Seven Bullets for Seven Men
The killing of his wife at a Wells Fargo Office has weighed heavy on Ben Stride (Randolph Scott) as if he hadn't lost his job she wouldn't have been working there. It is why he rides the plains looking for the seven men who held up the office to exact his revenge. On his journey he ends up helping John Greer (Walter Reed) and his wife Annie (Gail Russell), accompanying them as they head west hoping to reach California. On their journey they also end up accompanied by Masters (Lee Marvin) and Clete (Don 'Red' Barry) who know full well what Stride is up to and plan to tag along waiting for him to lead them to the stolen Fargo money and then do away with it themselves.
That synopsis for "Seven Men from Now" not only makes it sound like a pretty routine 1950s western but in truth there is a lot more to it than just that synopsis. For one there is a growing attraction between Annie and Ben whilst at one point Ben saves a man being chased by Indians unaware that he is one of the men he is looking for. That is the strength of "Seven Men from Now" as seeing this movie is only 78 minutes long it has some nice developments and just a little bit of ambiguity as to exactly how this will play out. It makes a change because frankly some of Randolph Scott's westerns were simply factory line and so this makes you sit up and pay attention.
What also makes you sit up and pay attention is the trio of Randolph Scott, Gail Russell and Lee Marvin as each bring plenty of depth to their characters be it Marvin giving Masters a certain amount of bad man swagger to Scott bringing out the darkness of Stride which makes you question exactly what is hopes are. To put that simply Scott makes you wonder whether he hopes to die once he completes his mission but now having met Annie he is having other thoughts. It adds to the sense of intrigue as to where this storyline is heading.
Aside from all that it has to be said that Budd Boetticher's direction and William H. Clothier's cinematography is this wonderful mix of style but efficient. It means that whilst there is some beautiful camera work in "Seven Men from Now" there is never a case of the camera lingering on something too long just to be artsy.
What this all boils down to is that "Seven Men from Now" is a good western with plenty of style, entertaining performances and a storyline which whilst seeming like it will be obvious ends up ambiguous, forcing you to pay attention.