Midnight Magnificent

There's a scene in The Magnificent Seven that sticks with you. It's an ambush scene, where the heroes of the movie fall into a trap that nobody sees coming, and it's so flawlessly executed on film that you feel every bit as surprised and taken off guard as the characters are. Afterward, you don't know why you didn't see it coming, but it's a testament to the genius of director John Sturges that it plays out so well. The Magnificent Seven was a groundbreaker in a lot of ways—the filming techniques and the score were incredibly innovative at the dawn of the 1960s—and it pulled together an unparalleled group of actors. Yul Brenner is unbelievably cool and collected as Chris Adams—despite a behind-the-scenes ego smackdown with Steve McQueen, who portrays Vin. James Coburn, Charles Bronson and Eli Wallach all add to the legendary casting effort, which was actually thrown together at the last minute to avoid an upcoming actors strike. Based on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, which was itself based on old American Westerns, the film is an epic valentine to the genre. The cinematography alone is worth the price of admission, particularly since there is a new, restored print of the film. See it at the screening of The Magnificent Seven midnight Friday at the Inwood, 5458 W. Lovers Lane. Tickets are $9.25 and can be purchased online at landmarktheatres.com.
Fri., April 11, 2008
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Jennifer Elaine-Davis