7 Men From Now – Special Collector’s Edition
Sound: C+ Extras: B Film: B-
Randolph Scott appeared in so many Westerns that only
experts could keep track, but Budd Boetticher’s little-seen Seven Men From
Now (1956) is one of the best, if only 78 minutes long. He plays an older lawman turned
self-appointed bounty hunter out to hunt down the seven men responsible for a
robbery crime turned murder. Also involved
is his old criminal rival (Lee Marvin) making the hunt all the more personal.
Gail Russell and Walter Reed play the unknowing couple
that get caught up in the madness and Stuart Whitman also stars in this well
acted, paced, cast, produced and directed film producer John Wayne had to turn
down because he was shooting The Searchers with John Ford. Burt Kennedy’s screenplay is mature,
articulate, smart, clever and has a good flow to it, though some of this is
typical genre territory. Fortunately,
there is more going on on a visual level and there is subtle chemistry all over
the place in what is a key Western that has aged well in most ways. If only it was longer, but its return to
availability after so long is great and that should bring it to the proper
place it and the filmmakers (especially Boetticher) will get the credit they
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image has some detail
issues, but looks good for a film made in the problematic WarnerColor back in
1956. A half-century later, the film
still looks good and has been as saved and restored as much as possible. Cinematographer William H. Clothier knows
how to hold a shot and compose, making for a great ally with Boetticher. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is not bad and
features a good score by Henry Vars.
Dialogue is not bad, though some will wish this were 5.1, but that is
not an option.
Extras include an exemplary commentary by Film Western
scholar James Kitses on the film and many items related to the genre, people in
the film and world film history in general.
You also get the original theatrical trailer for this film, previews for
other Paramount releases, a promo for the titles coming from the Batjac catalog
with John Wayne, stills, a piece on the Lone Pine area, look at actress Gail
Russell and extraordinary multi-part look at director Budd Boetticher with
great film clips, historic interviews and new interviews including Quentin
Tarantino and Clint Eastwood.
- Nicholas Sheffo