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 ...
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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 Seven Minutes was Russ Meyer's follow up to his big studio debut, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. That one made a lot of money for 20th Century Fox but also caused it a fair bit of embarrassment and flack due to its salacious content and X rating. The Seven Minutes was the second film in his two picture deal and it went down a much less controversial route. It takes the form of a courtroom drama and perhaps unsurprisingly, unlike its predecessor, it bombed at the box office. But as is the way, despite the unfamiliar subject matter, it's still pretty obvious as a Meyer movie and is ultimately quite a strange film.
On the face of it, The Seven Minutes is a serious drama but Meyer seems incapable of playing it straight. His distinctive camera-work and super-fast editing are still in abundance. While he still makes space for a bevy of buxom women who appear throughout, such as Shawn 'Baby Doll' Deveraux. In truth, Meyer had no interest adapting the Irving Wallace novel that the film is based on but the studio insisted. In the end he figured the subject of freedom of speech and censorship was something he knew about from past experience and could make something interesting with it. But Fox felt battered by the publicity that they had attracted with Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and the similarly X rated Myra Breckinridge, so they made it clear that The Seven Minutes must make an R rating. Consequently, it is easily the most restrained outing he ever released.
The story boils down to a court case about a book called 'The Seven Minutes' which is considered obscene, so much so that it is accused of inspiring a vicious rape. The title refers to the average time that a woman takes to achieve orgasm. To be honest, going into this film I didn't have very high expectations. Its reputation sort of goes before it and the very idea of Meyer directing a film not based around buxom women set off alarm bells, seeing as they always seemed so integral to the success of everything else he did. As it turned out, I was very pleasantly surprised with this flick. Despite being a courtroom drama it still retains enough Meyer madness to ensure it's fascinating. In truth, his fast editing style is wholly inappropriate for such a film, the twists and turns of the plot end up coming at us so fast that it's very hard keeping up with plot developments, while the appearances of the pneumatic women that punctuate the movie are completely incongruous for a film trying to make a serious point! But ultimately, its aspects like these that makes it more interesting at the end of the day. The extreme melodramatic tendencies and bizarre tone and presentation are what mark it out. Make no mistake, it's not up there with Meyer's best movies but who in all seriousness would expect it to be? It's his least typical film though that's for sure and its one I am pleased to have finally seen. It's notable too for featuring a young Tom Selleck as well as a cameo from veteran actor John Carradine; it also features Meyer regulars Charles Napier, Stuart Lancaster and his then wife, Edy Williams.
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