Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tonight's Movie: Seven Men From Now (1956)

SEVEN MEN FROM NOW is a tremendously effective Western starring Randolph Scott, Gail Russell, and Lee Marvin. Produced by John Wayne's Batjac Productions and directed by Budd Boetticher, the movie tells the story of an ex-sheriff on the hunt for the gang of outlaws who murdered his wife during a robbery. Along the way he meets a struggling pioneer woman (Russell) and her ineffectual husband (Walter Reed), as well as an old nemesis (Marvin, who comes close to stealing the movie).

The movie grabs the attention from the opening credits sequence and the rainy campfire scene that follows. Burt Kennedy's dialogue is concise and amusing, every word carefully chosen. The title song is used effectively as background music throughout the film. The Alabama Hills landscapes, filmed outside Lone Pine, California, are breathtaking. About my only complaint was the last line of the script could have been a little more decisive.

In short, it's a pretty perfect little Western. It was a treat to see it for the first time.

This widescreen movie was filmed in color and runs a brief 78 minutes.

SEVEN MEN FROM NOW is available in a superb print on DVD, in a Collector's Edition filled with extras, including a commentary, a documentary on director Budd Boetticher, and shorter featurettes on actress Gail Russell and the Lone Pine location. Well worth the investment if you like classic Westerns.

July 2012 Update: There's a little more on this film in my review of DECISION AT SUNDOWN (1957).

6 Comments:

Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

Seven Men From Now is an excellent film and a surpurb example of what a DVD should be. Clean, crisp print, excellent background material (the piece on Gail Russell was good) and a fantastic documentary (on Budd Boetticher) for context. This is one of my favorite single DVD releases of last year, along with the other Batjac release McClintock! What is very surprising is this is a Paramount Home Theater release- done right! I don't know if that is due to Batjac (and Leonard Maltin's involvement- which I suspect) or someone at Paramount. Either way- a good DVD for the collection. Hopefully more Budd Boetticher films will be forthcoming on DVD. He directed some excellent westerns

5:40 AM  
Blogger Wolf Flywheel said...

This films has one of my favorite opening scenes in a western ever. I would've liked to see Mr. Scott play this when he was a little younger, but it still worked. It also included one of my favorite actors to play western villans:Lee Marvin. Great film choice!

9:11 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

"This films has one of my favorite opening scenes in a western ever."

Loved it! (After being momentarily distracted by recognizing a very young "Dr. Steve Hardy" from GENERAL HOSPITAL -- John Beradino -- as one of the men, grin.) The film was powerful in part because of its very economy and understatement, particularly its depiction of Scott's skill with a gun.

We drive past Lone Pine most years on our way to the Sierras, and I loved seeing the area captured so beautifully on film. I enjoyed the Lone Pine and Russell features -- looking forward to the Boetticher documentary. It's a shame Gail Russell had such a life of "hard living"; few ladies were as beautiful on screen as she was in ANGEL AND THE BADMAN a decade earlier. My father recently suggested she would have been great cast in HONDO -- I agree.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this wonderful film.
Laura

10:38 AM  
Blogger jau said...

Sounds great. Another one from your pen to my dvd player....

9:22 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Let us know what you think, Anne! Laura

9:31 AM  
Blogger Reel Popcorn Junkie said...

I didn't know about Budd Boetticher until I found 7 Men From Now at my library. Lee Marvin does a fantastic job as Bill Masters. His character is deadly not only with his gun, but the words he speaks as he plays mind games with Ben Stride and John Greer.

7:52 AM  

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