In 1962 Dean Martinmakes his 3rd Western: Sergeants 3. No Classic, but interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s Produced by Frank Sinatra – and Directed (believe it or not) by the great Director John Sturges, Director of the Great Western Classics: The Magnificent Seven (1960) and Gunfight at OK Corral (1957) – plus The Great Escape (1963) – among others. Amazing! So why would Sturgeswant to Direct such an offbeat project? Well why not! You get to work with some of the Greatest names in Las Vegas/Hollywood entertainment history: Sinatra, Martin and Sammy Davis Jr!! The real trick would be to keep this set from turning into an outright party – though it’s said that the Pack usually behaved like the Pros they were.
“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 ??
In rebuilding my ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral‘ page I got to thinking about Lancaster’s portrayal of Wyatt Earp. In earlier films Lancaster had become famous for his trademark smile – which he is said to have referred to as “the grin” – most obvious in ‘Vera Cruz’ (one of My Favorite Westerns). Therefore his stoic and stern portrayal of Wyatt Earp in ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’ is a stark and deliberate contrast. Was Earp really like this? Because this same humorless image of Earp is carried on through most of the other popular Earp Films: ‘Hour of the Gun‘; ‘Tomestone’ and ‘Wyatt Earp’. Only Henry Fonda‘s portrait of Earp in ‘My Darling Clementine‘ (1946) seems to put a more human face on Earp. Director John Sturges (‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’) continued with this strict image of Earp in ‘Hour of the Gun’ (1968) which starred James Garner as Earp. Garner’s ruthless portrayal of Earp is even more striking because of Garner’s usual soft and often comedic persona from the ‘Maverick’ TV series. It is safe to say however, that Sturges wasn’t very concerned with a historical portrayal of Earp (Lancaster doesn’t even sport a mustache) or the gunfight at the OK Corral. But it seems ironic that the film that makes the greatest effort to paint a historical document of Earp (Lawrence Kasdan‘s ‘Wyatt Earp’ starring Kevin Costner as Earp) is probably the least popular of five films.
Hollywood rumour mills are churning out a story that Tom Cruise is spearheading a remake of the Magnificent Seven. It seems to be in “concept” stage only at present.
In an age where we have a dearth of Western films, any such rumour is greeted with enthusiasm.
The immediate question arises: WHO ? will be the Seven ??
Casting will spell the success – or failure – of the whole project – and presents a very daunting task: how can you match or equal the almost unparalelled cast of the original movie ? that starred Yul Brunner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Eli Wallach, Horst Buchholz …
Nearly every actor in the Seven was – or became – a bonafide movie Star in their own right.
Who would you cast as the Seven? Consider that Cruise likely will hold one role – possibly that which was played by Brunner (wonder if he’ll shave his head?)
It’s going to be interesting to see what they come up with.
Continuing to add pages to Gunfight at the OK Corral profile …
Thing is … I keep finding new stuff … and changing things. So I’m editing and adding new material as a go along.
Combined with my inexperience at Blogging, it’s taking quite a bit of work and I’m only able to add 2 or 3 sections a day.
BUT … it’s a labour of love … and I’m enjoying it. And I never want to get into a space where I’m just throwing things on there just to get it done.
So … I should have Gunfight at the OK Corral pretty well finished in about 3 days … I’m guessing.
Then it’s on to the next movie which I think will be Pekinpah’s ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’.
In any case these profiles are never finished. I rarely ever look at them when I don’t see something that needs fixing – or improving. Not to mention the fact that I keep finding new material. So if you check back here you will continually find that these profiles are changing, expanding and growing.