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Magnificent Seven - Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Yul Brenner
  • Format: Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, French
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: MGM
  • Release Date: May 11 2010
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B003DZAM8O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,886 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

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By Alan Brown on May 24 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I have been looking for all of yhese films for some time. To find them in one place was great. Although the first film is by far the best, (it's hard to beat McQueen), the others are fun to watch. I highly recommend this package.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 33 reviews
135 of 144 people found the following review helpful
BLU RAY box set review....2010 purchaser... May 21 2010
By Richardson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
Hi Folks,

Amazon.com is lumping all reviews together so I thought I'd clarify that I am reviewing the BLU RAY set!

It wasn't clear if there were any NEW bonus features from the lovely 2 disc version of the first classic film or the follow ups on this set..there are not. My recommendation is that fans WAIT for a release of the first classic instead of making the expensive mistake I did by purchasing this set. I think I was convincing myself that in hi-def I'd like the follow up films more...I don't and in fact the final installment still looks washed out and almost tv movie of the week quality. The first three do look improved in Blu-Ray but on the first classic film some flaws and grain are magnified by this format. The bonus features look nice in Blu-ray HD but there isn't anything new here.

Unless you are one of the few who liked the follow up movies , a lot, I'd wait for a single disc Blue Ray version of the classic film and save $40. This is a ploy to get suckers like me to jump at a package and price and I'm sure the first film will ultimately be available on its own. You do not gain much by blu ray so keep your DVDs and enjoy them until that day.

UPDATE 4/07/14 ... I saw this once $60+ set for $14.99 at Target today.... truly a 5 star deal at The CURRENT price... I guess the lesson is to not buy when things come out as the price plummets! Sort of like buying individual seasons of shows and then being screwed when the entire set comes out with bonus items for a lot less....
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Blu-Ray Collection Review May 24 2012
By Andre Dursin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Elmer Bernstein's appropriately magnificent score remains a highlight of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, a John Sturges film that turned Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" into an American western classic spawning three sequels, a belated CBS television series, and countless imitators.

The original, resurrected on Blu-Ray from MGM and Fox as part of a multi-disc series anthology, stars Yul Brynner as a gunslinger who recruits a band of six others (Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn among them) to help defend a small Mexican town against villain Eli Wallach and his gang of mercenaries. A bona-fide film classic, MGM's Blu-Ray edition basically offers an HD reprise of the label's 2006 Special Edition DVD, which was issued during that brief window when Sony was distributing the studio's home video product. The AVC encoded transfer looks great, offering crisp detail and strong colors, while the occasionally brittle DTS Master Audio sound offers a re-channeled mix of the film's original mono soundtrack (which is also on-hand).

Extras include the initial DVD's commentary track featuring Eli Wallach, James Coburn, and producer Walter Mirisch, plus featurettes on Elmer Bernstein's score (courtesy of comments from sage Jon Burlingame), a 45-minute retrospective documentary, trailers, and "Lost Images" from the movie. Curiously, neither Christopher Frayling's commentary from the 2006 DVD nor an interview with the film historian have been retained from that release, though everything else has.

The movie's three sequels are also included herein: RETURN OF THE SEVEN (the movie's actual on-screen title, even though the film is commonly known as RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN) was the mediocre, belated 1966 sequel with Brynner back as Chris, here defending yet another small town with a gaggle of new pals. Larry Cohen (!) scripted this follow-up, with western vet Burt Kennedy handling the action, shot on-location in Spain. Elmer's music once again graces the film, here featured in an understandably more ragged looking transfer (particularly compared to the full restoration its predecessor received) that's nevertheless satisfying in its AVC encode. The DTS Master Audio sound offers sparse stereo separation and seems to be little more than a tiny embellishment on the movie's original mono mix. The trailer is also on tap.

George Kennedy replaced Yul in 1969's GUNS OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, a superior western than its immediate predecessor, with veteran gunslinger Chris Adams called in to break a Mexican revolutionary out of prison. Decent action and another stirring Elmer score mark this 1969 sagebrush saga, which looks mighty fine on Blu-Ray with its pleasing AVC encoded transfer and mono-sounding DTS Master Audio soundtrack.

The series concluded with 1972's THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN RIDE!, a weak B-grade programmer that looks more like an episode of "Bonanza" than a big-screen western thanks to its obviously diminished budget, Hollywood backlot sets and lack of widescreen lensing. With Lee Van Cleef now in the lead, the movie feels like a "Seven" movie in name (and theme music) only, with only another Elmer score (performed by a notably reduced orchestra) and attractive female leads (Stefanie Powers, Mariette Hartley) making it palatable.

Predictably the AVC encoded transfer is the weakest of the lot here, the 1.85 frame lacking in high-def detail and color. The DTS Master Audio sound is a bit punchier than its immediate predecessors, and the trailer completes the release, one which ought to be essential for all western fans.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The Magnificent 7 ... and three dwarfs July 6 2010
By Richard Kenyada - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The Magnificent Seven finds its way into every serious discussion about the best classic westerns. It is easily my favorite. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson and Eli Wallach, in one of his juiciest roles ever - this is the western that you watch again and again. True, it is a remake of "The Seven Samurai," but it takes a backseat to no other film in its genre. Seven American gunfighters - a Dream Team, of sorts - are hired to guard a Mexican village from Banditos that return every season to take whatever crops the villagers have grown. Stellar cast, but just as magnificent is the musical score by Elmer Bernstein, who was nominated for an Academy Award.

It is unfortunate that the studio has chosen to issue an entire set of Mag 7 films as a package. The other three films - Return of the Seven, Magnificent Seven Ride! and Guns of the Magnificent Seven - don't belong in the sentence, let alone the same box. Do yourself a favor - buy the original Magnificent Seven (Blu-Ray) as a single. It deserves 5 stars by itself.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Magnificent Seven Blu Ray Feb. 12 2011
By George J. Biehl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I just paid $9.99 for the single disk Blu Ray at Target so don't waste extra $$ for this package @ Amazon. It has extras including the making of the film with interviews. Not the best transfer but still a good buy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"We deal in lead." July 27 2013
By Trevor Willsmer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
"Why do you people all have such long names?"
"I don't know. Perhaps it's because we have such short lives."

Every time someone makes a Western that makes money, be it True Grit, Dances with Wolves or Unforgiven, there's talk of the revival of the genre, but what it really needs is another Magnificent Seven to do the trick. It may not have the intellectual or philosophical weight of, or even as much action as Seven Samurai, but what the Hell, this is the Hollywood western at its most downright exciting and enjoyable, with a nice line in sly humour thrown in for good measure.

It's one of those films that hides the scars of its difficult production exceptionally well. Brynner originally intended to direct with Anthony Quinn (who had directed Quinn in The Buccaneer) in the lead and the Seven originally made up of older Civil War veterans in a darker screenplay by Walter Bernstein, but after much rewriting and an acrimonious lawsuits surprisingly came out a much stronger picture. The rewriting went on through the shoot, partially to beat an actor's strike, partially to placate the Mexican censors, with Walter Newman taking his name off the picture and sole credit going to William Roberts (the finished script is mostly Newman's work). Then there were the constant problems with Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Horst Buccholz all vying for attention and feuding all the way only for the studio, disappointed with the finished film, to practically dump the film in the US before giving it a second chance (and three sequels and a TV series) after it proved a huge hit in the foreign markets.

With all that going against it, it shouldn't have worked, but it does, and quite magnificently too thanks to its canny casting, strong script and, of course, Elmer Bernstein's magnificent signature score (complete with John Williams on piano!) that combine to create a great audience picture. Almost a bridge between the old school American western and the sixties vogue for gritty south of the border violence, like Seven Samurai it leaves the impression of a film that is full of movement, largely due to the kinetic action scenes as the camera races alongside men and horses.

Director John Sturges' use of the Scope frame is characteristically outstanding, filling the frame with detail and occasionally making interesting contrast between foreground stillness and background movement, as in the Seven's arrival in the village or their first confrontation with Eli Wallach's bandit chief. Wallach, in the role that inspired John Belushi's Mexican Killer Bee on Saturday Night Live among a hundred other parodies, is more than a tad over the top, brandishing lines like "If God did not want them sheared he would not have made them sheep" with the kind of wild abandon that Alfonso Bedoya would envy, but it works a treat. The rest of the cast are on good form with Brunner, McQueen, Backhauls, Charles Bronson and James Coburn generally getting the best opportunities (sorry Bob, sorry Brad), and their introductory set pieces - not least the ride to Boot Hill - still hold good five decades on.

Very belated sequel Return of the Seven sees Chris (before he turned into George Kennedy and Lee Van Cleef) returning to a certain Mexican village with another ragtag band of hired guns to save the locals from being kidnapped for slave labor in what is surprisingly the weakest of the sequels despite having the biggest budget and best production values of any of the followups. If the village looks different, that's because it's moved to Spain to take advantage of the more amenable local censors and exchange rate, and it's not the only thing to have had a facelift since the original. Even though Steve McQueen and Horst Buccholz's characters return, sole returning cast member Yul Brynner ensured they didn't (Robert Fuller and Julian Mateos take their place) and seems to have done his damnedest to ensure none of the supporting players will outshine him: those looking for future stars will have to settle for Warren Oates and Claude Akins. You get the feeling that if Brynner had had his way the film would have been called The Return of the Magnificent Chris: none of the rest of the Seven are allowed much character or any memorable scenes. He even dismisses them as just being there for a fight - "If not this one, they'd find another" - but in reality their sole purpose is to tell him how great he is. You almost expect Fernando Rey's priest to ask "Are you God?" Everyone is in his giant shadow and nobody is going to steal his spotlight this time.

Burt Kennedy's direction has its moments but is mostly solid rather than dynamic and the plotting mostly mundane even though the villain actually has an interesting motive to drive the story. Even recruiting the Seven (actually six since one of them is held prisoner) fails to throw up any memorable set pieces in a film that's light on action and incident until the two big battle scenes, rendering it at times one of those disappointing films that is more interesting for what its cast and crew would go on to do than what they actually do here. Writer Larry Cohen would go on to create The Invaders and direct a string of out-of-leftfield genre films; producer Ted Richmond, one of the pioneers of filming Hollywood pictures in Spain (here shooting in the studios of the practice's most discredited proponent, Samuel Bronston) would go on to make the bonkers cowboys and samurai Western Red Sun and team up again with Brynner on the Sam Peckinpah-Robert Towne scripted Villa Rides; while villain Emilio Fernandez and Warren Oates would face off again two years later in The Wild Bunch. All of which were more memorable than this drawn out and less than action-packed number that's best approached with low expectations and an undemanding mood.

Guns of the Magnificent Seven is set shortly after a negotiating accident left Yul Brynner looking like George Kennedy, and it's not just the star who's changed: not only does he have hair but he's given up on the all-black outfits and the staccato moralising. It's lower-budgeted but considerably better directed than Return, moving into spaghetti western territory as he gets involved in a Mexican revolution when Reni Santoni asks his help to spring Fernado Rey's politician from local sadist Michael Ansara's fortress. Naturally he goes looking for a few good men to help him out - "Not enough to get noticed, just enough to get the job done" - and thankfully they're a more interesting bunch this time round than in the previous sequel. Better still, without Yul Brynner's ego hogging the spotlight they're all given proper introductions and motivations to make it more of an ensemble piece, and there are more familiar faces in the cast this time, with Monte Markham's horse thief, Joe Don Baker's bitter one-armed Confederate sharpshooter `Buffalo Ben' ("I can't whip a six-year-old girl in a fair fight, but I can blow a man's eyeballs out at a hundred yards in a sandstorm."), Bernie Casey's explosives expert, James Whitmore's ageing knifeman and Scott Thomas' dying gunman making up his lucky number.

This time round they can't quite manage the job on their own and have to rely on a distinctly unreliable bandit to swell their numbers, allowing for a bit of under-developed tension in the ranks, as does Joe Don Baker and Bernie Casey's racially-challenged adversarial friendship subplot that would later be very obviously reworked by Hardy Kruger and Winston Ntshona in The Wild Geese, itself very obviously inspired by the original Magnificent Seven. The script's sharper than you might expect, with good dialogue and some memorable little moments like Kennedy getting his information about the garrison's strength from a casual conversation about women with one of the guards, and it benefits greatly from a strong villain who is given a memorable mass execution scene. Director Paul Wendkos has an excellent eye for the Scope format, and though it's not the most action packed of the series it makes its mark and keeps things interesting while you're waiting for it, setting it out as easily the best of the sequels

Final big-screen outing The Magnificent Seven Ride sees Chris, who now looks like Lee Van Cleef, settled down as a small-town sheriff with his own would-be Ned Buntline dime novel biographer in tow until an act of mercy results in the death of his wife and sends him on a manhunt below the border where he finds another village in need of seven good men. The village is one that Ralph Waite, one of an earlier Seven (evidently Chris made more trips below the border than they filmed), tried to recruit our hero to defend only to be turned down, but it's not so much guilt that drives him to go recruiting hardened convicts in the local prison to defend the raped womenfolk from the returning bandits after their men folk are all killed. Having ruthlessly disposed of his partners in crime ("Him for what he did. You for what you didn't do"), Chris is pretty much just using them as bait for the remaining one of his wife's killers who is riding with the bandits...

The plot certainly takes the scenic route, the first half a revenge Western, the second a men on a mission picture, a sort of The Dirty Dozen Meets Guns of Fort Petticoat. The segue is handled neatly enough, but the film never rises above the average. The biggest problem is that despite, or perhaps because of being played by two actors (Rodolfo Acosta and stuntman Ron Stein) we never see the villain until the final battle, simply the dead bodies he leaves in his wake. No confrontations, no banter, no sense of who he is or why he's a threat, just a guy on a horse. (The best exchange is with a priest who only has one scene: "God works in strange ways." "Yeah, I know. He's got me confused most of the time too.") The new recruits to the side of the angels don't fare that much better despite their employer coming up with neat way of ensuring the loyalty of men who want to kill him. Ed Lauter as usual does a lot with very little, but only James B. Sikking really makes an impression, leaving most of them fairly bland cannon fodder. Chris makes few bones about regarding them as such either: the film's best scene has them discussing strategy and predicting losses on both sides, and for once the strategy actually makes sense - this is planned out as a battle, not a gunfight. When it comes it's a decent enough showdown for a B-movie but nothing to stick in the memory for long.

Which goes for the film as a whole. George McCowan's direction is efficient but uninspired, the film's use of backlot sets and overused locations giving it the look of a 70s TV show, something not shooting in Scope but a more TV-friendly 1.85:1 only emphasises. Even Elmer Bernstein's score, at times more in the style of an episode of The High Chaparral rather than his iconic original, sounds like he could only round up seven less than magnificent musicians from some dead-end border town to play it. Still, if you're in an undemanding mood it's an okay outing even if it falls far short of being a grand finale to the series.

Released twice in two special editions on DVD, the DVD boxed set of all four films includes an audio commentary by James Coburn, Eli Wallach, Walter Mirisch and Robert E. Relyea, 45-minute documentary Guns For Hire (slightly abridged from the longer version that showed on Channel 4), stills galleries, two theatrical trailers and trailers for the three sequels on the first film. (A subsequent two-disc release added an audio commentary and featurette with film historian Christopher Frayling and a featurette on Elmer Bernstein's score.) Unfortunately the UK DVD releases dropped the original mono soundtrack option on the first film in favour of a remastered stereo score that didn't do Bernstein's score any favours, particularly in the main title sequence, though both stereo and mono options were on the US DVD and Blu-ray releases.

The US Blu-ray set of all four films is thankfully region free and well worth picking up despite losing some of the extras from the first film - most notably Frayling's contributions - while the sequels are limited to remastered trailers in the correct ratio (these were crudely cropped in the UK boxed set) but sadly losing such gems of hyperbolic narration as "Seven men to free a nation of peasants from an army of madmen!" on the Guns of the Magnificent Seven trailer.

Unlike the Dollars films there's been no excessive use of Dolby Noise Reduction, avoiding the unnatural waxwork look that plagued that Blu-ray set. The transfer for Return of the Seven is for the most part decent, though has better detail on the studio-shot scenes than some of the big outdoor stuff, and unlike the UK DVD and TV prints bears the original title, Return of the Seven rather than Return of the Magnificent Seven. Annoyingly every time you pause you get a menu picture over the picture while any time you use the subtitles another menu box also appears in the corner of the screen to inform you you've selected subtitles, both taking too long to disappear, but the discs do have excellent playback memory even if you remove the discs. Despite these niggles, it's often found going fairly cheap at Amazon.com, making the US Blu-ray the best presentation around.

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