Another week, another classic. And apparently, lately, the theme is westerns. This was one of the earliest westerns to be adapted based on a Japanese samurai film, to great results. Only six years after it’s “parent” film, this transports the story into the US/Mexico border, and retains the notion of seven fighters defending a small town from a ruthless gang that seeks to take their harvest and kill anyone who resists them.
What’s most notable about this is the star-studded Hollywood cast, including Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen and Eli Wallach. The script from William Roberts gives depth to each of the actors who make up the gang, giving them reasons for showing up and standing up for the town full of farmers, and reasons to want to stay after the fighting is done. There is a richness to the text, and the stars are more than up to the task of carrying it from the page to the screen.
John Sturges balances everything very well, giving all of his stars screen time and getting good performances from them. The story has impact and when the final scenes play out, it is affecting to see how character choices played out and what came of them. This is a certified classic and a worthy remake of its source.