Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hellbent for Letterbox: The Magnificent Seven (1960)



Pax and I get ready for the upcoming Magnificent Seven remake by sitting down with the original starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Brad Dexter, Horst Buchholz, and Eli Wallach.

We also revisit DC's Justice Riders, talk over Chuck Dixon and John Buscema's Punisher: A Man Named Frank, discuss Sam Shepard as Butch Cassidy in Blackthorn, follow up on Bo Hampton's 3 Devils, converse on Kid Colt Outlaw #171 (guest-starring the Two-Gun Kid), and gab about early John Wayne movies Sagebrush Trail and Riders of Destiny.

















1 comment:

Jack said...

A magnificent analysis, if I may be permitted. If you'll permit me, I'll offer a few comments from the view of an old git who grew up with this stuff:

STEVE McQUEEN: Wanted Dead or Alive was an excellent show. I think you'll like it. Much like John Wayne, Steve pretty much played himself in everything he was in. His cool, IMO, derived from the fact that he didn't care whether you thought he was cool or not. It wasn't important for him to convince you. He did what he did, and never depended on who signed on with him for validation.

ROBERT VAUGHN: My first exposure to Robert Vaughn was The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I loved him as that suave secret agent, and I liked some aspects better than Bond, especially that his organization was constantly visible in the show, unlike Bond who, once he got his assignment, was thrown out into the field to work on his own, and could just as well have been a psychotic killer for all you could tell. I digress. I thought Vaughn was super-cool, but my mom always dismissed him as a chinless milquetoast. That used to send me into a rage, but when you see him here juxtaposed against Brynner, McQueen, Bronson, and Coburn, what do know, he is!

BERNARDO O'REILLY: You weren't the only people who liked the Irish-Mexican mix. See 1966s Alvarez Kelly, a Civil War-era western which pits William Holden's Kelly, a quiet badass who you just know is one, against Richard Widmark's Col. Tom Rossiter, a swaggering, eyepatched, hard-fighting veteran who lets everyone around him know it. Great stuff!

LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Consistently great work from this gifted composer, sort of the Henry Mancini of the old west. Another great Bernstein score is from The Sons of Katie Elder. You can catch the main theme at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcfGZhV1pYs
Dean Martin's in it, along with some actors better-known for their TV careers, and James Gregory, one of my favorite character actors from the era, plays the main villain. His henchman, Curly, was an early role for George Kennedy, and he nailed it! Younger folks like you guys usually don't know that The Magnificent Seven's main theme was sold to Marlboro for their cigarette commercials back when there was such a thing. Maybe the most momentous sellout in history; of course the upside was that you got to hear that fabulous music every time you turned on the TV.

A BONUS FOR MY FRIENDS: If you like Coburn and McQueen, you can get a big helping of them together in Hell is for Heroes, an odd sort of WWII movie that also stars Nick Adams (TV's Rebel), Bobby Darin, and marked the acting debut of Bob Newhart, who was a well-known standup at the time.

I loved this... To the point that I may go back and listen to some about shows I never saw. You guys make a great team, and you can consider me a regular listener.

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