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Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Seven Minutes (1971)

Two undercover vice cops (Charles Drake, Charles Napier) arrest a bookstore clerk (Robert Moloney) for selling an obscene book called THE SEVEN MINUTES. The publisher (Tom Selleck) hires an attorney (Wayne Maunder) to defend the young man but when a copy of the book is found in the car of a youth (John Sarno) charged with a brutal rape, the D.A. (Philip Carey) bases his case on the premise that the boy was driven to commit the rape by the book. Softcore porn director Russ Meyer made an attempt to go "legit" in the 1970s when his BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS was backed by a major studio, 20th Century Fox. This was his second and final effort in that direction. Based on the novel by Irving Wallace, Meyer doesn't seem comfortable with the material. The unfettered outrageousness which made his films so fun isn't here. The film's provocative subject matter (freedom of speech, the banning of books) aside, this is more or less a typical courtroom drama. The film's two leads, Maunder and Marianne McAndrew (HELLO DOLLY), are a rather bland lot but there are enough familiar character actors surrounding them to help prop them up. Watching the movie, my mind wandered and I wondered if they still ban books in America? The huge cast includes Yvonne De Carlo in perhaps the film's most important role, Jay C. Flippen, Edy Williams, Lyle Bettger, Ron Randell, John Carradine, Harold J. Stone, David Brian, Barry Kroeger and Edith Evanson.   

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