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The 7th Commandment (1961)

The Seventh Commandment (original title)
A man and his girlfriend driving in their car have an accident. The man gets amnesia and wanders away from the accident. He is taken in by a traveling preacher, and several years later ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Jonathan Kidd ...
Ted Mathews, alias Rev. Tad Morgan
Lyn Statten ...
Terry James
John Harmon ...
Frank Arvidson ...
Rev. Noah Turnbull
Wendy Berwick ...
Margaret Bannister, hearing-impaired teen
Wayne Berwick ...
Jerry Nelson, lame boy
Johnny Carpenter ...
Mike, tent-show assistant (as John Carpenter)
(as Joseph Patrick Cranshaw)
Jack Herman


A man and his girlfriend driving in their car have an accident. The man gets amnesia and wanders away from the accident. He is taken in by a traveling preacher, and several years later returns to his hometown as the Rev. Tad Morgan, still unaware of his previous life there. His girlfriend, who was injured in the accident and is now an ex-convict living with her crook boyfriend in a sleazy apartment, decides to take her revenge on the now-respectable preacher. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

December 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 7th Commandment  »

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Did You Know?


Originally intended as a double-bill with "Secret File: Hollywood" which would ultimately be released until mid-1962, early promotional materials such as the official campaign (press) book, movie posters and lobby cards list the film title in the form of a numerical word '7th'. When the film was finally released in December, 1961, the film title sequence displays the name of the film as the word 'seven'. See more »


Edited into Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 9 (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

This is truly a weird noir!
2 March 2016 | by (The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Jonathan Kidd and Lyn Statten are a bit too frisky while driving and cause a head-on collision. When Kidd comes to he finds the driver of the other car dead, and he has a mental breakdown, resulting in amnesia. He walks away from the accident scene and is taken in by preacher Frank Arvidson. Fast forward a few years and he's a successful preacher himself, with healing powers even. Money is pouring in, he's building a children's hospital, life is peachy. Statten however is constantly broke, married to no-good drunk John Harmon. When she sees a photo of Kidd, she decides to confront him, and blackmail him...

I don't think I'd ever heard of Kidd or Statten before this movie (or of most of the actors/crew) but they are both great in their respective roles. The moment you see Statten, you know she's a femme fatale of the sleaziest kind, and she is great at it. Kidd really is a far better actor than this (drive-in) movie suggests, he is believable throughout. The rest of the cast is also remarkably solid, really helping the plot which is a weird mix between noir and more religious themes (both real and fake ones), and has a few twists as well.

Oh, and this is noir, really noir. The story is noir enough as-is with a downbeat ending for pretty much everyone, but the movie also looks noir from start to finish. This was DoP Robert C. Jessup's first time behind the camera, but he does great things here, there are some beautiful noir shots here, as well as the ubiquitous flashing neon lights outside of dingy, cramped hotel rooms, and deep, long shadows. Director/writer/producer Irvin Berwick knows how to craft a movie using some pocket change!

This movie is available in the 'Weird Noir' DVD set, and it truly lives up to that title. This is a winner, and quite a unique noir even tho it also has plenty of common noir tropes. Definitely worthy of a recommendation! 7/10

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