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When all is said and done, RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN ($20) is an entertaining enough western programmer, which cashes in on the notoriety of the greater film that preceded it. Actually, since several characters died in the original film and most of the others had the good sense to stay away, Yul Brynner is the only big name star to make the return. Set several years after the original, RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN tells the story of new trouble in the Mexican village where Chico (now played by Julián Mateos) fought beside the other six gunslingers and has since retired to the life of farming.

A new villain by the name of Lorca (Emilio Fernández) kidnaps the men of Chico’s village, as well as those of several others villages, then puts this slave labor force to work out in the middle of the desert. Chico’s wife Petra (Elisa Montés) tracks down Chris Adams (Yul Brynner) to ask for his help in freeing Chico and the other men. Of course, Chris wants to help his old friend and assembles a new band of seven to stand against the insurmountable odds. The cast of RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN also features Robert Fuller, Warren Oates, Claude Akins and Fernando Rey.

MGM Home Entertainment has made RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The transfer isn’t extraordinary looking for a thirty five year old film, but RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN produces a very watchable picture. In general, the image is sharp and reasonably well defined. Colors are sometimes a bit pale, but they usually offer up a natural level of saturation. Blacks are accurate and the contrast is fairly smooth, however shadow detail can be somewhat limited. The film element used for the transfer displays very few age related marking and imperfections. Film grain is noticeable in places, but never becomes distracting. Digital compression artifacts never make their presence known on this cleanly authored DVD.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is fairly clean sounding, without much by way of hiss or distortion. Dialogue is crisp and is reproduced without intelligibility issues. Elmer Bernstein’s score is the best part of the track, although frequency limitations prevent it from having a true high fidelity sound. The music sounds decent at modest volume levels, but too much amplification will push the track into mild distortion. French and Spanish monaural soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are French and Spanish subtitles. The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a theatrical trailer.

RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is a decent evening’s entertainment, but the film doesn’t hold up on repeated viewings, as does the classic western that inspired it. Still, the DVD looks and sounds pretty good, making the disc worth checking out for those who are interested.


Return of the Magnificent Seven


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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