Monday, January 09, 2006

Day 45: "Seven Men from Now"

Director: Budd Boetticher 1956
Just as the Jimmy Stewart-Anthony Mann collaboration produced five great westerns (see Day: 24: "Winchester '73"), so, too, did the team of Randolph Scott and Budd Boetticher create seven terrific films. "Seven Men from Now" was their first. Scott plays an ex-sheriff tracking down the men who killed his wife during a robbery. Along the way, Scott befriends a couple trying to get their wagon to California. He's attracted to the wife--and she to him. He also encounters Lee Marvin, not one of the seven men, but a bad guy, too. Only Marvin is not completely bad, and in the end, he and Scott each regret the twists of fate which have led to an inevitable showdown. Marvin's character is reminiscent of Elmore Leonard's complex bad guys, which is interesting given that the next Scott-Boetticher western was "The Tall T" (1957), based on a story by Leonard. Boetticher"s budget was limited, so much of the action takes place outdoors. Like Sam Peckinpah (see Day 38: "Major Dundee"), Boetticher has a real flair for the widescreen--and for directing a great western.


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