The magnificent Westerns

Some weeks ago, when I first saw the newspaper ad announcing the release of The Magnificent Seven, my instant assumption was that it was the original classic.

But then, on a closer look, it turned out to be an update of the 1960 original. This triggered fond memories of my high school years when I took to liking the ‘Westerns’ and enjoyed watching a number of these at the Lido or Imperial or Plaza theatres in charming old Bangalore.

The unforgettable classics that come to my mind now are Sergio Leone’s trilogy — A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and of course, The Magnificent Seven by John Sturges. Among my favourite Western characters is that of ‘The Man with No Name’ played by in Clint Eastwood. Watching the iconic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly with its haunting background music by the brilliant Ennio Morricone was, and continues to be, an experience out of this world!

Here are some more Westerns lapped up by me at the time: Django, Return of Django, Ringo and his Golden Pistol, and Gunfight at the Ok Corral. In Django, it is the coffin-dragging mystery gunman (played by Franco Nero) always quick on the draw, who comes to my mind. The hero in Ringo and his Golden Pistol draws his solid gold pistol purely for business and to make a profit!

The Gunfight at the Ok Corral is based on a historic, legendary, thirty-second shootout between lawmen and a group of outlaws in Tombstone, Arizona, USA. It had the great Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas in the lead and screenplay by the famous Leon Uris.

The standout features common to all the Westerns I used to be in awe of (I am in awe even now!) were the vast rugged terrain, the tall, bearded, tough looking, cigar-smoking heroes with quick silver reflexes, and of course, the amazing horses they rode!

Ah yes, I relished the Trinity movies, They call me Trinity and Trinity is Still my Name starring the utterly complimenting duo of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer. Apart from these Western comedies, the two also paired up in a number of other movies successfully, with the formula of brawls and jokes, regaling the audience.

Interestingly, many of the super hit and classic Westerns were produced and directed by Italians, like Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci. Also, the script-writing, composing and music direction was by Italians. The movies were initially released in Italy in Italian. Will the new Magnificent Seven have the same rugged charm and romance? I’m yet to find out. Maybe it’s better to just let the romance of the old linger…
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