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    213 mins

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Cafe Philosophique: Team Reasoning + The Magnificent Seven


Boldly drawing on Akira Kurosawa's revered masterpiece The Seven Samurai, director John Sturges found in the traditional Western the perfect vessel for Kurosawa's honourable warrior codes, outlaw versus drifter themes, and suitably tense action set-pieces. Thus, The Magnificent Seven emerges as not only ludicrously enjoyable entertainment but also a superior and thoughtful character study.

The story – oppressed villagers beg mysterious loner to round up some hired gunmen to fight fearsome bandits – is simple, but is perfect for the type of crowd-pleasing antics that the Western thrived on. However, Sturges' efficient shift in location is not the only aid to his cause. Blessed with such a charismatic cast, bristling with chemistry, the film elevates beyond simple Good versus Evil ciphers, allowing Sturges to consolidate themes of male bonding and alienation into teeming drama.


Plus Lecture: Team Reasoning by Professor David Papineau (King's College London)

Margaret Thatcher said 'There is no such thing as society, only individuals’. Most economists and biologist agree, and as a result find much cooperative human behaviour puzzling. But in truth humans often operate as teams, not individuals, and succeed precisely because of this. Sporting success is the most obvious example, but the moral is a general one.


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