The Steve McQueen Collection (The Great Escape / Junior Bonner / The Magnificent Seven / The Thomas Crown Affair)
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Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Release Date: 10-APR-2007
Media Type: DVD
Akira Kurosawa's rousing Seven Samurai was a natural for an American remake--after all, the codes and conventions of ancient Japan and the Wild West (at least the mythical movie West) are not so very far apart. Thus The Magnificent Seven (1960) effortlessly turns samurai into cowboys. The beleaguered denizens of a Mexican village, weary of attacks by banditos, hire seven gunslingers to repel the invaders once and for all. The gunmen are cool and capable, with most of the actors playing them just on the cusp of '60s stardom: Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn. The man who brings these warriors together is Yul Brynner, the baddest bald man in the West. There's nothing especially stylish about the approach of veteran director John Sturges (The Great Escape), but the storytelling is clear and strong, and the charisma of the young guns fairly flies off the screen. If that isn't enough to awaken the 12-year-old kid inside anyone, the unforgettable Elmer Bernstein music will do it: bum-bum-ba-bum, bum-ba-bum-ba-bum....
Millionaire businessman Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) is also a high-stakes thief; his latest caper is an elaborate heist at a Boston bank. Why does he do it? For the same reason he flies gliders, bets on golf strokes, and races dune buggies: he needs the thrill to feel alive. Insurance investigator Vicky Anderson (Faye Dunaway) gets her own thrills by busting crooks, and she's got Crown in her cross hairs. Naturally, these two will get it on, because they have a lot in common: they're not people, they're walking clothes racks. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) is a catalog of '60s conventions, from its clipped editing style to its photographic trickery (the inventive Haskell Wexler behind the camera) to its mod design. You can almost sense director Norman Jewison deciding to "tell his story visually," like those newfangled European films; this would explain the long passages of Michel Legrand's lounge jazz ladled over endless montages of the pretty Dunaway and McQueen at play. (The opening-credits song, "Windmills of Your Mind," won an Oscar.) It's like a "What Kind of Man Reads Playboy?" ad come to life, and much more interesting as a cultural snapshot than a piece of storytelling.
Junior Bonner (1972) is director Sam Peckinpah's lovely, elegiac look at the world of the rodeo--and his only film with nary a bullet wound. Steve McQueen, engagingly easygoing but determined, is the title character, a rodeo rider out to win a big bull-riding contest in his hometown. Even as he confronts his dwindling days on the circuit, he also must deal with his feuding parents, marvelously played by Robert Preston and Ida Lupino. Preston is particularly good as the randy old con artist; he and Lupino strike real sparks. Peckinpah's slow-motion camera is put to particularly good use filming the balletic violence of the rodeo, at once more terrifying and awe-inspiring than any gun battle. A lovely country-western valentine to a dying breed.
Top Customer Reviews
In JUNIOR BONNER, the action is more subtle, though the rodeo background is colorful and McQueen, a little more weathered, is even better than before. His tangles with Ida Lupino are legendary and she was never better than in this film, a nice valedictory on Sam Peckinpah's part to one of Britain's (and Hollywood's) finest actresses, a woman who could spit out nails when she wanted to and a fitting progenitor for McQueen's icy stare (she plays his mother). It's a softer and more lyrical Peckinpah film, unlike the later THE GETAWAY (also with McQueen, although not in this boxed set).
Finally there's Norman Jewison's remake/remodel of Steve McQueen as a dashing, dapper Cary Grant type in the sophisticated caper thriller THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR. To McQueen's credit, he was able to st-r-e-t-ch his screen image to accommodate the rapier verbal wit of the screenplay as well as do his customary "blue haze" screen stare. Faye Dunaway, as the curious heroine, is also very good and hardly mannered at all. When the film appeared, there was a lot of attention paid to their chess scene, which more or less frankly tried to imitate the baroque erotics of TOM JONES' famous "eating scene" with Albert Finney.Read more ›
McQueen died from lung cancer at the age of 50 but left and enduring legacy behind. He continues to be a much admired and respected actor. This box set is a fitting reminder of the kind of range McQueen was capable of as an actor.
On The Magnificent Seven DVD there is an audio commentary by James Coburn, Eli Wallach, producer Walter Mirisch and assistant director Robert Relyea. This is a solid commentary packed with rich anecdotes with no one person dominating.
"Guns for Hire: The Making of The Magnificent Seven," is a retrospective look at the making of this classic. Most of the main cast are interviewed either in new or vintage footage in this excellent documentary.
There are two trailers and a still gallery with behind the scenes photos, portraits and production and poster art. *NOTE* However, be forewarned, this is not the awesome 2-DVD Special Edition that came out awhile ago. Why MGM didn't include this version in the box set is beyond me. Disappointing.
The Great Escape DVD features a decent making of documentary entitled, "Return to the Great Escape.Read more ›
--This exciting compilation features four classic Steve McQueen adventures, described individually below:
THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963) - John Sturges's dramatization of the true story of a group of British, American, and Canadian POWs who successfully escaped from Stalag Luft III in Upper Silesia in March 1944 remains arguably the best World War II adventure film ever made. A host of excellent up-and-coming actors, including James Garner (MAVERICK and THE ROCKFORD FILES), Richard Attenborough (future director of GANDHI), James Coburn (IN LIKE FLINT), and Charles Bronson (DEATH WISH) mesh beautifully in this meticulous recreation of the legendary escape. The German high command rounded up all of the allies' most talented escape artists and placed them in a POW camp specifically designed to foil any unwanted departures, but many of them laboriously tunnel out anyway. Steve McQueen's thrilling motorcycle chase sequence instantly made him a major movie star.
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960) - John Sturges's remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 classic THE SEVEN SAMURAI has become an extremely influential film in its own right. A small farming Mexican village that makes involuntary donations of its harvest to a gang of bandits led by Calvera (Eli Wallach) decides to hire a group of professional gunmen, headed by gunslinger-for-hire Chris (Yul Brynner), to protect them. Despite the meager pay, Chris and Vin (Steve McQueen) sign on after the Mexicans see them face down some racist thugs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Two great movies out of four. The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven are two milestones in movie making. Both movies have brilliant casts and are well put together. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kelvin Garvey
I never seen this movie before, a lot of other good stars also. it was very enjoyable. It was good movie - not great.Published on February 10, 2013 by w,roseland
Thanks for your understanding that old things need preserving. Movies by bygone actors are fun to see again. This actor died too soon.Published on May 9, 2011 by Mary L. Morgan
For the money this is a wonderful set of Steve McQueen films. It's worth the cost just for the Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape which are two classics with great ensemble... Read morePublished on January 11, 2011 by Jeff Y
It's Steve McQueen, what else can I say! The DVD's were wonderful to see after all these years.Published on July 9, 2010 by Lynne W.
Actor Steve McQueen was a man of a few words and plenty of action...Whether it be horses, motorcycles or a dune buggy, he takes the film goer for the thrill ride that they never... Read morePublished on August 25, 2008 by Bennet Pomerantz
dvds were in great condition, and they were for a great price. thanks so much for doing business with me!!Published on July 1, 2008 by Yury R. Tolentino
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