7 Fascinating Facts About
The Magnificent Seven Western
“The Magnificent Seven” movie is one of the most frequently shown western movies on television. So if you haven’t seen it on the big screen, then chances are that you have seen it on the small one.
However, do you know these 7 Fascinating Facts about “The Magnificent Seven”?
1. Anthony Quinn sued for Yul Brynner and United Artists for $650,000 about “The Magnificent Seven” movie. Anthony Quinn claimed that he was the one who originally came up with the idea to make “The Magnificent Seven.” He said that after watching the Japanese film “The Seven Samurai,” he immediately got the idea to turn it into a western. Quinn said that he then approached Yul Brynner with the idea and they agreed to make the film together – Quinn would star and Brynner would direct. They then bought the film rights from Lou Morheim using Brynner’s production company for the purchase. Years later, Yul Brynner’s company sold the rights to another company who then hired John Sturges to direct the film with Brynner starring. Fuming, Anthony Quinn sued, but lost his case. (Brynner argued that he and Quinn did work together to develop the movie, but when it came time to make it, they couldn’t agree on terms. So, Brynner sold the rights.)
2. Yul Brynner was the only one of the Magnificent Seven who was a movie star at the time the film was made. Steve McQueen was popular for his television series “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” but he was not a movie star at the time. The other actors (i.e. Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, etc.) were not famous movie stars either, so top billing went to Yul Brynner, who was riding fame for his role in “The Kind and I” Broadway play and movie.
3. Yul Brynner married his second wife, Doris Kleiner, while in Mexico and had his wedding reception on the movie set. Yul Brynner was already separated from his first wife, and rumors were spreading that he was going to marry fiancé Doris Kleiner while in Mexico. Hollywood columnists tried to get access to the wedding, but failed because Brynner told them a wedding date that was two days after the real ceremony. (The ceremony itself was held in an attorney’s office in Mexico with a few close friends.) The wedding reception was held on “The Magnificent Seven” movie set using the location where the villager’s have their big party in the film. The reception was a huge fiesta (about 300 people) with champagne, tequila, fireworks and a Mexican band.
4. Steve McQueen purposely got into a car accident so that he could star as Vin Tanner in this western. When Steve McQueen was offered a role in the film, he was currently starring in the television series, “Wanted: Dead or Alive.” Because of his contract, McQueen needed approval and CBS’s Dick Powell refused to give it to him. Cleverly, McQueen intentionally got into a car accident by running his studio-rented Cadillac into a Bank of Boston building. He then returned to Los Angeles with a neck brace claiming that he had whiplash and couldn’t do any more filming of the TV show until he was better. (Hollywood insiders suspected that he was faking, but no one could prove otherwise.) Needless to day, Powell gave his approval for McQueen to do “The Magnificent Seven.”
5. Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen did not get along on the movie set. Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner did not get along while making this movie. There were many reports that McQueen wanted to be the movie’s main star. Therefore, to draw attention to himself, McQueen would do little things like fiddle with his hat, play with his gun, or anything else that he could think of in order to get audiences turn their attention to him when he was onscreen. This infuriated Brynner, who was to be the main star of the film, so there was tension between Brynner and McQueen. One story is that Brynner insisted that he always appear bigger on screen than McQueen, so he had a mound of dirt made for him to stand on when was filming a scene with McQueen. McQueen’s response? Kick at the mound when he walked by it.
6. It was not until “The Magnificent Seven” was re-released in the United States that the movie did well at the box office. After their initial screening of the movie, the studio wasn’t sure that the film would make much money, so they released it in a limited number of theatres in the U.S. (Adding to the studio’s concern was the fact that some American critics gave the western lukewarm reviews, too.) Afterwards, the studio decided to release the movie in Europe and, to their surprise, it was a big hit. Overseas audiences loved it, especially those in France and Italy. Because of this international success, the studio re-released “The Magnificent Seven” in American theatres and it was after this second release that the western became a box office success.
7. There are three movie sequels and a television show based on “The Magnificent Seven.” Not a widely known fact is that there were three movie sequels to this classic western. The first sequel, “Return of the Seven” premiered in 1966, but only Yul Brynner returned in his role as Chris. Later, two additional movie sequels, “Guns of the Magnificent Seven” (1969) and “The Magnificent Seven Ride!” (1972) were made, but none of the original cast members appeared in them. Almost thirty years, later MGM produced a television series called “The Magnificent Seven” that aired on television from 1998-2000. None of the original cast starred in the television series, but occasionally Robert Vaughn (who starred in the movie as Lee) would make guest appearances on the show. All of the movie sequels as well as the television series are available together on DVD. (See links below.)
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