The Magnificent Seven

Hanspostcard is hosting a movie draft from 12 different genres…this is my Western entry.

There have been actors and musicians that exuded cool…Steve McQueen would be one of the top ones…and he was just starting in this movie…and not the star. 

This cast is just incredible… Along with McQueen, you have Charles Bronson, James Coburn,  Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn, Horst Buchholz,  Brad Dexter,  and the great Yul Brynner. We are not talking about cameos here…Brynner is the unquestioned leader of this band of mercenary gunfighters…but money is not the most important thing to most of them. They believe in Brynner’s character and the adventure.

I could go through talking about each actor, but I won’t…there are a few I’ll touch on. Eli Wallach… did a masterful portrayal of Calvera. He is one actor that I would have loved to have met. His personality was so big in films, but he didn’t over act…he was just that good.

The actor that caught my attention the most in this was the newcomer of the seven. Chico, played brilliantly by Horst Buchholz. His character was young, impatient, cocky, but a nice kid who you saw grow in the movie. He wanted to join the six fighters, but he wasn’t accepted until he persisted and wore Chris Larrabee Adams (Yul Brynner) down.

John Sturges directed this movie and also The Great Escape plus Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. This movie was not shot on some studio backlot somewhere. It was real locations and it showed.

A brief look at the plot. A gang of bandits terrorizes a small Mexican farming village each year. They ride in and take what they want like the village is their own personal store. Several of the village elders send three of the farmers into the United States to search for gunmen to defend them. They end up with seven, each of whom comes for a different reason. They must prepare the town to beat an army of thirty bandits who will arrive wanting food. In came the Magnificent Seven to defend the village and teach the farmers how to fight.

A little trivia about the movie. Yul Brynner had a major role in casting, and he wanted Steve McQueen in the movie. At the time McQueen was in a television western called Wanted: Dead or Alive.

They ended up not getting along because McQueen supposedly was trying to upstage Brynner. When McQueen was dying of cancer he called Brynner and made up with him for the trouble in the film. McQueen said: “I had to make it up with Yul ’cause without him I wouldn’t have been in that picture.”

It’s not only a great western, it has comedy, drama, and most of all…all the characters are real. There is a reason some of them were huge at the time and others went on to be not only popular but legends. 

CAST

Yul Brynner … Chris Larabee Adams
Eli Wallach … Calvera
Steve McQueen … Vin Tanner
Horst Buchholz … Chico
Charles Bronson … Bernardo O’Reilly
Robert Vaughn … Lee
Brad Dexter … Harry Luck
James Coburn … Britt
Jorge Martínez de Hoyos … Hilario (as Jorge Martinez de Hoyas)
Vladimir Sokoloff … Old Man
Rosenda Monteros … Petra
Rico Alaniz … Sotero
Pepe Hern … Tomas
Natividad Vacío … Villager (as Natividad Vacio)
Mario Navarro … Boy with O’Reilly

 

Songs That Reference Steve McQueen: Queen – Another One Bites The Dust

Steve walks warily down the street…with the brim pulled way down low.  Ain’t no sound but the sound of his feet…machine guns ready to go.”

Supposedly Steve McQueen is Steve in the opening lyrics. Steve died the year this was released on November 7, 1980.

You couldn’t go anywhere in 1980 without hearing someone sing, whistle, or hum this song. I remember the high school band did a version of it.

Brian May: “Freddie sung until his throat bled on Another One Bites The Dust. He was so into it. He wanted to make that song something special.”

The song peaked at #1 in 1980 in the Billboard 100. It was on the album The Game…which also peaked at #1 in 1980. While the band and producer Reinhold Mack were mixing the track, Brian May’s roadie suggested it be released as a single; the band didn’t like the idea but were finally talked into doing it when Michael Jackson, after a concert, suggested the same idea.

 

From Songfacts

This is one of the hardest Queen songs to understand. The opening line reads, “Steve walks warily down the street, his brim pulled way down low. Ain’t no sound but the sound of his feet, machine gun ready to go…” Also, the last phrase spoken in the song is not “Shoot Her” or “Shooter,” but “Shoot Out.”

Though probably not intentional unless someone did an excellent splicing job, the “another one bites the dust” line quite clearly says “decide to smoke marijuana” when played backwards. This is especially clear toward the end of the track when Mercury repeats the line with only the drums playing.

Queen bass player John Deacon wrote this song. All four members of Queen wrote songs, and each wrote at least one hit. Deacon also wrote “You’re My Best Friend.”

Deacon was influenced by the Chic song Good Times. In an interview with the New Musical Express, Chic bass player Bernard Edwards said: “Well, that Queen record came about because that bass player spent some time hanging out with us at our studio. But that’s OK. What isn’t OK is that the press started saying that we had ripped them off! Can you believe that? ‘Good Times’ came out more than a year before, but it was inconceivable to these people that black musicians could possibly be innovative like that. It was just these dumb disco guys ripping off this rock ‘n’ roll song.”

Deacon played most of the instruments on the track: lead and rhythm guitars, bass, reversed piano and additional percussion. Brian May did some guitar effects with harmonizer (in the interlude), and Roger Taylor played the drum loop. Surprisingly, there are no synthesizers.

The drum track and the handclaps were looped. They repeat throughout the song.

John Deacon claimed in a 1980 interview that Roger Taylor opposed the song’s drumbeat. This is backed up by the comments of several figures in the Days of our Lives documentary, who noted that Taylor hated having tape put on his drums to deaden the sound.

However, the drummer denied this in an interview with Mojo magazine in October 2008. He insisted: “I’d already had an ineffectual pop at that kind of music with ‘Fun It,’ on the Jazz album. I was never against ‘Another One Bites The Dust,’ but I was against releasing it as a single.”

In 1998, this was used in a commercial for AIWA sound systems. In the ad, a guy drives around with this blaring from his car stereo. At the end of the commercial, we realize he is driving a hearse.

During the production of the movie Rocky III, this was used in a key scene where Rocky is training for a fight. Producers could not get permission to use the song, so Sylvester Stallone hired Survivor to write an original song instead, which turned out to be “Eye Of The Tiger.”

Queen were originally reluctant to release this as a single, but backstage after a Queen gig at the Los Angeles forum, a visiting Michael Jackson convinced them it would be a hit. “Michael and all his brothers were all going, ‘That’s a fantastic track. You must release it,'” recalled Queen drummer Roger Taylor to Q magazine December 2009.

This meeting lead to several recordings and collaborations between Freddie Mercury and Jackson, all of which remain unreleased.

Weird Al Yankovic got his first chart placing with his parody of this song: “Another One Rides The Bus.” It bubbled under on the Hot 100, placing at #104 in 1981. After a few more minor hits, he landed “Eat It” at #12 in 1984.

This was the single that really broke the band in America, and it garnered a huge following amongst American disco audiences, with many fans and journalists convinced it was a black man singing lead vocals (these people obviously hadn’t heard of Queen before so didn’t know what Freddie looked like). The band occasionally were unsure of how to deal with this – Roger Taylor jokes in the Days of our Lives documentary of having fans shouting “you guys are bad!” in the street, and he had to ask “does that mean good or what?”

This was used in a 2016 commercial for the Hyundai Genesis that first aired on the Super Bowl. In the spot, Kevin Hart uses the Car Finder app to track down the guy who is using it to take his daughter on a date. After tormenting her suitor, Hart says, “A dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do.”

Another One Bites The Dust

Oh, let’s go

Steve walks warily down the street
With the brim pulled way down low
Ain’t no sound but the sound of his feet,
Machine guns ready to go

Are you ready, hey, are you ready for this?
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you, too
Another one bites the dust

How do you think I’m going to get along
Without you when you’re gone?
You took me for everything that I had
And kicked me out on my own

Are you happy, are you satisfied?
How long can you stand the heat?
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you, too
Another one bites the dust

Hey
Oh take it
Bite the dust
Bite the dust
Hey
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust oww
Another one bites the dust hey hey
Another one bites the dust eh eh

Oh shooter
There are plenty of ways that you can hurt a man
And bring him to the ground
You can beat him, you can cheat him
You can treat him bad and leave him when he’s down

But I’m ready, yes, I’m ready for you
I’m standing on my own two feet
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
Repeating to the sound of the beat oh yeah

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you, too
Another one bites the dust

Oh shooter hey hey, all right

 

 

On Any Sunday

Great documentary about motorcycle racing of all kinds.

I’ve love documentaries but I wasn’t sure this one would interest me…but it did. I’m not a motorcycle guy and I only rode some when I was a teenager but this 1971 documentary kept me watching. I would recommend this to anyone young or old. The longer I watched the more I got hooked.

Steve McQueen is in this film and he helped finance it because he believed in it so much. It was made by Bruce Brown, the same filmmaker that made “Endless Summer” an excellent documentary about Surfing. Again I’m not a surfer by any means but it was also very interesting.

This film follows about every kind of motorbike competition you can think of…  it centers on off-road competition rather than road riding.

While Steve McQueen was the draw and provided a lot of the backing to the film the two main motorcyclists they follow are today leaders in their field. The two were Mert Lawwill and Malcolm Smith.

Mert was one of the early pioneers in the off-road bicycling world, having introduced the first production mountain bike. He also developed prosthetic limbs for amputees.

Malcolm owns a dealership and runs Malcolm Smith Racing, a producer of off-road rider equipment. Smith was inducted into the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1978, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1996 and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.

I gained a lot of respect for these men who gave their lives to this sport they loved. They traveled around the country with broken vehicles, raced with broken arms and backs to do something they loved without much pay.

This documentary helped change the image of motorcyclists. There was a “sequel” to this documentary called On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter in 2014.

After watching it I wanted a motorcycle really bad…but I let the thought pass by.