On this week’s episode, Dad and I take a look at the 1960 John Sturges classic, The Magnificent Seven. Starring Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, this all time favorite inspired countless scores of sequels and imitations, establishing the basic parameters of ‘Men on a Mission’ films for decades to come. But of course, it was itself a remake, of the 1954 Japanese adventure film The Seven Samurai, directed by the great Akira Kurosawa. This episode ends up being about both equally, more or less, which is fair, as Seven Samurai is quite easily as influential (arguably far moreso). Along the way, we discuss the great chemistry between Brynner and McQueen (all the more impressive considering their real life dislike of one another), the importance of a good villain, the more impressive physical feats on display from the likes of James Coburn and Horst Bucholtz, the gap left without the agility and charisma of Toshiro Mifune, the importance of being cool, and the lameness of being the fat, greedy, cowardly seventh member of the team.
One of these days we’ll do a podcast on a not very good film that we can’t recommend, but that is not this day. You should watch both of these films. They don’t just set the tone for Westerns to come, but they’re cracking adventures that are really just fun to watch.
Next week we’ll be changing the pace with a Western released last year, the bizarre tonal contradiction that is Bone Tomahawk. A very traditional western drama that suddenly turns sharply into cannibal horror, this episode promises to challenge the very premise of watching a western with your father. I’m damn excited to see what Dad makes of it.
The Magnificent Seven (1960) was direcred by John Sturges and stars Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Horst Bucholtz, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Robert Vaughn. The Seven Samurai (1954) was directed by Akira Kurosawa and stars Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, and several other Japanese people.