Several Cowboys Removed from John Wayne

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

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Randolph Scott was a rich man’s Audie Murphy. In the 1950s, all the good western B-scripts were sent to Scott. Those he didn’t want went to Audie.

As a result, both cowboy star actors made half-a-dozen fascinating and memorable Westerns in the late 1950s.

Many of the films were made with legendary Budd Boetticher as the director. His sense of what made a Western great made for great western drama that transcends cultures and times.

That brings us to a re-viewing of Seven Men from Now, a revenge tale perfectly suited for Randolph Scott who was then in his late fifties with steely gray hair replacing his blonder locks.

If John Wayne was not looking over his shoulder at Scott, he ought to have been. The two stars did make several movies together earlier in their careers, but Scott never garnered the popularity of Wayne and was far more understated in a William S. Hart cowboy fashion

Seven Men from Now also featured Lee Marvin, already in cross-over mode and ready to costar with Wayne in Donovan’s Reef and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. He was always a dangerous bad guy in movies, but was making waves that would finally send him into leading man territory within a few years.

The female lead was another personality on the ashcan perimenter of Hollywood, Gail Russell, who had also made some movie history with John Wayne, but was on the downslide to oblivion and premature death. Here she is slightly disturbing as a “good wife” to another man.

By today’s standards, Scott’s revenge at taking down seven killers responsible for a heinous murder is rather tame—except for the hero’s steely resolve.

It is not the best of the Scott Westerns of the era (see The Tall T), but at 75 minutes, it is short and stunning.

Movie insights from Ossurworld’s Dr. William Russo can be found in his books like MOVIE MASHUP and MOVIES TO SEE–or NOT TO SEE!  All Russo’s books are available at Amazon.com in softcover and in e-book formats.