7 Men from Now (1956)

Approved   |    |  Action, Western


7 Men from Now (1956) Poster

A former sheriff blames himself for his wife's death during a Wells Fargo robbery and vows to track down and kill the seven men responsible.


7.4/10
4,608

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27 October 2007 | Nazi_Fighter_David
8
| The villain and the heroine make the hero a more interesting character
Like McCrea, Scott did not become exclusively a Westerner until the mid-forties, but once established he became a Western star of distinction, achieving his best and most interesting roles as his career matured…

Scott was a great gentleman… It was simple for him to do the part because it was indeed the prime quality he brought to his many roles as lawman or lone rider… Scott's best work was the group of seven movies he made with director Budd Boetticher in the fifties…In these he obtained a new stature as the lone figure on a mission of vengeance or similar private quest, becoming a tougher, more forceful character, the archetype of the much-parodied image… As we all know, a man's actions are what make the man, and over and over again, Scott believed in courage… He believed in conspicuous displays of courage… And finally he rounded off this splendid climax to a long career by starring with Joel McCrea in "Ride the High Country."

Boetticher's style was marvelously simple and economical, sticking closely to the same plots, locations and character types in each of his Westerns and stressing movement and action rather than ideas…

Budd Boetticher's "Seven Men From Now" is 78 minutes… And as concise as this great Western is, it has four really well-developed characters traveling through Apache country; beautiful storytelling; takes full advantage of the location; and there are a lot of narrative incidents…

Ben Stride (Scott) represents a man whose wife has been killed and he's going to go out and seek revenge… But his style is ramrod straight and not very interesting… The killers that Stride is after are all opportunists… They are men who had broken the law… Boetticher introduces a sympathetic bad man, Bill Masters (Lee Marvin) who had been put in jail twice by the ex-Sheriff… But you get the sense that Masters wouldn't kill a woman… That's not what he has in mind... But, surely, he wants the $20,000 in gold from the strongbox… Ultimately, he had to test himself up against Ben Stride in the final confrontation: the stronger villain against the stronger hero…

Lee Marvin stole the show… He had all the little tricks, and twitches, and schemes… He is magnetic, especially in one key scene on that stormy night, when he gets inside the covered wagon, asking for a cup of hot black coffee…Tension mounts when he tells John Greer (Walter Reed) that his wife is beautiful… He wanted to get on Stride's nerves… And some tension grew between the three characters…

Annie Greer (Gail Russell) was the object of desire… She was wonderful foil, essential, torn between two men… Obviously her character quite quickly falls for Scott's character… Her husband—who seems weak—turns out to be stronger than we thought... Stride let his own life down because he was too proud… We hear him says: "A man ought to be able to take care of his woman." This is the line that's submitted to a test by the whole action and script and direction of the movie…

One last note: Without sacrificing any of the traditional action elements, there was somehow an extra dimension to the Boetticher Westerns; they had a biting, underplayed quality, the kind of films one would have expected had John Huston (in his prime) suddenly decided to become a director of Westerns

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