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Directed by Budd Boetticher
USA 19
56

 

Not many Westerns can claim to be original. Seven Men from Now can. Its making, for the B-picture arm of John Wayne's Batjac company, was a modest enterprise. The screenwriter, Burt Kennedy, was just starting out; the director, Budd Boetticher, was a matador-turned-filmmaker with only one film of distinction (The Bullfighter and the Lady) in a journeyman career; the star, Randolph Scott, was regarded as "over the hill." Yet the three men's talents blended uncannily, producing not just a terrific Western but a cinema masterpiece--an ironical, beautifully spare bit of storytelling that became the ideal showcase for Scott's sandy reticence.


You don't want anybody synopsizing the story for you; there's little of it, really, yet how it's told makes it complex and compelling. We know, from a memorable first scene, that Scott is hunting down seven men who did something terrible. He will be thrown together with several other characters, including Lee Marvin as an affable but deadly rascal with whom he shares some history. Everybody has private reasons to be traveling through Apache country. Savor every syllable of the laconic dialogue, what people say and what they don't quite say--what they think they understand about one another's motives, except that that understanding keeps getting rearranged.

Seven Men from Now went missing after Wayne's death in 1979 threw the Batjac library into limbo. (Its success had inspired Scott, Boetticher, and Kennedy to collaborate on three other remarkable Westerns--The Tall T (1957), Ride Lonesome (1959), and Comanche Station (1960)--which, because they weren't made for Batjac, we've had little trouble seeing over the years.) The movie became legendary, a Holy Grail for film buffs.

Excerpt from Richard T. Jameson's review found HERE

Theatrical Release: August 4th, 1956

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DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:17:57 
Video 1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.83 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by: James Kitses, film historian and author of "Horizons West: Anthony Mann, Budd Boetticher, Sam Peckinpah"
• Budd Boetticher--An American Original: Americano; Burt Kennedy, Writer; Duke, Randy & Budd: The Beginning of Seven Men from Now; Lovable Villains and Strong Women; Keeping It Simple; The Last Matador; Restoring the Legend
The John Wayne Stock Company: Gail Russell (50:36)

•The John Wayne Stock Company: Gail Russell
•Lone Pine
•Batjac trailer
•Original theatrical trailer
• Photo gallery

DVD Release Date: December 20th, 2005

Double-lock Keep Case
Chapters: 10

 

Comments:

Although the image is not 'stupendous' it is certainly better than average. It shows some digital noise/dirt but is acceptably sharp. Colors are a shade faded but overall it is superior than my expectations. What is fabulous about this disc are both the illuminating commentary and the featurette which lasts almost an hour (divided into segments). More importantly than all of this is that the film has been released to DVD - western fans have been more than patient for some of the cream of the genre, namely in the form of Boetticher/Scott entries. Well, it is finally here and in the form of a 'Special Collectors Edition'. Let's hope Comanche Station, Ride Lonesome and more are on there way soon!

Gary W. Tooze





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Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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