Saturday, August 20, 2005

John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven was a movie I couldn't help but like. I'd seen Kurosawa's Seven Samurai & fallen in love with it - & still consider Toshiro Mifune to be the most attractive man I've ever seen (though that was slightly later, after some of his later films, & at other times the Terence Stamp of Billy Budd & the Alain Delon of Rocco & His Brothers tended to shake Mifune's perch). The movie had a cast full of people I liked - Yul Brunner who'd I'd first come across in Cocteau's The Testament of Orpheus, Eli Wallach, always a favourite villian, Horst Buchholz who I'd seen in Tiger Bay playing opposite a very young Hayley Mills, Brad Dexter who was a journeyman actor with a recognisable face, three actors who I'd come across in the American International movies I kept pigging out on at the local double-feature, two-day run, continuous movie house I frequented, Steve McQueen (Stephen McQueen of The Blob), Robert Vaughn from I was a Teenage Caveman, & Charles Bronson from Machine Gun Kelly (though I'd also seen him in his Charles Buchinski days in things like the original House of Wax); James Coburn was the only one I'd never come across before, & he was so cool he rapidly became a firm favourite. I'd always liked cowboy movies, especially when they didn't have John Wayne in them. & I liked Elmer Bernstein's film scores since I first came across one in The Man with the Golden Arm.

Just as John Williams did later in Star Wars, especially with his Darth Vader theme, Bernstein had a Magnificent Seven theme for the good guys, but there was also a secondary theme that was used to accompany the entrance of the Mexican bandits. Da da da da dat dadaa - Dada would have loved a day like this. & I'm reminded of it because there's a crow that's been around for the last few days, which instead of indulging in the languid drawn-out caw that I usually associate with them, parks itself up a tree & issues a series of short notes that modulate at the end, just like Bernstein's theme. It cracks me up, & makes me think, although my asshole doesn't drop out, of the Paul Blackburn poem, The Encounter, that starts:
Staggering down the road at midnite
home from the bar, the

mexican Bandit stood facing me, about
to improve his standard of living.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

never seen the magnificent seven, i loved seven samurai though. did you like the "dollars" trilogy, Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The BAd, and the Ugly?