The Gunslinger That Cannot Be Killed

23 Jan

In 1960, audiences went to the theaters and watched The Magnificent Seven, a Western that stars Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and a lot of other great actors. However, the leader of the Seven and the most memorable character is Chris, the black-clad gunslinger played by Yul Brynner.magnificent-seven

It was an iconic role and a memorable character for anyone who loves Westerns, but it could not be known that this character would live on in different incarnations and different genres. There have been many characters that have graced the screen in multiple films, but it is possible that none of them have a journey similar to this one.

The 1960s had sequels. There was James Bond movies, Derek Flint movies (starring Coburn) and Matt Helm movies. However, there were not many Western sequels. Well, Yul Brynner as Chris showed up in Return of the Magnificent Seven, which came out in 1966.

More “Magnificent Seven” movies were made, but Brynner abandoned the role. At least, people thought he abandoned the role. In 1973, he donned the black hat in Westworld, a movie about a futuristic theme-park where people can play out their fantasies with robots. This time, the gunslinger is not the hero. He is a robot in the middle of a robot overthrow. As people are killed across the park, Brynner chases Richard Benjamin, the last surviving human. Once again, he is the most memorable character.

Westworld was a hit, and it begat another film. Futureworld came out in in 1976, and the gunslinger came back to life. I may be wrong, but that could mean that Chris the Gunslinger is the only character to appear in two different pairs of sequels.

I started thinking about this because the character has made a return. The other night, we watched the 2016 version of The Magnificent Seven. This one stars Denzel Washington as the man in black who brings together a collection of tough guys to help out the citizens of a farming town. His name is not Chris, but it is the same character.denzel-magnificent

However, that is not the only time 2016 brought the gunslinger to new audiences. Westworld is an HBO show inspired by the old movie. In this one, Ed Harris plays a gunslinger in a black hat. However, he is human. He is not the character. In an homage to Yul Brynner, the gunslinger is seen standing in an old underground lab. Apparently, he has been taken offline.westworld

That may be true of the robot, but I am not sure it is true about the character. After all, how many characters have spanned the world of movies and television for 57 years? It looks like this gunslinger cannot be killed.

10 Responses to “The Gunslinger That Cannot Be Killed”

  1. Andrew Petcher January 23, 2017 at 09:42 #

    They should never have made those Magnificent Seven sequels, I have the box set but only ever watch the original. All dead now since Robert Vaughn died.

    The Westworld film was brilliant but I confess that I have never watched the series.

    Glad I found your blog again!

    • Rick January 23, 2017 at 19:59 #

      Thanks. You should watch the series. It is a good one.

  2. colemining January 23, 2017 at 13:59 #

    The original Magnificent Seven remains one of my very favourite movies. Yul and Steve McQueen? The whole cast was spectacular.

    • Rick January 23, 2017 at 20:00 #

      It has a ton of great actors. Too bad they tried to duplicate it.

      • colemining January 23, 2017 at 20:10 #

        I won’t be bothering with the re-make.

      • Rick January 24, 2017 at 01:12 #

        It’s not terrible.

  3. Marilyn Armstrong January 23, 2017 at 23:54 #

    Yul Brynner ONLY wore black. Except for The King & I, he wore all black in every role of every movie he was in. Garry met him at a party. He was wearing black. And drinking vodka. I have also heard via the Russian grapevine that he was Hell on a horse.

    • Rick January 24, 2017 at 01:14 #

      Wearing black and drinking vodka. That’s a real combination.

  4. jcalberta January 26, 2017 at 01:44 #

    I think this says quite a bit about Yul’s unique Star Power. Enduring.
    Can’t be duplicated or equalled.
    The original was a magical bit of inspired casting. Not a formula.

    • Rick January 26, 2017 at 16:20 #

      The first one was great, but he was also great in Westworld.

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