The Seven Minutes is a steamy book written in 1969. To help with an upcoming election, a bookstore clerk is indicted for selling obscene material and most of the film centers about the ... See full summary »
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James Whitmore Jr.,
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The Seven Minutes is a steamy book written in 1969. To help with an upcoming election, a bookstore clerk is indicted for selling obscene material and most of the film centers about the trial. The defense attorneys need to find the mystery of the original publication of the book. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The odds of Russ Meyer helming an intellectual courtroom drama think-piece on freedom of speech and civil rights are almost as long as his helming the number one grossing box-office movie the year before (BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS), but both occurred in a two-year period in the early 70s. Obviously one begat the other, but the cycle never repeated. Still, a case can be made for FOX assigning this movie to Meyer given his experience with censorship from his earlier forays into soft porn, which always ran the gamut between "guilty pleasure" and "good-humored raunch of dubious taste." Whatever your opinion of his sensibilities, Meyer always knew what his public wanted and he supplied it in copious quantity. With the possible exception of THE SEVEN MINUTES, that is.
What is THE SEVEN MINUTES? Well, it's Russ Meyer's lone attempt to Get Serious and Topical. While Meyer is intellectually up to the task, and halfway accomplishes the tough goal of laying out the controversies convincingly, he's not up to resolving things in a credible manner. The first half is a bit amateurish and thin but it is the second half where the bottom really falls out. In particular, Meyer tries to cram so many twists into the wacky denouement that any commentary he has previously made is lost. Perhaps all of this is satire of the politicization he is documenting, but if so, it's too uneven. Worse, it's not entertaining.
In one movie Meyer single-handedly alienated serious moviegoers, who stayed away merely based on his name. At the same time, he turned off his core audience, who could not have possibly been prepared for the utterly non-Russ Meyer product he delivered in THE SEVEN MINUTES. The trademark titillation, violence and bawdiness of his entire prior filmography is absent, replaced by sensationalized but strangely static courtroom dialogue. Meyer was never quite the same afterward and subsequently only made three or four more movies in the next 33 years after having made 18 in the preceding 11.
Still, if you like to see the Seventies at its most excessive and overly indulgent, this is a precious cautionary time capsule showing how someone successful in one area could not harness his skills in another. It's so breathtakingly, in-your-face bad that you might find it amusing. 1.5 / 10
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