I am a bit of a movie buff. I dabble in it. I say this knowing real movie buffs who can cite the cinematographer for that random film that you saw one time, with that guy you kinda liked, but didn't really like in the film because the set was wonky. I don't pretend to be a full on movie buff. I dabble.
In my dabbling, I have been exposed to many amazing films from all different eras. Silent films of the early 20th century, to the blockbusters of Marvel fame. I have seen bad, horrible, brilliant, gut wrenching, magical, and despicable films. Some films have changed my view of the world. Some have changed my views on life. Some have temporarily destroyed any faith that I had in humanity. Some are just a good time and quickly forgotten.
Some of these films are remakes, some are originals. One film that changed my life, in ways that are not always present and tangibly explained, is a remake. The funny thing is, they are remaking it again, and it’s coming out this year. Normally, I have an open mind about remakes and revivals. As an artist I accept and love them. It allows a story to be seen with a different point of view. It gives other artists a chance to explore characters, and moments that have different meanings from when they were first experienced and captured. That being said, there is something about the original, or in this case, the original remake.
The Magnificent Seven (1960) was a remake. It was an adaptation/remake of The Seven Samurai (1954), a japanese film with the same plot. This major blockbuster was a remake. It's insane to think that this could be possible, and yet it is. One of the films that did so much to shape, me, my personality, and certain life choices was a remake. This has not dampened it’s impact.
The first time that I saw The Magnificent Seven I was very young. Elementary school young. My father had the habit of bringing home movies for my brothers and I to watch. There were four of us and the easiest way to keep us all occupied, and out of our parents hair, was to put us all in front of a movie. We had quite the collection. My father is a big fan of John Wayne's, so westerns were a staple in my house. But this was the one western that my father brought home that did not have John Wayne.
It was about seven unlikely, washed up, heroes who band together to stand up to the bully, and do the right thing. How inspiring! How resilient! How unabashedly American! I wanted to shout from the rooftops. This was a great film! A new favorite of mine and my brothers. We could all agree that this was a tie breaker film. You know, when you’re arguing about what movie to watch, because there is only one tv with a VCR, this was the one we could break the war over.
As I got older, I learned more about the film, the stories of the cast on set. How Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen were constantly trying to one up one another and draw focus. And how half the cast was a part of another great film “The Great Escape”. At it’s core, it’s about a group of men with different stories, different skill sets, and different motivations, coming together for a worthy cause. It could not be more patriotic.
Then I got older. We moved from Arkansas to Montana. We were spread out across three different age groups, elementary, middle and high school. We didn’t agree on much, we fought about everything, and we had to start new schools, yet again. It’s always hard to do. But something magical happened.
I started school at my second high school. It was a quarter of the size of my high school in Arkansas. It was different school colors, a different locker system, a different map to learn. I didn’t know which teachers to avoid, which ones to befriend. I didn’t know where the cool kids sat, or what was even considered cool. I didn’t have a friend, just a freshman cousin. But when the first pep rally of the year happened, the entire school gathered in the field house and I was welcomed by the theme of The Magnificent Seven - it was my new high school’s fight song.
The magic of this film surpassed any expectation that I had ever had, and will always hold a special place in my heart. It will always mean that there is a place for me.
London Griffith is an Alaskan born, Montana raised, Southern influenced, New York Actress. She occasionally writes about her life and experiences of being on the verge ...