The Seven Minutes (1971) | Russ Meyer’s major dysfunction rises again on DVD

The Seven Minutes (1971)An explosive film about a banned book, a rape, and a trial that tore a town apart!
One of the great extras on Arrow’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Blu-ray release is the world video premiere (on DVD) of Russ Meyer’s The Seven Minutes.

Released in 1971, this Meyer’s second outing with 20th Century Fox, but it was so far removed from the ‘King Leer’s’ trademark big-breasted exploitation style, that it bombed, with even Meyer describing it as ‘piss poor’.

In fact, apart from the odd shot of a secretary in various evocative poses and one violent scene of a young woman’s sexual assault, you’d think you were watching a typical Movie of the Week courtroom drama.

Freely adapted from the 1969 Irving Wallace novel about a fictional obscenity trial, Meyer’s film follows a group of slimy politicians making mileage out of the trial of the son of a wealthy man accused of rape. Having been in possession of the formerly banned 1930s book, The Seven Minutes (which, according to a 1931 study, is said to be the length of time it takes for a woman to reach orgasm during sex), the prosecution tries to convince the jury that the book was the cause behind the young man’s mental state at the time of the violent assault. Meanwhile, defence lawyer Mike Barrett (Wayne Maunder) conducts his own investigation which leads him to an unlikely witness, former screen star Constance Cumberland (Yvonne De Carlo), whose surprising testimony ends up saving the boy and the book’s reputation.

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While it certainly fails as a Meyer film, it’s not that bad and reminded me of a typical episode of Columbo, with Maunder’s Mike playing the intrepid amateur sleuth, and Hello, Dolly’s Marianne McAndrew playing his side-kick. The unfolding case is well put together, with some great asides at establishment figures, including corrupt cops, politicians and judges, the church and those annoying decency leagues. It even has a couple of familiar faces besides De Carlo (The Munsters), including a youthful Tom Selleck, who plays the book’s New York publisher, John Carradine as an boozed-up bum, and legendary DJ Wolfman Jack playing himself. Meyer regulars Charles Napier, James Iglehart and Edy Williams (aka Mrs Meyer) also appear, while Stu Phillips (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls) supplies the catchy music.

vickers and del valle

Yvette Vickers with Sinister Image presenter David Del Valle

The special feature on this bonus disc is David Del Valle’s 1987 Sinister Image interview with Russ Meyer and former Playboy Playmate Yvette Vickers, recorded at the Century Cable Public Access Studio in Santa Monica. According to Del Valle, a second interview with Meyer ended up being aborted at the last minute when the camera operator, who was born again, walked out in disgust. As for Vickers (who was Miss July 1959 and also appeared in the cult sci-fi Attack of the 50 Foot Woman), well her Hollywood Dream turned truly tragic in the end, when her mummified body was found in her home in 2011, a year after her death from heart failure.

Also included is the trailer, which is edited to exploit the film’s psychosexual thriller potential, and features the distinctive tones of Dick Tufeld (aka The Robot  from TV’s Lost in Space).

For more on Arrow’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Blu-ray release (click here)

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About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on January 27, 2016, in Might-See, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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