ed. by Patrick Russ
The Magnificent Seven (1960) was one of the few pictures I wanted to do so badly I really put myself out to get it. In this and another picture done much at the same time - The Commancheros - I think I said almost everything I had to say on the subject of Western Americana. In The Magnificent Seven the purpose of the music was primarily to increase excitement, but is also served in a quite specific way to provide pacing to a film, observe that the music is faster in temp than anything that is actually happening on the screen. The film needed music to help give it drive. In that sense, it is a quite physical score, as much foreground as background. It was a film that also needed music to suit its locale, and in this case I felt it should have a definite Chicano sound, a blending of many elements of American and Mexican music.
Every once in a while- it doesn't happen often- you hit on something really quite thrilling. I remember being very excited when I found that opening rhythm. It was like a surge of energy. That's what people really remember.
— Elmer Bernstein