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12

FRIDAY

Forsaking grace for brawn, confusing friendship with honor, and romanticizing death rather than mystifying it, John Sturges’ 1960 Western remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is so…well, American. The Magnificent Seven features an all-star cast, including Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson as drifting gunmen hired to protect a small village, and gives each character ample time to fully develop. Picking your favorite gunslinger is the best part; hoping he doesn’t get blown away in the climactic shootout is the most gut-wrenching. Although The Magnificent Seven easily stands on its own as a classic epic Western, the real payoff lies in watching it in conjunction with Kurosawa’s original 1954 masterpiece. Together, the two films offer an enlightening comparison between American and Japanese filmmaking standards, as well as traditional Western and samurai cultures. But for all The Magnificent Seven and Seven Samurai’s combined accomplishments, neither film could possibly answer the most significant question of all: Who would win in a fight? Take bets when The Magnificent Seven screens at 7 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Matthew Borlik)