Arts and Entertainment

Admiral classic film series to kick off magnificently

A poster of one of the movies to be seen at the Admiral Theatre this season. - Courtesy photo
A poster of one of the movies to be seen at the Admiral Theatre this season.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The Admiral Theatre will be cracking the lid of its 2007-2008 classic film series Friday with a film widely considered to be one of Hollywood’s finest Westerns, “The Magnificent Seven.”

I can almost hear Elmer Bernstein’s iconic theme song now, coming from a distance slowly working its way to crescendo like a cowboy coming in off the range. And what’s that far off gleaming light, shining under the sun then disappearing and shining again ... why it must be the smooth dome of Yul Brynner being covered and uncovered by his black cowboy hat.

Brynner, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and company will be riding onto the big screen at the Admiral, banding together with Winchester rifles to help a Mexican town save itself from harvest bandits, beginning at 7 p.m. Sept. 14.

Tickets are $7 general admission, or a $25 flex pass that will provide admittance into any six films in the Admiral’s classic and independent film series.

For information on tickets and the entire series, visit www.admiraltheatre.org. For more information on what is arguably one of the best westerns ever made, read on.

Interestingly, “one of the best Westerns ever made” was derived from what has been described as one of the greatest films ever made, period, Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese film “Seven Samurai.”

That work is the story of a late 16th century village of farmers who are menaced by bandits stealing their harvest, so they enlist seven samurai warriors, previously strangers to one another, to combat the pillagers.

American director John Sturges took the story to Mexico where a village is periodically and consistently being raided by bandits. So the village leaders travel to the border in order to buy guns to protect themselves and they come across veteran gunslinger Chris Adams (Brynner).

The village is in need of more than just iron and bullets, Adams informs the leaders, and desperately the villagers plead for his leadership. Finally, he gives in, seeks out and rounds up what will eventually be The Magnificent Seven.

The catch is that the gunslingers will only make a pittance for their work.

Harry Luck (played by Brad Dexter) joins because he believes the crew will actually be looking for treasure under the guise of their martial law prompt. Vin (McQueen) signs on because he’s gambled all of his money away, while Lee (Vaughn) is on the run and needs protection.

Bernardo O’Reilly (Bronson) joins on and we find out that he’s an outlaw with a soft spot for children, while we learn that Britt (James Coburn) is deadly with his switchblade.

Chico, an inexperienced hothead is rejected at first by Adams, finally after trailing the group for days, gains admittance and completes the Seven.

While offering training, the American Seven make friends with the Mexican villagers, but as their nemesis bandits run upon hard times and must plunder the village’s crop to survive, a fight to the death ensues.

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