Movie Review: 7 Men from Now (1956)

Good for what it tells of the times, how a real man takes care of business
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright

7 Men7 Men from Now is the quintessential western, the first of a series of six made at a time when westerns vied with romantic comedies and musicals for moviegoers’ bigger dollars.  As children of the 50s we were surrounded by John Wayne/John Ford panoramas, other big movie productions, and dozens of television serials (Cheyenne, Have Gun Will Travel, Johnny Yuma, Maverick, Wanted: Dead or Alive, geez the list is practically endless and I sure watched most of ’em).  For many boys, images of what constituted heroism were shaped by these celluloid icons. [Only recently have I concluded that Hollywood has always been a major propaganda dissemination and conditioning center for the masses, including yours truly. When I was only a few years older the perceptions and images that shaped me could have killed me: I watched the film Patton and The Green Berets would have tried to enlist in special forces except for being talked out of it by a close friend who told me how psychotic and irrational most of the American military experience really was.]

But for one reason or another—friends tell me I’m missing some key gear teeth in the noodle—I had not remembered any of the Randolph Scott westerns.  It was Mom who testified to the special suitability of Mr. Scott to the genre; then one night while I was over visiting, Turner Classic Movies came on with Robert Osborne hosting 7 Men and we watched it.  (Then just the other day I ordered the DVD via Netflix, which more or less prompts this review.)  What I recall from the original viewing is the film’s marvelous economy: the stoic, fluid efficiency of Ben Stride’s (Scott’s) actions and words as well as the “just the essentials” movement of the story. Continue reading