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Cast of Antoine Fuqua’s 2016 version of The Magnificent Seven (Photo: Blackfilm.com)
Remakes of remakes of remakes! The latest version of The Magnificent Seven, starring Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington, is set for a September release. It’s a remake of the 1960 film of the same name, which was in turn a Hollywood remake of Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai from 1954. The plot (a gang of gunfighters is hired to protect a town from a bandit) was also parodied in Three Amigos!, moved to outer space in Battle Beyond the Stars, and was reinterpreted by none other than Stephen King in Wolves of the Calla.
Jack Marshall, an author, lawyer, and Westerns fan, explores this timeless story and why it has endured across the decades, various media, and languages and cultures.
One of the elements that cemented the status of The Magnificent Seven as an iconic Hollywood western is its equally magnificent score by Elmer Bernstein, selected by AFI as one of the top 10 of all time. For writer Kevin Hughes, “This is The Perfect Score...from the main title to the last frame of film, there is not a wasted or unnecessary note, not a single misstep in how best to approach a scene; more than this, it sounds like nothing movie audiences had ever heard before in the context of a film; overtly masculine, the score also contains moments of great tenderness and folk music. …Its energy and kineticism are as heroic as the larger-than-life characters that fill the screen.” Look—and listen—at how Bernstein’s stirring score creates that ideal connection among music, character, and action.
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