All Stand Together pt 1 (The Magnificent Seven, 1960)

Magnificant_Seven_PosterBandit Calvera and his gang are terrorizing the people of a small Mexican town. After one raid, he promises to return to steal more from the people. The leaders of the village put together what they have to invest in weapons.

Chris Adams steps in suggesting hiring gunfighters.  While reluctant, after helping select the other gunfighters, Chris agrees to help defend the town.

The Magnificent Seven cleverly sets up it’s two main leads Chris  and Vin (Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen) as decent tough guys.  They discover the local coroner has an issue.  There is a body that needs transporting.  But the deceased is Native American and the white locals are refusing access to the cemetery. The two volunteer to take the hearse to the cemetery.  This seen is really full of charm and gets you pumped to follow these two. And they manage to succeed in their mission with only a couple of flesh wounds.  These men are not cold blooded killers.  They are willing to do as little harm as possible.

This is a stellar cast of tough guys, but not in some cheap sense.  They are mostly good and decent (Harry Luck is a bit mercenary, joining up because he believes there must be treasure if Chris is involved, but even he ends up willing t risk his life for the town). Eli Wallach, of course, makes for a great villain.

The music is energetic and fun, especially the heroic theme song.

The Magnificent Seven is a truly great and fun western.

The Kidd Is Alright (Joe Kidd, 1972)

Joe_Kidd_PosterEx-Bounty Hunter Joe Kidd is in jail.  His opportunity for freedom comes when Frank Harlan wants to hire him to take out the revolutionary leader Luis Chuma. Reluctant at first, when he learns Chuma has raided his ranch (and hurt a worker), Kidd joins up.

Kidd vows to bring Chuma to actual justice, rather than to a lynch mob, putting him at odds with  Harlan.

While Kidd is not a mysterious character, Joe Kidd leans more towards the violent tough guy of Eastwood’s western persona. Joe is a guy who would be happy to be neutral, and it really takes Chuma crossing a personal line.  But his willingness to avoid violent revenge makes him stand out a bit in the westerns of Eastwood.

Written by Elmore Leonard, Joe Kidd is a good western, though not quite as distinctive as some of the westerns that Eastwood had yet to come.

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