Return of the Seven (1966): Burt Kennedy’s Inferior Sequel

The first of two drab sequels to 1960 classic The Magnificent Seven, Return of the Seven is an inferior western that features only Yul Brynner from the all-star cast of the original picture.

Director Burt Kennedy is a craftsman (and not a very good one at that), and he certainly lacks the energy and savvy of John Sturges who had directed the 1960 film.

The story, penned by the scribe Larry Cohen, is similar to that of the first film. Once again, the residents of a quiet Mexican village are terrorized by a ruthless brute, the insane rancher Lorca (Emilio Fernandez), who has corralled a small army of 50 gunmen to intimidate the citizenry into building a church in memory of his son.

Chico (now played by Julian Mateos), an original member of the seven gunslingers from the first film, hears of the villagers’ plight and sends for Chris Adams (Yul Brynner), who rounds up seven smart shootists from various places of ill-repute, including prison.

The new bunch includes Warren Oates and Claude Akins, storms the storm, intending to restore order.

Eli Wallach was a much “better” villain in “The Magnificent Seven,” and the new cast, which also includes Robert Fuller, doesn’t begin to compare to the stellar and cool ensemble of Sturges’ film.

“Return of the Seven” (aka as “Return of the Magnificent Seven”) was followed by other sequels, “Guns of the Magnificent Seven” (1969) and “The Magnificent Seven Ride!” (1972).

Oscar Nominations: 1

Scoring of Music (Adaptation or Treatment): Elmer Bernstein

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Scoring Oscar was Ken Thorne for the musical, “A Funny Thing happened on the way to the Forum.”

Running time: 96 Minutes