One can almost consider that American filmmaking contains fixed ideas where Japanese motion pictures produced by Kurosawa are the result of complex concepts coming from a series of cultures being brought together. In spite of the fact that Kurosawas film goes against some of the most respected Japanese values during the 1950s, it is nonetheless related to the general context involving Japan. It follows Japanese film-making rules in an attempt to captivate an Asian public through having viewers identify with the characters from time to time. While the fact that the ronins in the film are shown as being glorious and as generally being responsible for the fact that the situation is saved, this type of people was considered to be predisposed to performing immoral acts at the time when the motion picture was released. The Japanese had just survived an international conflict that claimed the lives of many and were reluctant to appreciate matters related to the West or to violence as a whole. It was not necessarily that the Japanese did not appreciate Western films, as they were simply surprised that Kurosawa introduced concepts borrowed from the Western genre in a film meant to present people with conditions in sixteenth centurys Japan.
Kurosawa refrains from providing audiences with a sugary story where everything ends well. Katsushiro is unlikely to be accepted by the peasants and his love story is probable to end abruptly as a consequence of the fact that he is no longer needed. In contrast, Chico, the young character in The Magnificent Seven, stays with Petra, the village girl that he feels a connection with. The peasants in the American film appear to understand the gunmen and they bond with them as each group learns more regarding the other. The Japanese peasants only think of samurai as a tool that they can use and dispose of anytime they want to and feel uncomfortable having them around.
Stereotypes from the Western genre can be observed throughout The Magnificent Seven, as gunmen are portrayed as individuals who initially hesitate about helping people they have nothing in connection with, but who give in and demonstrate that they actually have a big heart as they acknowledge the critical situation that villagers are in. The central characters in each film, Kambei and Chris, are very similar, considering that they both decide to fight evildoers because they feel that it this would be morally right. Similarly, their assistants get involved in the campaign because of a series of reasons that are not necessarily related to morality. All of these warriors prove themselves, however, by the end of the films.
Even though Kurosawa and Sturges directed films that basically use the same plot, the fact that each of these two directors intended his film to address a particular audience had a severe effect on the overall messages conveyed by the motion pictures. Kurosawa puts across graveness as he tells a story involving honorable men fighting and dying for their principles rather than expressing any interest in the well-being of peasants. In contrast, Sturges presents audiences with a sugary tale involving tough cowboys in the Old West as they express little to no hesitation to risk their lives for a community of Mexicans consequent to understanding that they are in danger. All things considered, these two films are iconic for the motion picture environments that they were designed in and managed to bring significant contributions to the Western genre. Although it contains many elements characteristic to this type of film, Kurosawas motion picture addresses more complex concepts and is most probably meant to deal with ideas present in the Japanese society. The Japanese director was probably focused on having his countrymen understand the importance of individuality.
1. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. Seven Samurai. Columbia Pictures, 1956.