Thursday, 24 November 2016
The Seven Minutes (4 Stars)
"The Seven Minutes" is one of Russ Meyer's rarest films. It has never been released on DVD in its own right. It was included as an extra feature on a limited edition release of "Beneath the Valley of the Dolls". I was lucky enough to buy it when it was first released, but it's now out of print.
This is one of Russ's most serious films. It deals with a topic that was close to his heart: censorship. Maybe the 1970's were more liberal than the 1950's, but there were still attempts by the moral right wing of America to outlaw everything it didn't like. In this case it's a highly artistic novel in which a woman describes, in seven chapters, the seven minutes she spends in the act of sexual intercourse. But it's a general subject that affected Russ himself. His films, which he made from 1959 to 1979, were considered outrageous by some, but the pinnacle of erotic art by others. It's no secret which side I take in the debate.
The great actor Charles Napier only appears briefly in the film's opening scenes. I consider him to be the most underrated actor who has ever lived. He should have had a breakthrough while he was young, but he spent most of his career typecast as a square-jawed soldier. It's true, he did have a square jaw, but there was so much more to him.
Mora Gray only appeared in three films from 1968 to 1983. This was her biggest role. She's the rather distracting secretary in the lawyer's office. How did anyone manage to get any work done?