Movie Class 101 – Week 004 – The Boys or How to correctly use testosterone to create a classic!
May 13, 2012
Week Four: The Boys or How to correctly use testosterone to create a classic!
There are notable and successful films with large female ensemble casts (Cukor’s The Women and Steel Magnolias come immediately to mind). But in the 1960s there were a series of action films made with exceptional / star studded male casts.
Magnificent Seven is now seen as a classic but it was not originally received as such. The film from which it was adapted (Seven Samurai) was a huge success becoming Japan’s highest grossing movie at the time. Despite its mixed reception the following years delivered a few more action films crammed with talent actors.
Action / Western, Action / War… It all starts with the action. And the cast.
There are a great many ensemble comedies (Airplane, The Player, American Graffiti, It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, etc) but fewer ensemble action films. This is most likely due to the fact that comedies by and large cost less to make than action films and therefore can earn back more money. That being said these are some of the best or at least the most well known male ensemble films.
You’ll see familiar faces in each of the first three films. Hollywood has always liked to keep its stars working.
Side note – I don’t think a single film on this lists passes the Bechdel Test ( http://www.feministfrequency.com/2009/12/the-bechdel-test-for-women-in-movies/ )
That doesn’t make them bad or wrong but it is an interesting thing to note.
And now for this week’s film list.
1. The Magnificent Seven (1960)
2. The Great Escape (1963)
3. The Dirty Dozen (1967)
5. Seven Samurai (1954)
6. Silverado (1985)
7. The Expendables (2010)
Discussion Questions –
1 – Are you more or less inclined to watch a movie with an all male cast? Would it make a difference if it were an all female cast?
2 – These films do not have explicitly happy endings. Do you think that has more to do with the gender influence or the genre influence. Is it possible to separate the gender influence from the genre?
3 – Do you think these are message films or just escapist fluff?