Tag Archives: The magnificent seven

Remembering James Horner: The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Unbelievably, tomorrow will mark four years since we lost composer James Horner in a plane crash. I established the Remembering James Horner Blogathon to celebrate his beautiful film scores and in my own small way keep his memory alive.

For this year’s blogathon, I decided to look at one of Horner’s final works, his score for the 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven. There’s actually a pretty sad story behind this score. You’ll note the film was released in 2016, after Horner had passed away. Well, he’d been attached to score the film, but at the time of his death, the impression was the score hadn’t been started. But then, when his things were being cataloged in his old studio, someone discovered the entire store written and saved on his computer. It turns out that Horner had secretly scored the entire film as a surprise for the director, but of course had never gotten the chance to tell him about it. Now technically this score isn’t 100% Horner’s work. Simon Franglen was brought in to adjust and tweak the score after it was discovered, but I believe the vast majority remains Horner’s original work, the last of his scores to ever be released.

The-Magnificent-Seven-2016.jpg

The soundtrack for The Magnificent Seven features Horner working at his peak, as always. Since this is a Western, there’s a noted “twang” in the strings, with I believe a mix of guitar thrown in to emphasize the Old West setting.

I was actually against this film at first (being a huge fan of the original), even after Horner’s passing, until I listened to the soundtrack in preparation for the blogathon and realized that Horner had taken the time to quote Elmer Bernstein’s original theme for The Magnificent Seven (1960). You can hear it particularly in “Volcano Springs” and in other places, but it isn’t quoted in full until the end credits. I love that Horner took the time to quote that iconic melody, since it really doesn’t feel like a “Magnificent Seven” film without it, not to me at any rate. This shows me that Horner, at some level, wanted to connect this film back to the iconic 1960 film, which is something he didn’t have to do, but I’m glad he did.

Horner definitely put his own stamp on this film score. I normally wouldn’t think of hearing drawn out vocals in a Western (“Street Slaughter”), but Horner makes it work as only he can (he was known for using drawn out vocals in his film scores, Troy is a good example).

It makes me sad, even now, that this was James Horner’s last film score, but I’m glad it was found in time to be used for the film. I honestly think this score is one of the best parts of the film, it sounds beautiful.

What do you think of the remake of The Magnificent Seven and its score? Does the fact that this is James Horner’s final film score change your impression of it in anyway? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day! Be sure to check out the official recap page of the blogathon to see the other entries as they’re posted.

See also:

Remembering James Horner: Troy (2004)

The magic of James Horner: Casper (1995)

Remembering James Horner: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

The 4th Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon has Arrived!

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

 

Advertisements

Cancelled Too Soon #12: The Magnificent Seven (1998-2000)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

the_magnificent_seven-show_6838

Did you know that CBS made a television series based on the popular western The Magnificent Seven (1960)?? If you didn’t, don’t feel too upset, up until a few years ago, I didn’t know the show existed either, but oh my goodness it is amazing!!

The show is loosely based on the same premise as the film, where a group of seven gunmen, led by Chris, band together to protect a town. Only in the show, they’re protecting a frontier town out West, and not a Mexican village south of the border. These are also not quite the same cast of characters from the film either. The ‘seven’ of the Magnificent Seven are:

Chris Larabee (Michael Biehn): The leader of the group, and based on the “Chris” character played by Yul Brynner in the original film

Vin Tanner (Eric Close): A bounty hunter and tracker, closely based on the “Vin” character played by Steve McQueen in the original film.

Ezra Standish (Anthony Starke): A southern con-man and gambler, who often struggles with moral dilemmas regarding what he does best. He really has a heart of gold though.

Josiah Sanchez (Ron Perlman): A preacher and former gunfighter who often provides spiritual aid to the group and others. He works on building a church for the town.

Nathan Jackson (Rick Worthy): A former slave who worked as a stretcher-bearer for the Union Army in the Civil War. He learned a lot about medicine and works as the healer for the group, as well as the town they protect. He is an expert with throwing knives

J.D. Dunne (Andrew Kavovit): A ‘city-slicker’ from the East Coast, J.D. has come West to make his fortune as a gunfighter, and has a hard time being taken seriously by the group (at first). Of all the seven, he gets hurts the most (he’s been shot, stabbed and royally beat up).

Buck Wilmington (Dale Midkiff): The ladies’ man of the group, Buck is the best friend of Chris, and has known him the longest. He’s always romancing at least two women at a time in town, though it rarely ends well for him.

With such a diverse cast of characters and great storytelling, it astounds me that this show ONLY ran for two seasons (and short seasons at that!!) Actually, it is my understanding that the reason The Magnificent Seven was renewed for season 2 was due to a fan campaign to keep the show going. I can only speculate that CBS ultimately killed the show because it wasn’t doing well enough in ratings to justify going forward into a third season, which is a shame because it’s one of the best TV shows derived from a film that I’ve ever seen. The late Robert Vaughn (who starred as one of the original Magnificent Seven in the 1960 film) was a frequent guest star as travelling judge Orrin Travis, and it was always fun to see him show up.

Fortunately, the entire series has been released on DVD, so it’s not too hard to pick up a copy and enjoy every single episode. Still, I can’t help but wish there were more seasons available, this is definitely a show that was cancelled too soon.

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Cancelled Too Soon #1: Constantine (2014-2015)

Cancelled Too Soon #3: Dracula (2013-2014)

Cancelled Too Soon #11: Kindred: The Embraced (1996)

And don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

"Overture" from The Magnificent Seven by Elmer Bernstein

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

images

Many consider this 1960 film to be the greatest Western ever made. Adapted from The Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa, The Magnificent Seven tells the story of 7 gunfighters who join forces to protect a poor Mexican village from a gang of bandits led by the murderous Calvera (Eli Wallach). Led by Chris (Yul Brynner), the other gunfighters consist of:

  • Vin Tanner (Steve McQueen)
  • Bernardo O’Reilley (Charles Bronson)
  • Lee (Robert Vaughn)
  • Harry Luck (Brad Dexter)
  • Britt (James Coburn)
  • Chico (Horst Buchholz

The task is one step above thankless, as the only pay is a $20 gold piece and whatever food they eat while they’re in the village. And while the group barely tolerates each other at first (as they’re all in it for various reasons, be it money, fame or simply an excuse to relieve boredom), they slowly come together to help the villagers learn to defend themselves from Calvera’s gang.

Elmer Bernstein’s overture to the film has been praised for defining not only this film, but the Western genre as a whole. I posted this theme in particular because a remake of this film is due out next year (with a posthumous score by the late James Horner) and it will be interesting to see how the music has changed from 1960 to 2016. Until the remake comes out, enjoy a classic piece of film music!

TheMagnificentSeven_Blog

From left to right: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Horst Buchholz, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and James Coburn.

As a quick update: while Horner’s score does include the classic overture at the very end, the film itself does not live up to the high standard set by this 1960 classic. If given the choice, always go with this one.

See also: Film Soundtracks A-W

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂