Don’t know how they got permission to use the Pyramid of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza, Hope they got a some good gold out of it. But it shouldn’t happen.
No doubt who the Star was.
In his career George Chakiris did have his moments in the Sun (West Side Story, Diamond Head …)
Shirley Anne Field – beautiful, but not very Mayan.
Brad Dexter? Where have we seen him before?
In The Magnificent Seven (1960) also with Yul Brynner.
InKings of the Sun, Brad gets a new hat.
Chichen Itza and the Pyramid of Kukulkan
Before CGI there was people!!!
Those steps are steep and jagged.
Here come the Toltecs.
Storming the Pyramid of Kulkulkan.
A dangerous stunt.
Many of the 91 steps are jagged and uneven – and over 12 inches in height. The Pyramid of Kukulkan incline is also a steep 45 degree angle. Combined with heat and/or wind and you can have a real problem here. And a fall on these steps would not be a happy event.
Don’t know what pyramid this is, but it’s a typical Mayan Pyramid.
Coming down is even more treacherous than going up. Imagine if this guy had fallen at the top.
Coming down the steps of the Pyramid of Kukulkan. You can see it’s no joke – even if you’re young.
I have to think that they stopped people climbing on the Pyramid for 2 reasons:
– It was destroying the Pyramid.
– Safety. People were getting hurt.
So look at this scene!!! This is insane! I’m guessing they performed this slowly – then sped up the footage for the Movie?? But it doesn’t look like it.
I smoked for 7 years. Not moderately. 2 packs a day. Combined with drinking, LSD, cocaine, hashish, ??? … I did everything but heroin. I was a well rounded abuser. This was my lifestyle. My drinking alone would have qualified me as a alcoholic. I was drunk and stoned much of the time.
Drugs and booze were readily available back then – and cheap. Cigs cost about 60 cents a pack. A case of beer was $2.75. In the tavern draft beer was 10 cents a glass. I could go to the bar with 5 bucks and drink all night. And have enough money left to take a cab.
Then I quit it all. It didn’t mix with a stronger need that I had. Spirituality. I was starting a new chapter in my life.
I had run the gauntlet and made it.
Others … ?
It took 6 months to cough the tar out of my lungs. I never smoked again and I had no inclination to do any of that other stuff either. I was done.
But why did I do it? I don’t know? I just felt I needed to. I don’t regret it. But I don’t encourage it. It’s stupid and destructive. Avoid it.
When I stopped everything I lost most of my friends. Our relationship revolved around drugs and drinking. They didn’t want me around if I wasn’t participating. I felt the same way about them.
I finally went and saw TheMagnificent Seven (2016) the other night.
I had initially said that I wouldn’t judge this movie by the original,
but it raises so many issues surrounding modern Film Making – and Westerns
that I couldn’t resist.
“Justice has a number”
– M7 (2016) tagline
“Remakes? You probably shouldn’t go there.” – My Favorite Westerns
The CWF Film Critique System
Being a Film Critic of no renown, I have deferred my critiquing chores to my unfamous and trusted colleague Cecil W. (Wannabe) Ford! Wannabe is not a respected Film Critic, but to make up for that by his high HO (Highly Opinionated) Rating – especially of himself. This, combined with his unique CWF Critique System (whereby each movie is subjected to Wannabe’s stringent CWF testing criteria) he arrives at a judgment. Maybe.
Let us proceed.
The Magnificent Seven (2016) Review
by Cecil W(annabe). Ford
I like to think that NOTHING is impossible.
But my expectations were not high.
Why? Because a Remake of the Magnificent Seven IS pretty well impossible. Denzel Washington says right there himself at the start of the movie:
Quote: Denzel Washington (Sam Chisolm):
“Took a job – looking for a some men to join us.” Chris Pratt(Josh Farraday):
“Is it difficult?” Denzel Washington:
This is not mere dialogue (quoted from the first movie): It’s Film director and Producer Antoine Fuqua’sopen admission that there is no way he could make a movie that will equal the Original Magnificent Seven(1960).
You have to give him credit for admitting that. He knew it. And there are definite reasons for that knowledge – things that were beyond his control. I’ll get to those …
The real question is: Why? Why make the movie? Why make movie that you know is going to be compared to the incomparable? If you know something is impossible, then Why attempt it?
Antoine Fuqua’s last 9 movies have all made money – including M7 2016.
In Film Making that makes him a SuperStar.
Time for Wannabe’s Test # One:
Test One: The CWF Charismometer
Measuring Star Power / Charisma / Casting
My first Test will employ the trusty CWF Charismometer.This will infallibly measure, Star Power, Charisma, and Casting– vital components in any movie – and the main factors that Fuqua, his Writers, and the Producers … or anybody – could not match from the Original Magnificent Seven.
We’ll start with Yul Brunnerand Denzel Washington.
Denzelis a Star. No doubt about it. And a good Actor.
And if he wasn’t in M7 2016, it wouldn’t hardly be worth a sniff.
But compared to Yul Brynner?
Well, it’s a good thing I tested Denzelfirst, because Yulblew my Charismometer to smithereens.
This is the first reason – and likely most important reason – M7 2016 couldn’t match the original.
I will next test the rest …
Those Thrilling Stars of Yesteryear
Is it just me? or is the Star Power in modern Film not equal to the Star Power of yesteryear – 50’s and 60’s. 70’s??? John Wayne,Cary Grant, Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Clark Gable, Bogart, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, Fonda, Brando…
I could go on and on and on. And then start on the ladies. Yes. we certainly have Starsand some very good actors these days … but …
The Magnificent Seven Official Soundtrack theme … Elmer Bernstein
Yul Brynner / Chris
Yul Brynner as Chris
“I’ve been offered a lot for my work, but never everything.”
It’s said that the idea of (“An Americanization of the film, Seven Samurai (1954)”) to The Magnificent Seven, was Yul Brynner’s idea.
In any case, it’s no secret who the Star of this film was: Yul himself. And a magnificent Star he was – surely one of the most charismatic actors in Hollywood history.
The whole success of the film and it’s cast – one the the major Western Classics even carries to this day – where constant rumours or a remake swirl. A remake, which would possibly be an impossible task in it’s challenge to find Stars of the stature or a Yul Brynner – and the rest of the cast. A very daunting task.
Brynner cemented his image as Western Film Star and went on to appear in several spin-offs – none of which were as imposing as Magnificent Seven – yet still worthy of a look due to Brynner’s Star power.
Alas dying far too early at the age of 65 from lung cancer.
Yul Brynner Western Filmography The Magnificent Seven / 1960 Invitation to a Gunfighter / 1964 Return of the Seven / 1966 Villa Rides / 1968 Adios, Sabata / 1970 Catlow / 1971 Westworld / 1973 _____________________________________________
Steve McQueen / Vin
“We deal in lead, friend.”
Billed 3rd behind Yul Brynner and Eli Wallach, McQueen’s shameless antics to steal scenes is the stuff of movie legends – as McQueen evidently feared Brynner’s notable charisma would overshadow him – and eventually started a one-upmanship duel between Brynner and McQueen throughout the filming. Steve, of course, eventually went on to become a big Star and success in his own right – and I wonder if they both didn’t share a chuckle about all this later on.
In the long run, it’s interesting that both of these great Stars seemed to pass before their time: McQueen of cancer at age 50 and Brynner of cancer at age 65 – both from smoking.
Tragic, as both would have undoubtedly continued to make good work.
Steve McQueen Western Filmography:
Tales of the Wells Fargo / TV Western / 1958 Guest Appearance Trackdown / TV Western / 1958 Guest Appearance (2)
Wanted: Dead or Alive / TV Western / 1958 Series Star / 1958 – 1961 The Magnificent Seven / Co-Star / 1960 Nevada Smith / Star / 1966 Junior Bonner / Star (Directed by Sam Pekinpah) / 1972 Tom Horn / Star / 1980
James Coburn / Britt
“Nobody throws me my own guns and tells me to ride on. Nobody.”
James Coburn Western Filmography
1959 Ride Lonesome
1959 Face of a Fugitive
1960 The Magnificent Seven
1963 The Man from Galveston
1964 Major Dundee
1967 Waterhole No. 3
1971 Duck, You Sucker! / Renamed A Fistful of Dynamite for U.S. release
1972 A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die / Renamed Massacre At Fort Holman for U.S. release
1973 Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / Sam Peckinpah
1975 Bite the Bullet
1990 Young Guns II
1996 Ben Johnson: Third Cowboy on the Right
2000 Texas Rangers
Charles Bronson / Bernardo
Bronson seemed (to me) to be a man that had paid his dues (he had) and this seemed to shine through his on-screen persona.
But he had that soft side too – as we see with the kids in The Magnificent Seven. Maybe that comes from his upbringing in a real life family of 14 brothers and sisters.
When we are introduced to Bronson in The Magnificent Seven we encounter him chopping wood. You better believe that no acting was necessary. And he could just as easily have been swinging a pick.
It’s a smart casting trick: choosing people who don’t need to act.
Bronson’s unique looks, however, allowed him to play roles of different cultures and races. Mexicans, Indians … his name in The Magnificent Seven is Bernardo O’Rielly … Italian Irish ?
WIKIPEDIA: Bronson was born Charles Dennis Buchinsky in Ehrenfeld in Cambria County in the coal region of the Allegheny Mountains north of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. During the McCarthy hearings, he changed his last name to Bronson, fearing that Buchinsky sounded “too Russian”; the name was taken from Bronson Avenue in Hollywood, where the famous gated entrance to Paramount Pictures is located.
He was one of fifteen children born to a Lithuanian (Lipka Tatar) immigrant father and a Lithuanian-American mother. His father, Walter Bunchinski, who later adjusted his surname to Buchinsky to sound more “American”, hailed from the town of Druskininkai. Bronson’s mother, Mary (née Valinsky), whose parents were from Lithuania, was born in the coal mining town of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. He learned to speak English when he was a teen, before that he spoke Russian and Lithuanian.
Bronson was the first member of his family to graduate from high school. As a young child, Bronson did not initially know how to speak English and only learned the language while in his teens. When Bronson was 10 years old, his father died. Young Charles went to work in the coal mines, first in the mining office and then in the mine itself. He earned $1 for each ton of coal that he mined. He worked in the mine until he entered military service during World War II. His family was so poor that, at one time, he reportedly had to wear his sister’s dress to school because of his lack of clothing.
In 1943, Bronson enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces and served as an aerial gunner in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron, and in 1945 as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress crewman with the 39th Bombardment Group based on Guam. He was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received during his service.”
“I admire your notion of fair odds, mister.”
~ Charles Bronson / The Magnificent Seven.
“Till you lose your nerve. You can feel it. Then you wait … for the bullet in the gun that is faster than you are …”
Lee is probably the most complicated Character of the Seven.
Vaughn’s and (Director) John Stuges’ portrayal of Lee is be-gloved, dapper, dudish, white shirted, articulate gentleman gunsfighter – with a string tie,
who had lost his nerve and his touch.
A washed up gunslinger.
A bit of a tragic figure to be sure … only redeemed moments before his death – a death we sense is somewhat of a relief for him from the torture of the failure that he feels himself to be.
It’s pretty well telegraphed to us from the beginning that Lee will not be one of the Seven who rides off into the sunset.
Robert Vaughn Western Filmography
Good Day for a Hanging (1958) The Magnificent Seven (1960) TV Work: Gunsmoke (1956) Guest Frontier (1956) Guest Tales of Wells Fargo (1957) Guest The Rifleman (1958) Guest Law of the Plainsman (1959) Guest Wichita Town (1959) Guest Laramie (1960) Guest The Man from Blackhawk (1960) Guest Bonanza (1961) Guest The Blue and the Gray (1982 mini-series) _______________________________________________________
Horst Buchholz / Chico
I wonder if people really appreciate the acting of Horst Buchholz in The Magnificent Seven? I doubt it.
Here’s a young German actor who comes over here … and does a Mexican Hat Dance, a mock bullfight, handles the romance, the action, some comic relief, and is also brilliant in the several dramatic scenes including the famous ‘audition scene’ with Yul Brynner. Displaying a breadth and depth of emotion throughout the movie.
Pretty heady stuff.
Brynner and Buchholz …. renegotiating
el toro !
Horst Bucholz and Rosenda Monteros
Brad Dexter / Harry Luck
Brad Dexter as Harry Luck
The Magnificent Seven
Bronson, Dexter, Vaughn
Let’s call it Luck … bad luck, because sadly, strangely, unfairly, movies often all boil down to that intangible element called Charisma.
You either got it … or you don’t.
The Magnificent Seven
The proof is in the most famous trivia question of Western Film: “Who was that Seventh guy anyway?”
Even when people are shown his picture …
most people STILL don’t know his name.
Playing Harry Luck.
Against the other members of the Seven … Brad simply fell into shadow.
Oh, Brad Dexter was cast correctly for his part alight – as the cynical member of the Seven who was ‘just in it for the money’.
But most everyone else in the cast was already an established Star (Brynner, McQueen, Wallach) – or moving swiftly up the ladder toward bright daylight (Bronson, Coburn, Bucholz and Vaughn).
Brad simply fell back – and never quite made it.
Brad Dexter / Veljko Soso
April 9, 1917 – December 11, 2002
Yet Dexter still had a successful film career that spanned some 50 years and included at least 40 movies.
Luck had nothing to do with it.
Eli Wallach / Calvera
“My first Western was called The Magnificent Seven.” ~ Eli Wallach
Eli Herschel Wallach (born December 7, 1915) Eli Wallach is 97 years old.
In his acting career Wallach appeared in approximately 90 films and 85 Television shows.
“I never dreamed I would do Westerns.” ~ Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach Westerns
The Magnificent Seven(1960) How the West Was Won (1962) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) Mackenna’s Gold (1969) Long Live Your Death (1971) Shoot First… Ask Questions Later (1975)
Wallach says he once received a letter from the Pope who told him that his favorite Wallach Movie was The Magnificent Seven.
“As an actor I’ve played more bandits, thieves, killers, warlords, molesters, and Mafiosi than you could shake a stick at.”
~ Eli Wallach
Below is my favorite Wallach scene from the The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
I heard Wallach say that Director Sergio Leone basically gave him free reign to improvise that scene any way he wanted.
Amazingly, by today’s standards for Western Badguys, Wallach was a pretty nice chap. In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly he may be Ugly and ornery, but he’s basically comic relief, while Eastwood and Van Cleef handle the drama.
Likewise, in The Magnificent Seven, after Wallach and his gang get the drop the Seven, he merely scolds them … and then lets them go! THEN, he gives them back their guns !!! Nice guy. The Seven promptly ride back and kill all the bandits – including Wallach.
He’s also pretty clean … nice red shirt and vest … no tortilla stains, no spitting, cussing, abusing, raping … a little bit of pillaging … but that’s it.
And those peons … in immaculate white togs.
Fact is, the Mexican government was furious at the way Mexicans were depicted in a previous Western, Vera Cruz (starring Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper) and therefore placed people on the set whose job it was to censor any negative depictions of Mexico or Mexicans.
Funny, but nobody seems to notice this … unless someone points it out.
“I always end up being the evil one, and I wouldn’t hurt a fly.” ~ Eli Wallach
MGM are leaving no stone unturned in their catalogue when it comes to remakes. With “Robocop” and “Poltergeist” on the way for 2014, and “Road House,” “Death Wish,” “WarGames,” “The Idolmaker,” “Ben-Hur” and more all in development, the name of game seems to reboots over original material. And that brings us to the classic western “The Magnificent Seven.” In the works for a couple years now, the project gained some serious steam when Tom Cruise put his name to it in 2012, with a writer added over this past summer. But heading into 2014, the redo will need to find another star as a screenplay gets more work.
The Wrap reports that John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side,” “Saving Mr. Banks”) has been brought in to re-write the first draft of the script by Nic Pizzolatto (“True Detective”). For now, it’s just a writing gig for Hancock who has no plans to direct, but with credits to his name including “The Alamo,” “Snow White & The Huntsman” and next year’s “Maleficent,” he knows his way around spectacle. Meanwhile, Tom Cruise has exited the project mostly because his plate is currently full with about five zillion other movies on the go, so he could probably do with one less.
So the remake machine continues on this project, and we’ll ask you this: who do you think can direct or star in this movie and at least attempt to do justice to the original?
I’ve already posted my own fantasy cast which I will boldly match up against anybody else’s projections.
Except for Tom Cruise, of course, who has now bailed out. This leaves a VERY large hole – as casting Yul Brynner’s former role was the biggest challenge of them all.
My Favorite Westerns casting for The Magnificent Seven / Remake:
Yul Brynner … TOM CRUISE
Steve McQueen … VIGGO MORTENSEN
James Coburn … GUY PEARCE
Charles Bronson … WILLEN DAFOE
Robert Vaughn … BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH
Brad Dexter … BRENDAN FRASER
Horst Buchholz … AARON PAUL
Eli Wallach… ANTONIO BANDERAS
O’Reilly (Bronson): “I admire your notion of fair odds, mister.”
TOM CRUISE’s departure from a planned remake of the star-studded western has put the project back to square one
HOLLYWOOD studio MGM has “called in the cavalry” to rescue a planned remake of classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven after Tom Cruise stunned producers by quitting.
Cruise, 51, blamed a personal “scheduling conflict” for his departure more than six months after agreeing to a lead role.
As he rode off into the sunset, studio bosses hired John Lee Hancock, who directed current box-office hit Saving Mr Banks, to re-write what was seen as a troubled script.
The turmoil comes at the end of a year in which the original Magnificent Seven was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of America’s Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”. It starred Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and Horst Buchholz.
Yesterday a senior MGM source said: “Tom’s departure has thrown a real wrench in the wagon wheel.
“He was the only one of the seven we had cast and would obviously have helped draw other A-list stars into the project.
“Now it’s a case of going right back to square one in terms of casting and having John Lee Hancock re-write the script from top to bottom. You might say he’s leading our cavalry on a rescue mission.
“We’re hoping that once John Lee has completed a first draft of a new script, we will be firmly back on track and in a position to attract some of Hollywood’s best-known actors.”
Hancock, a hugely respected Hollywood figure, is no stranger to the genre, having directed 2004’s Disney remake of another 1960 western classic, The Alamo.
Even before Cruise backed out, studio bosses had become concerned about committing a reported £100million-plus to the film. They saw rival Disney take a financial hit earlier this year as an equally costly remake of The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp as Tonto, flopped.
Los Angeles-based media analyst Mike Raia insisted yesterday: “I believe the western can survive and even thrive as a genre.
“However, the onus is on the filmmakers to make their modern versions resonate with today’s younger audiences as well as older fans.”
“You never miss the water ‘til the well runs dry”.
And when all the modern smoke and mirrors finally clear, well …
the well is pretty dry.
No Burt Lancasters, Charlton Hestons, Kirk Douglas’, no Hepburns, Brynners … no Fonda’s, no Wayne’s … no Astaires, no Pecks … nor Cagney’s …
The well is not just dry. It’s gone.
I have a theory. (I always have a theory)
When the old studio film system eventually died it was a costly loss of an incredible artistic fraternity. The old studios and their moguls found and developed great STARS. They searched for and discovered talented people – then trained them – often from childhood up. They had a system; a plan; a program. And it worked. Did it ever. They looked for quality people, ability, character and talent. And found it. The list is so long, I couldn’t write it here.
Oh, it wasn’t perfect. (Nothing is). And many Stars rebelled against it – disliking it’s confinement and regimentation. Eventually it disintegrated.
I wouldn’t say there aren’t some good actors and talented people around today.
“I never rode shotgun on a hearse before.” – Steve McQueen / The Magnificent Seven
I could very easily understand it if Tom Cruise’s rumoured remake of The Magnificent Seven never hits the dusty trail. Though you can surely bet that they want to make this movie … and you can surely bet that Western Fans are very interested (there’s a ready-made market out here).
The same problems that plague (and guns down) most remakes (of any genre) are in strong evidence:
Mainly, THEY DON’T HAVE THE PEOPLE. Oh yeah, they’ve got all the modern production values … the money … and special effects … etc. BUT … where (oh where) do you find a Director like John Sturges (Gunfight at the OK Corral. Last Train from Gun Hill; Hour of the Gun; Bad Day at Black Rock; Joe Kidd; The Law and Jake Wade, etc) ? or (an inspired script) writing like the previous movie … AND (most importantly) THE CAST to match the previously (great) movie – a Western Classic: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach. Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Horst Buchholz …
The horrible reality is … you can’t.
For starters, where do you find a Yul Brynner ????
There ain’t any. He was one of a kind. The Man.
Do you see anybody around who can fill those boots ??
I don’t. But I don’t know everything.
So … OK … let’s not give up so easily. Let’s suppose that these nagging points aren’t going to discourage Tom – and he is planning to go ahead – as I’m sure he will.
Let’s play movie maker then … Casting Director … and try to pull this off.
Here we go …
Number 1: Casting Chris
This is going to be the hardest role to cast. It makes or breaks the movie even before it hits the screen … or the fan.
I’m supposing (if this really is Tom Cruise‘s project) that Tom is considering playing Yul Brynner‘s role as Chris.
Will that work? Can he pull it off? Mission impossible?
You know, I like Tom Cruise as an actor. Most of his stuff is pretty good – and entertaining.
BUT … really.
Hmmm. But maybe Tom will look things over
and decide to cast somebody else here.
or will he bravelyshave his head and brazenlyride forward !?! ???
IF he does decide to cast someone else here …
then who ??
Is there a Star around with the charisma, power and presence of Yul Brynner ??