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Bank holiday memories!
on 29 July 2005
If, like me, you grew up in the UK between, say, 1975-1990, you will be well aware of a certain number of films which made up the bulk of family TV during public holidays. The Magnificent Seven is undoubtedly chief among these. No bank holiday Monday was ever complete without the heroics of Yul Bryner & Co. enlivening our living rooms and the sound of Elmer Bernstein's fabulous score ringing in our ears.
And this lovely memory of days gone by suggests to me the strength and weakness of this tremendously popular film. On the one hand, Seven is a blast from start to finish - great fun! But on the other hand, in order to rattle along at a suitably action-packed pace the film lacks sufficent characterisation and plot development to lift it out of the best of the rest category and into the all time greats (of the genre, that is). Sure, there are characters and there is a plot but they are, let's be honest, pretty thin on the ground.
Nevertheless, the film is highly enjoyable and definitely worth repeated viewing. The DVD extras are nice, particularly the feature on the making of the film. There are interviews with some of the cast, crew and folk behind the film and a few nuggets of info which make watching the film a little more fun.
For example, a lot is made of the young Steve McQueen's attempts to be the star of the film and the little acting tricks he employed to capture the camera's, and hence the viewers' attention. Several anecdotes relating to this are told and are great fun to hear!
At its heart, Seven was a vehicle for six rising Hollywood stars and the established star, Yul Bryner. The chemistry between them and the friction on and off the screen adds to the dramatic effect of the film and the results are...dare I say it, magnificent!