Thursday, August 02, 2012

Ask JKM A Question #18: The Seven Samurai and remakes?

A reader named Rick asks:

Have you ever considered doing a review of the “seven” series?  By that I mean a comparative review of The Seven Samurai, Magnificent Seven (original) and Battle Beyond the Stars.  Some have added other films to that category but begin to stretch it, I think, with films like Tears of the Sun by Antoine Fuqua or The Dogs of War, which was a novel by Forsyth.  Certainly, these films have inspired many others, particularly with the mercenaries-save-the-peasants-theme, and others.”

Hi Rick, that’s a great idea for a continuing series of blog posts.  Thanks for the question.

I did review Battle Beyond the Stars here not too long ago, in April of 2011.  And I’m a big fan of both The Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven, so it would certainly be a lot of fun revisiting those films. A “Seven” movie matrix post, comparing the organizing principles, characters, themes and locals of those three films could also prove illuminating.

On a related note, I had been thinking recently of a post on the space westerns of Battlestar Galactica (1978 – 1979), because one episode, “The Lost Warrior” remakes Shane (1953), while another “The Magnificent Warriors,” uses The Magnificent Seven (1960) as its source of inspiration.  I was also looking for a good reason to watch and review Outland (1981) -- a remake of High Noon (1952) -- again.

Perhaps I need to take a “wider” look at outer space westerns and their origins, but in the Battle Beyond the Stars piece review both The Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven.

I’ll definitely look into this notion, and start watching some of those great, classic westerns in preparation.


  1. Anonymous2:30 PM

    If I recall correctly, Kurosawa missed a trick. In the scene in M7 where they're looking to hire in the town, the frame shows only 2 things -- guns and hands. This shot would have worked as well in a chambara filck.

  2. I second this suggestion! In fact, as a long-time fan of space westerns, I'm all for you reviewing space westerns *and* tracing the "Sevens." It would be interesting to see how close some stay. It's not "your" genre, but the Magnificent Seven TV series' first episode was a reworking of the plot, and there are episodes of shows which borrow it, such as "Magnificent Warriors" that you mention and "Dragonswing" on Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. I've thought about tracing some of those myself, and so I heartily endorse this one!