nobody.”
~The knife scene. Because it’s one of my favorite movie scenes EVER.
~The ending. Full of poignancy and bits of hopelessness, but also hope. Those kids laying flowers on Bernardo’s grave, The Old Man inviting Chris and Vin and Chico to stay (but admitting that the villagers will not be sad to see them go), Chico’s return, and Chris and Vin riding off into the proverbial sunset (okay, it’s actually mid-afternoon, but whatever) after Chris’ pronouncement that “The Old Man was right. Only the farmers won. We lost. We’ll always lose.” *sniffffff* For such an exciting, action-based movie, it ends a pretty sad, serious note, doesn’t it?
~Mag7’s endless re-watchability. In the words of one of my friends, how many times do you have to see The Magnificent Seven before you’ve really watched it? From the moment when the stirring theme thunders over the speakers to when the words “The End” appear on-screen, I’m hooked. Every. Single. Time. Ohhhhh, it’s SO amazing and incredible and marvelous and wonderful and there really aren’t enough words to describe the way I feel about this film. It is truly magnificent. If you’ve never watched it, you’re totally missing out. Totally.
So there you have it. Seven reasons why The Magnificent Seven is awesome + why you need to watch it right now, today, no delay, even if you’ve seen it a gazillion times before. Go, go, go!
P.S. I’ve also reviewed Mag7, if anyone’s interested.