6.5/10
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6 user 1 critic

Seven Angry Men (1955)

Not Rated | | Biography, History, Western | 27 March 1955 (USA)
Rise, fall and execution of John Brown, fanatic abolitionist.

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(screenplay), (story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Elizabeth Clark
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Owen Brown
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Martin White
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Frederick Brown
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John Brown Jr.
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Salmon Brown
Tom Irish ...
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Henry Thompson
James Edwards ...
Ned Green
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George Wilson
Smoki Whitfield ...
Newby
Jack Lomas ...
Doyle
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Storyline

Fictionalized account of abolitionist John Brown and his six sons who fought to ensure Kansas would enter the Union as a slave-free state. Firmly believing that he was doing God's work, Brown was prepared to use force and violence to achieve his goals. His principal adversary is Martin White who organizes the raid on the town of Lawrence, burning it to the ground. Brown becomes judge, jury and executioner killing five of the raiders. Several of his sons disagree with him and leave. After completing his work in Kansas, Brown continues his quest to end slavery. His fervent belief that violence was the only way to achieve his goal led to his demise, convicted of treason and hanged after the raid on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Violent as the Life They Lived!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

27 March 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

God's Angry Man  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Brown's life in Kansas and the Harpers Ferry raid have gotten the Hollywood treatment. The two men killed in Kansas were killed in a night attack and hacked to death by sword See more »

Goofs

I saw some electric poles in one of the beginning scenes. I don't believe that those type poles were present before the Civil war. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Broadway by Light (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

Mr. Massey's second chance at "Old Ossawattomie"
18 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 1940 Raymond Massey was at the peak of his film stardom. Born in Canada (the half-brother of Canadian Governor General Vincent Massey), he had established his stardom in England, and appeared in the film THINGS TO COME (1936). He appeared on Broadway in ETHAN FROME and ABE LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS, and the latter was made into a film in 1940 that garnered him an Oscar nomination. He also appeared in SANTA FE TRAIL as the abolitionist revolutionary John Brown. He brought a vividness and commitment to that part that made him (not Errol Flynn as Jeb Stuart) the center of attention. But the script, culminating in the attack on Harper's Ferry in October 1859, was wobbly - trying to placate southern audiences by suggesting the South would have solved the slavery issue without pressure from the North or the abolition movement. For most of the film Massey's Brown is a dangerous nut who is threatening the nation's peace - a fanatic that is striving to cause a slave revolt or war, and has killed several men. No attempt at balance is offered, or even any attempt at Brown's medical history (he had insanity in his family). Only in the last fifteen minutes is Massey's Brown redeemed when a worst type of villain (Van Heflin as a greedy instigator and traitor) betrays Brown's cause. We may not like violence, but Massey is supporting a view of life (anti-slave) that we approve of, whereas Heflin would betray anyone for money (he previously worked for Brown).

SEVEN ANGRY MEN (1955) is Massey's second Brown film. Though it still has flaws in retelling Brown's story, it does attempt to show that the forces he faced in Kansas were as violent in a pro-slavery way as he was. We do get a chance to see a cleaned up version of the Ossawattomie Creek massacre, where Brown killed five men (actually cutting them to bits with a sword). And more details are gone into about Brown's planning and financing of the Harper's Ferry attack. Finally, the relations between Brown and his sons, and the sullen dislike of the latter for their father's views, is brought out. Although this is not the definitive Brown film (that still remains to be made) it is a great improvement over the waffling of SANTA FE TRAIL, with Massey still giving the role the right mixture of fanaticism and normality the part requires.


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