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June 04, 2001 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2001-06-04

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Seven' DVD novel
among Western genre


Monday, June 4, 2001- The Michigan Daily - 11
o ey talks: Portrait
uf m.iddleA class U.S.oA.

By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Writer
John Sturges' 1960 reworking
D Akira Kurosawa's epic "The
Seven Samurai" is not simply
mother Oat Opera where you can
spot a good guy for miles due to
the gleam off
of his shiny
fhe white hat.
Magnificent "The Magnif-
icent Seven,"
Seven:Sea in retrospect,
Edition DVD changed a l l
MGM Home Video the genre
rules and
ecame a bridge between the
sweeping long shots of John
Ford to the uncomfortable close-
Ups of Sergio Leone.
While the bad guy (Eli Wal-
ach playing Mexican) is still the
sort that may eat children, the
good guys are gunslingers who
fully realize that they kill people
money. Sure, they kill mostly
ad guys, but the more worldly
>f the group yearn for the nor-
malcy of children and jobs that
nvolve death less directly.
Yul Brenner and Steve (cool
>ersonified) McQueen lead the

to defend an entire town against
the evil Calvera (Wallach). While
there is a great deal of humor
and cornball antics as the gun-
slingers attempt to arm the town
and prepare them for Calvera's
onslaught, the underlying theme
is always the effect of violence.
The townspeople simply fear it,
while the men they hired both
fear and make a living from it.
For instance, gentleman slayer
Lee (Robert Vaughn) is deter-
mined that age has slowed his
reflexes, and his outward arro-
gance is permeated by an inward
terror of being outgunned.
MGM gives the film the treat-
ment it deserves, including a
forty-minute documentary, inter-
spersing footage from the set,
contemporary interviews with
the remaining cast and archival
interviews with Brenner,
McQueen, and Sturges.
A commentary track includes
Coburn, Wallach and assistant
director Walter Mirisch. The men
mostly reminisce, and while
Mirisch explains certain shots,
the commentary will interest old
film buffs more than serious film

the disc are truly gems. While
standard on newer films, it's
always a joy to see what was
used to make people interested in
a particular movie. Each trailer
includes a goofy (no other word
to describe it) song about the
"Seven," showcasing their tal-
ents ("the violent one," "the dan-
gerous one") culminating in
Brenner, "their leader."
Just as today, the advertise-
ments seem more interested in
portraying the film as a pigeon-
holed genre pic than the ground-
breaking (though heretofore
unseen) epic that it really was.
The sociological implications are
wonderful, yet it is the film that
is the true joy, both for its histor-
ical importance and its sheer

By Ryan Blay
Daily Arts Writer
America is no stranger to social com-
mentary. Immortal literary characters
such as Babbitt and Willy Loman lost
their way in person turmoil. "American
Beauty" followed
Lester Burnham to
Six Figures an Oscar. Six Fig-
ures isn't quite in
Fred G. Leebron their class, but it
Grade: A comes awfully
Harcourt close.
M ai n c har ac te r
Warner Lutz is
unhappy. In Boston
and San Francisco,
lie was hailed as a
visionary who could turn companies
around. In Charlotte, lie hasn't found
that magic. In fact, his job is in jeop-
ardy, due to no fault of his own. To
make matters worse, his daughter may
have developmental problems, and his
son is teething. He's living life as a
series of bad days.
His marriage is stressful, which has
continued ever since their second child
was born. Warner loves Megan, his
wife, but often hates her at times. She
once described him as "the most nega-
tive person I've ever met." When

comes as a surprise only to Warner that
he is the main suspect. Megan's fatnily,
his own family and the readers by this
time have drawn their own conclusions.
An award-winning writer, Leebron
successfully manipulates his characters
in a scathing critique of middle class
life. Six Figures is in no way a straight-
forward tale of envy and family. The
real pleasure is in following Warner
through his own psyche, thanks to Lee-
bron's capacity for tapping into psy-
chology and personal demons to make
his characters real.

For just 2 hours of your time!
Participate in a research study involving reading
some material and responding with your opinions,
thoughts and feelings about various products and
issues. You will need to attend two sessions, one
week apart. The first session will be on either Friday,
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second session will be exactly a week later on Friday,
the 15th of June or Saturday, the 16th of June. Each
session will last no longer than 1 hour. You will be
paid $20 at the end of the second session.

To participate, please email tancjumich.edu.

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