17 January 2007 | degatesjr
Seven Against the House
Kim Novak is of course terrific (she rarely phoned one in), and it's an interesting pre-star turn, meaning before PICNIC and VERTIGO, but the rest of the cast is pretty interesting, and particularly Brian Keith---Keith did a lot of 50's B-picture work that's worth watching, if you can find it. The real reason to see this picture is because it's a Phil Karlson. Karlson is one of those guys like Don Siegel, who came up in the studio system just before television. Early live TV produced people like Frankenheimer and Arthur Penn and Paddy Chayevsky, but there were already guys in the trenches like Siegel and Karlson, who got the chance to direct because they could do it quick and cheap, but make a picture look like it didn't come from Poverty Row. (See, for example, Clint Eastwood's PLAY MISTY FOR ME. Eastwood got his shot by rock-bottom budgeting, a lesson he might have learned from Siegel.) Karlson is due for a re-evaluation, along with, say, Budd Boetticher and Burt Kennedy. Siegel seems to be getting his due, not that he couldn't use an occasional boost. But watch this, and maybe THE PHENIX CITY STORY (not a misspelling), and tell me Karlson can't do it tense.