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The Seven Minutes

The Seven Minutes(1971)

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NOTES

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The duration of the viewed print, which was missing some footage, was 103 minutes. The soundtrack under the opening credits is the sound of a clock ticking. The credits change in size or advance with each tick of the clock. Both opening and closing cast credit sequences end with "Yvonne De Carlo as `Constance Cumberland.'"
       According to December 20, 1967 and October 1968 Hollywood Reporter news items, author Irving Wallace sold the film rights to his book, The Seven Minutes, prior to its completion as the second of a three-book agreement with Twentieth Century-Fox. The book was published in 1969, and a February 1969 Publishers Weekly article explained that the studio, which had the right of first refusal, bought the book. A July 1969 Hollywood Reporter column reported that Richard Fleischer, who at that time was set to direct the film, planned to hire a "stag film" producer to ensure that The Seven Minutes was authentic.
       Although a July 23, 1969 Variety news item reported that Marvin H. Albert would supply the script, his contribution to the final film, if any, has not been determined. A May 21, 1970 Hollywood Reporter article reported that independent producer/director Russ Meyer had been "commissioned" to make the film, and that Richard Warren Lewis had submitted a treatment and would complete the first draft of the script by early Jun. According to a September 14, 1970 Hollywood Reporter news item, the screenplay was adapted from Wallace's novel by Lewis, who is credited onscreen and Meyer's assistant, Manny Diez.
       As noted in the Hollywood Reporter review, in the original novel, the character of a congressman was revealed to be the true author of the fictitious, controversial book. In the film, De Carlo's character, an actress, is the author. According to studio publicity, the film was more serious than Meyer's other films, which were less restrained in the depiction of sex, violence and nudity. In studio publicity notes, Meyer, whose previous low-budget exploitation films had frequently been subjected to litigation, claimed that the novel "exposes the greed and hypocrisy in censorship." In a November 1970 LAHExam article, Meyer stated his belief that censorship from outside the industry was mostly politically motivated by people wanting to win elections and who play on the fears of parents. According to Meyer, The Seven Minutes was his first film that did not make sex the focal point and, according to the article, it was the first of Meyer's films to use well-known actors.
       As noted in the New York Times review, the film contained Meyer's "semisubliminal" signature practice of featuring an extra character, a woman, wandering through the film unrelated to the main story. The Los Angeles Times review compared the frames of Meyer's film to the cartoon-like paintings of the pop-artist Roy Lichtenstein. It is possible that the character, "Cardinal McManus," was meant to suggest then Los Angeles Cardinal James McIntyre (1886-1979).
       Edy Williams (Faye Osborn) was the wife of Meye from 1970 to 1975. Sally Marr (Juror) was the mother of the late Lenny Bruce. The rape scene is intercut with footage of disc jockey Wolfman Jack reacting to a song that he is playing on the air. Modern sources add Uschi Digard (Actress with gorilla), George DeNormand and Jeffrey Sayre (Jurors) to the cast. The Seven Minutes marked the feature film debuts of Wayne Maunder (Mike Barrett) and John Sarno (Jerry Griffith), who subsequently appeared mostly in television shows. Jay C. Flippen (Luther Yerkes) died a couple weeks after shooting The Seven Minutes, which marked his final film.
       Although only three songs were listed in the onscreen credits, excerpts from other well-known songs were used in the soundtrack as commentary on the action of the film, among them: "The Caissons Go Rolling Along" was played during a sequence in "Elmo's" office as he stood in front of a portrait of General Douglas MacArthur; "Far Above Cayuga's Waters" was heard in a scene set in a university professor's office; the tune "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" was used during a hotel poolside meeting of characters Mike Barrett, "Clay Rutherford" and "Phil Sanford;" the sleazy character "Merle Reid" plays "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" on the piano; and hymns and organ music are heard during sequences in which Elmo meets with "Cardinal McManus."