Monday, 24 March 2014

The Magnificent Three and Four Others

I had a week off back in February from my classes, during which I took some time to watch some Westerns. After re-watching the remake of 3:10 to Yuma I found myself re-watching the older classic film The Magnificent Seven. It was a reasonably enjoyable film, but I can't deny it was flawed in one particular area.

If there's anything about this movie that could be considered a problem, it's that there are a few too many characters. The acting is good enough but I couldn't help noticing that half the "magnificent seven" didn't actually get that much of a chance at any individual development. The only three that really got a lot of depth were Yul Brynner's character of Chris, Steve McQueen's role of Van, and Horst Buchholz's role of Chico (fittingly, these are the three who survive)

Now to be fair, Charles Bronson's character of Bernardo O'Reilly does get a little bit of depth in a minor sub-plot, but the three Mexican children he befriends don't have much character, and this is still greatly overshadowed by the central plot.

James Coburn's character of Britt does have some amusing quirks, but he never really gets a chance to fully shine. We see his incredible knife-throwing skills in his introductory scene, but those never come up again, outside of his death scene, where he stabs a wall after being mortally wounded. Beyond that the extent of his character is his tendency to keep falling asleep in odd places. 

I'll confess I do like the costume design for Robert Vaughn's character of Lee, but I also wish they'd done a bit more with his character. He always has this mysterious sort of vibe but it never really goes anywhere and then he just gets killed off before he can really do anything.

The role of Brad Dexter's character of Harry seemed a tad bit redundant to me. He did seem to have a personality insofar as his stubborn insistence that the villagers have something valuable that they're keeping secret. One could also argue that he is the sanest of the group, as he is the only one who decides to get out when he is offered an opportunity to leave whilst everyone else decides to go back into the village and fight a large gang of bandits.

The redundant part of his character came during the climax. After leaving he has a change of heart and returns for the big showdown at the end... only to get killed off almost immediately before he can do anything. It's just that this particular character doesn't seem all that "magnificent" for one of the members of the titular group in a movie called The Magnificent Seven.

While The Magnificent Seven is a decent enough Western, I can't deny it is flawed. The funny thing is that when you look closely, a title like The Magnificent Three and Four Others would have been more accurate.

No comments:

Post a Comment