Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

I watched the classic Western The Magnificent Seven the other day, and…


It truly was magnificent, and I think what I most appreciate about it is that it wasn't melodramatic (as older movies can tend to be), and it wasn't unnecessarily tragic.  Realistic, yes, sad, yes, but with a gentle ending that exhilarates you in a quiet, happy way.  


Quick overview of the story:  three men from a poor Mexican village enlist hired gun Chris Adams to help them redeem their town from the oppression of Calvera, a hypocritical bandit who glibly robs them of all their resources and kills any who oppose him.  Chris in turn puts out an "advertisement" for backup and, in the end, seven hardened cowboys arrive at the village as a reinforcement for the townspeople.  Individually and as a group they begin to prepare the village for Calvera's next raid, and in the process become attached to those they are protecting.  


The movie fulfills all the criteria of a great '60s Western--meandering (in a good way) pace, epic scale, horses, dust,  scarcity of romance (but there is one romance because there's got to be at least one--and I'm glad of it; I do like a romance in a movie, I admit), and a glorious musical score.

As to characters…just yes.  Of course, with a cast like that, you really have to try very hard if you wanna go wrong, but still.  I LOVES THE CHARACTERS.


Bernardo is my favorite of the Mag7 (Hamlette alerted me to that phrase and I have adopted it heart and soul).  His relationship with those three boys…be still, my heart.  *SPOILERS*  Honestly, though, when they come running up to him as he's dying and he takes the time to point out their fathers' bravery to them, and then THE LINE, "What's my name?" and JUST GAH (the flowers). *END OF SPOILERS*

But then there's also Chris…

The fact that he was played by my beloved T. K. Yul Brynner may or may not have had something to do with my opinion of him.

…and Vin…


…and Britt…


…and Chico…

Random, but that scene when he
finds the cow and pretends to be a
matador…I was laughing.  He
provides some great comic relief,
and his relationship with Petra,
though not my favorite, is still pretty
adorable, no?

…oh, all right, the only ones of the seven to whom I didn't really get attached were Lee and Harry.  Ehh.  Though I did feel sorry for Lee, and Harry's last scene…I loved Chris in that one especially *sniffle*

The film boasts some killer dialogue, too.

"Their families told them we would rape them."
"Well, we might.  But in my opinion, you might've given us the benefit of the doubt!"

"He's prejudiced too, huh?"
"Well, when it comes to getting his head blown off, he's downright bigoted."

"We're ashamed to live here. Our fathers are cowards." 
"Don't you ever say that again about your fathers, because they are not cowards! You think I am brave because I carry a gun; well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground. And there's nobody says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to. I have never had this kind of courage. Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee anything will ever come of it. This is bravery. That's why I never even started anything like that... that's why I never will."

"If you get killed, we take the rifle and avenge you. "
"And we see to it there's always fresh flowers on your grave. "
"That's a mighty big comfort." 
"I told you he'll appreciate that!" 
"Well, now, don't you kids be too disappointed if your plans don't work out." 
"We won't. If you stay alive, we'll be just as happy." 
"Maybe even happier." 
"Maybe."

"I just didn't want you to think you were the only sucker in town."

"We deal in lead, friend."


As I mentioned earlier, I like that this movie wasn't cheesy, wasn't melodramatic, wasn't tragic for the sake of being tragic, and wasn't "a downer."  I'm not saying some of the characters don't die, but not everyone dies (was that a spoiler? I sowwy).  

I really liked this movie.  It was engrossing, humorous, emotional, and happy at the same time.  (I may or may not have rewound the ending about five times.)  *SPOILERS*  While the deaths of certain characters were extremely sad, at the same time something about the ending felt very right.  The Elder (I forget his name) giving that beautiful blessing ("You are like the wind, blowing over the land, and passing on.  Vaya con Dios."), Chico at last releasing his fantasies of glory and his disdain of honest farm work and returning to Petra, and Chris and Vin riding off together in companionable silence.  It was just a very satisfactory ending. *END OF SPOILERS*

Go watch it!  



17 comments:

  1. This looks like an awesome movie :) Really, that dialogue . . . "When it comes to getting his head blown off, he's downright bigoted."

    I had no ideas cowboys were so witty :)

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    1. It is! Haha, I KNOW! Well, technically, that wasn't a cowboy, it was a very minor character, but still. I loved it:D

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  2. Ahhhh yes. I do so love this movie. ^_^

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  3. Wow, this looks cool! That dialogue is hilarious :)

    "That's a mighty big comfort."
    "I told you he'll appreciate that!"

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    1. I know right, Rosie?! It's wonderful:)

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  4. I do enjoy this movie a good deal. It's very hard NOT to enjoy, I must say.
    Yes, I'd have to agree with you - I love 5 out of the 7, because Lee and Harry are annoying. But all the others I love. :D HAHAHAHA. I could watch that gif of Vin chewing and Britt blinking for hours. It's so funny. (Steve McQueen really cracks me up big time. Just his body language and things he does when he's in the background is hilarious. He loves attention.) Yes, the ending is bittersweet but rightly so. It's sad when two of my favourite die, but I'm so glad some are still alive (and really, I'm glad that it was Vin and Chris that survived). It felt REAL, compared to if they all survived and all the bad guys died and it was a happily ever after type ending. I'm quite glad they did it the way they did.
    I love the music, too, it's so catchy and lively. The actors are amazing, it's ridiculously quotable and it is action packed without being too violent or having lots of bad language etc. I really like this movie. :D
    ~Miss Meg March

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    1. Exactly, Miss Meg!:D

      Lee and Harry ARE kind of annoying. They just are. Hahaha, isn't it great? I can see myself using it as a reaction gif or something later;) It captures both of their characters so perfectly, doesn't it? XD Haha, yes, I loved Vin. He's pretty awesome…and yeah, he loves attention. "You don't have an older sister, do you?"

      Yeah *sniffle* Mah babies. But you're right--it seems RIGHT somehow that Chris and Vin survive: they can go off together as friends and take care of each other. Yep, it was beautifully done.

      I know, right?! Most of the time, I recognize the merit in the old Western soundtracks, but they don't really grip me. This one I loved because it was so fun and joyous and non-dramatic (except in the appropriate parts), if that makes any sense. You're right! All in all, a marvelous film:)

      Thank you for your comment!

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  5. I REALLY WANT TO SEE THIS.

    Steve McQueen.

    The End.


    ~Emma

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    1. EMMA YOU WILL LOVE IT.

      Vin = <3 <3 <3

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    2. EMMA! How have you not seen this yet?!?!?! Rectify this immediately.

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  6. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! MAG7!!!!!!!!! You watched it!!!!!!! I ADORES this movie!!!!!

    Bernardo and the boys are so cute.

    CHRIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My fav!!!!!!!

    Vin!! I always want to call him Steve!! "I ain't never road shotgun on a hearse before!"

    And Britt. "Nobody throws me my guns and tells me to run."

    Chico!!! He is soo funny!!! I love what he does when they reach the Mexican village. And yes the matador thing!!! And how mad he is at Petra!!

    I really, really, really ADORE this movie (I know I already said that!) and I really should watch it again, but it is all packed up. :(

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    1. AAAAAAUUUUUUUGHHHGH YES!

      Yes!!! Haha, Chico and Petra...they're funny. I'm not the biggest Petra fan but I love his facial expressions whenever she comes near him XD

      Aww, I hope you can watch it again very soon!:)

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  7. Big sigh. This movie is... magnificent. It really is. I love it dearly -- I've seen it two dozen times at least, and on two different continents. I consider it the pinnacle of western movies -- I have yet to see a western that came close to topping it.

    My favorite is Vin, though I love all of them -- yes, even Harry and Lee! I feel terribly sad for Lee. His story has such pathos, and his moment of redemption at the end makes me cry. I'm tearing up just thinking of that final burst of bravery. And Harry... I love imagining how he and Chris became buddies in the first place.

    If you perchance are desirous of more westerny Steve McQueen goodness, his tv show Wanted, Dead or Alive is excellent. And available on DVD -- I think you can get the whole series (3 seasons) for under $20 on Amazon. It's one of those thought-provoking and meaty western shows that we don't see anymore, but that they made so well in the '60s.

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    1. Amen to that! "The pinnacle of Western movies"--I like that:D

      Yes! Vin is amazing, and I did feel sorry for Lee. Plus Harry was just entertaining:D You're right! I like to think about how he knew them all, too.

      I'll have to keep my eye open for that! Yes, to my shame, this was my first Steve McQueen movie (I think), so I feel a wee bit uneducated;)

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    2. Well, you started your Steve McQueen viewing with one of his best. The Great Escape is also splendid, if you at all like WWII movies.

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