Wednesday, January 2, 2013

7 Men From Now (1956)

Good to meet you, Budd Boetticher.

A great reward for writing this blog is learning about actors, directors and films I'd never crossed paths with before. Here's another find that I'd like to share.

This is the first film I've watched from director Boetticher (Commanche Station, Ride Lonsome).

7 Men From Now opens with a thunder clap, a dark night, heavy rain and title lyrics that include "when they hear the mighty voice of justice, one by one seven men will die." The mood is set. There won't be many laughs in this beautiful looking effort from 1956.

Former Silver Springs sheriff Ben Stride (Randolph Scott) wastes no time starting with the body count. He's hunting down the men who robbed Wells Fargo of $20,000 and, when doing so, killed his wife. When we first see him, he steps out of the rain and into a confined space where two of the outlaws are keeping dry. The tension builds.

The revenge scenario is straightforward enough, but things get interesting with other characters who become part of Stride's world. John and Annie Greer (Walter Reed, Gail Russell) are headed west through Arizona seeking opportunity. John's not much of a man's man. He's a salesman. Annie is his beautiful wife. They need help with trail challenges, like deep mud.

Bill Masters (Lee Marvin) is one of the men Stride has put behind bars. He and his sidekick, Clete (Don 'Red' Barry) want the Wells Fargo loot. Masters is handy with a gun and playing mind games with Stride and John Greer. He knows Stride took his wife from another man. Masters sees Stride has his eye on Mrs. Greer. He's interested in her too.

Stride finds the men he wants, but the odds look tough heading into the final showdown. Will Masters help him out or shoot him in the back? How will Stride deal with his feelings for Annie?

7 Men From Now offers beautiful scenery, engaging story and great performances from Scott and Marvin. "Any time you're ready, sheriff," suggests Masters. I agree. Watch this film.

RATING: 8/10

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