I recently borrowed The Magnificent Seven – saw it reviewed on the SPL homepage. Didn’t realize until I got home that the DVD was a remake of the original (has Denzel Washington in it.) I’m sure I probably saw the original as a child (westerns were standard viewing in my home), but didn’t remember the storyline. So, I borrowed the original with Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and Robert Vaughn which was released in 1960. The opening credits state that the film is an American remake of Akiro Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai (I haven’t seen that film either in many, many years.) This is a classic Western - a terrorized Mexican village hires a group of gunslingers to protect them from the bad guys who come into their town and steal their belongings and resources. The villagers are farmers, not fighters, so they look for hired help. They encounter Yul, tell him their problems and he goes about recruiting six other gunslingers to protect village. The DVD has lots of shooting, but also has the Mag 7 getting a bit philosophical near the end. There is some cheesy overacting, but the storyline is solid and the Magnificent Seven ends with a big shootout with the bad guys. Apparently, there were 3 sequels and a television show. One commenter in the bonus features says that the Magnificent Seven was the last epic Western made before television took over the genre. Think I can watch the more recent remake now and will have to borrow the Seven Samurai.

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