circa 1955:  Headshot of American film director John Sturges (1910 - 1992) wearing a black turtleneck and glasses with a cigarette dangling from his lips and smoke swirling up.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
John Sturges May Have Proved Anything Could Be A Western With The Magnificent Seven
John Sturges doesn't have quite the same reputation as Akira Kurosawa or his contemporaries John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Anthony Mann, but he still made a significant mark on cinema. Sturges felt that any story could be successfully translated into a western, a notion that he would eventually prove right with the enduring appeal of his film "The Magnificent Seven."
Given that samurai films are to Japanese cinema what westerns were to the Golden Age of Hollywood, the idea of transposing Kurosawa's epic samurai drama “Seven Samurai” to a western setting doesn't seem all that wild today. However, many critics at the time saw Sturges’ movie as inferior to the original.
Critics aside, "The Magnificent Seven" became incredibly influential in its own right as a precursor to "The Wild Bunch" and men-on-a-mission movies like "The Dirty Dozen" and "Inglourious Basterds." At its heart, his samurai remake is a tale so straightforward that even a child can understand it: A small band of good guys defends a community against a big bunch of bad guys.
Since receiving middling reviews on its first release, "The Magnificent Seven" has become a beloved staple of the western genre. Sturges’ rousing horse opera and its mythic simplicity have also proven highly adaptable to other genres, be it comedy ("¡Three Amigos!"), science fiction ("Galaxy Quest"), or a CGI adventure featuring insects ("A Bug's Life").