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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - September, 2011

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"The Magnificent Seven" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by John Johnson

movie-september-2011-magnificent-seven

Synopsis

Based on Okira Kurosawa's classic novel Seven Samurai, this film sets the stage and story in Mexico instead of Japan. A small village is being terrorized by a gang of bandits, whose leader, Calvera (Wallach), takes pleasure in coming to the village with his thugs to take whatever they want whenever they want it, mostly food. It has been going on for a long time, and when Calvera murders one of the villagers, they pool some money together and hire a gunman, Chris Adams (Brynner), to rid the village of the gang once and for all. Of course, Chris knows he cannot do this alone, so he locates some friends and a couple of strangers, six to be exact, making them a posse of seven.

The seven - whose star power made them magnificent even without the story - help the villagers learn how to protect themselves and show Calvera who gives orders and who takes orders. Vin Tanner (McQueen) states it succinctly to Calvera, "We deal in lead, friend."

The lead flies, and the bandits dies (it should read "die", but that didn't rhyme).

Specifications

  • MGM
  • 1960, Color, Not Rated, 2 Hr 8 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Codec: AVC @ 31 Mbps
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn, Horst Buchholz
  • Directed by John Sturges
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

It's definitely one of the top 10 westerns ever made, with a film score theme that everyone is familiar with (cortesy of Elmer Bernstein), probably because it was used in a cigarette commercial for years, showing a cowboy lighting up his smoke, until the cowboy died of lung cancer. 

Technical

The bit rate on this transfer is 31 Mbps. One would think this would result in a spectacular image. Unfortunately, it is grainy. Very surprising. Perhaps they did not use the camera negative for the mastering. Nevertheless, it is certainly better than the standard definition versions we have been watching on TV for 50 years. The audio was obviously originally in mono, and there is only so much you can do to convert mono to any sort of surround experience.

Extras

There are only a few extras, including Guns for Hire - The Making of The Magnificent Seven, Lost Images, Trailers, and a Still Gallery.