Today we’re going to feature a fight scene that was replicated in two movies, one of my favorites films, The Seven Samurai, and it’s American Western version known as The Magnificent Seven.
My favorite scene is the wise warrior who reluctantly demonstrates his skills, seen here in the original:
The character was played by James Coburn in the US version, and he rocked it. He had fewer lines than any other member of the Seven, yet he was the most memorable (he actually delivers my favorite line in the whole film). Here’s the same scene as the above (forgive the quality, it was the only video of the scene I could find)… check it out.
It wasn’t, of course, THE EXACT same scene, because now GUNS have been added to the mix, and that changed things, but the essence of the scene is the same, the structure is the same and the impact, the same if not more.
Grotowski has said, “good ideas are borrowed, great ideas are stolen” and we see that here (actually, I don’t know if Grotowski actually originated that or appropriated it, as per his statement)… it’s not actually STOLEN, of course (the US film rights were paid for)… but the take on that is, when something’s awesome, you bring it home to what it means TO YOU… cowboys and samurais seem like they should be far apart, but, as we can see from this, they’re not (and indeed, this was part of a long tradition of westerns and samurai movies influencing each other), the idea cuts to the heart of what it means to be a warrior and a master of arms.