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The Magnificent Seven

DFF at IFS: John Sturges forever changed the face of Westerns

The Magnificent Seven

If you’re seeking the link between the darkly intense horse operas of the late 1950s and the down-and-dirty spaghetti Westerns of the mid-1960s, look no further than The Magnificent Seven,, John Sturges’s immensely popular and enduringly influential 1960 action-adventure about hired guns who get a shot at redemption—and many more at the rapacious bandits who terrorize the Mexican farmers they’re employed to protect.

With an Akira Kurosawa masterwork—1954’s Seven Samurai—as his inspiration and a posse of rising stars in his cast, Sturges established the template for countless sequels, homages and unauthorized knock-offs (including, no kidding, a low-budget sci-fi variation, Battle Beyond the Stars, scripted in 1980 by John Sayles). But the original remains uniquely satisfying, being at once a rousingly old-fashioned tale of tarnished heroes who remain courageous under fire and a thoughtfully revisionist meditation on the ways of men who live by their guns. Chris Adams (Yul Brynner), the man in black who is first among equals, has few illusions about what sets him and his confederates apart from lesser mortals: “It’s only a matter of knowing how to shoot a gun. Nothing big about that.” Trouble is, such expertise is in short supply among the farmers whose remote village is repeatedly plundered by Calvera (Eli Wallach), the bandit leader who makes no apologies for exploiting the helpless. “If God did not want them sheared,” he sneers, “he would not have made them sheep.”

And so, at a time when “gunmen are cheaper than guns,” Adams can afford to assemble six straight-shooters—played by Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Horst Buchholz and Brad Dexter—to help him even the odds in favor of the farmers. In the end, the meek really do inherit the earth. But their protectors are the ones who pay the price for being in a class by themselves.

— Joe Leydon, Variety

The Magnificent Seven

$10 ($9 student, $8 DFS Member, or 1 punch on IFS punchcard)

Fri November 5, 2010, 9:30, Muenzinger Auditorium

USA, 1960, 128 Minutes

recommend

Tickets

10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.

Parking

Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.

RTD Bus

Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

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