With the remake of The Magnificent 7 current in cinemas starring the excellent Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt you might be thinking “How could they remake a classic?!” While most would agree with you; it’s wise to remember that the 1960 film The Magnificent 7 which starred Yul Brynner, and Steve McQueen was also a remake.
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The Magnificent 7 is the Westernised version of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese cinema classic Seven Samurai. When the remake was released in American cinemas to mixed reviews, there was only one review that matted to director John Sturges, and that was of Akira himself. When Akria saw John’s film, he was so moved by the version that he sent John a ceremonial sword as a gift. One of the best reviews one could ask for.
The film was made under harsh circumstances, and there were even worries that it wouldn’t be made at all. With the Actor’s strike looming in Hollywood, the studio and its director had a deadline to get the seven roles cast. The made it, but just barley.
One of the biggest hurdles while making the movie was the rivalry that emerged between the film’s stars Yul and Steve. Yul handpicked Steve to be in the film, and he told everyone that would listen that it was something he immediately regretted.
Steve thought this was his big break and knowing the star power that Yul had made a point to upstage him at every opportunity. Steve would take his hat off and move around a lot in wide shots or group shots so that your eye was drawn to him. Yurl even threaten him at one point saying that if he took that hat off one more time, he was going to nail it to Steve’s head, or at the very least Yul would take off his hat, and no one would even know Steve was in the film.
Many years later while Steve was struggling with cancer, he called for Yul and the two reconciled. Being in The Magnificent 7 had made Steve a massive movie star and got him his role in his next picture The Great Escape. Steve thanked Yul for keeping him in the film even when Steve “rattled him.” Yul reportedly said, “I am the king and you are the rebel prince: every bit as royal… and dangerous to cross.”
It was this rivalry and chemistry that helped make the 1960 version of The Magnificent 7 one of the greatest Westerns of all time.