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SEVEN WAYS FROM SUNDOWN (director: Harry Keller; screenwriter: from the novel by Clair Huffaker/Clair Huffaker; cinematographer: Ellis W. Carter; editor: Tony Martinelli; music: Irving Gertz/William Lava; cast: Audie Murphy (Sundown Jones), Barry Sullivan (Jim Flood), Venetia Stevenson (Joy Karrington), John McIntire (Sergeant Hennessey), Ken Tobey (Lieutenant Herly), Mary Field (Ma Karrington), Suzanne Lloyd (Lucinda); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Gordon Kay; Universal-International; 1960)
“Low-budget routine Western, that has only the charisma of Audie Murphy going for it.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Harry Keller (“In Enemy Country”/”Tammy and the Doctor”/”Six Black Horses”)directs this low-budget routine Western, that has only the charisma of Audie Murphy going for it.Otherwiseit suffers from its slight plotline and its unconvincing action sequences and cheap production values.WriterClair Huffaker turns in the uneven script from his novel.

Rookie Texas RangerSeven Ways From Sundown Jones (Audie Murphy) arrives at the Ranger headquarters in Buckley, Texas, andis surprisingly ordered by Lt. Herly (Ken Tobey) to go with Sgt. Hennessey (John McIntire) to bring in the dangerous notorious outlaw Jim Flood (Barry Sullivan). The sergeant questions why at least six experienced men are not sent. Flood recently killed four people over a poker game at the town of Beekers Crossing, Texas, and burned down the saloon.

The titular hero is the seventh child in a family named by dad in the number they were delivered. Seven’s older brother Two was a Texas Ranger killed last spring at Big Bend. Hennessey knows that Flood killed him, but thinks it unwise to mention it. Instead he mentors the novice on pistol shooting and how to conduct himself as a Ranger. Before going on the trail at dawn after the charmer tricky outlaw, Seven that night falls in love with the cook’s daughter for the Rangers, Joy Karrington (Venetia Stevenson).

The lawmen pretending to be outlaw friends of Flood, learn from a dance hall girlfriend (Suzanne Lloyd) of Flood’s his direction by out-thinking Flood and realizing he would give her the wrong directions. Out in the open plains, Flood waits in ambush and guns down the sergeant. Seven goes on alone, against the sergeant’s advice, and tracks down Flood in New Mexico, and then has the problem of bringing the wounded outlaw back to justice in Texas. To do that he must stop Flood several times from jumping him, put a bullet in a greedy New Mexico bounty hunter trying to take his prisoner, beat off an Apache raiding party because he’s crossing over their sacred grounds and then must shoot it out with Flood’s outlaw rival, the Hanley gang, to stop them from nabbing his prisoner. On the way back the outlaw and kid bond, but because of the outlaw’s reckless nature and past history as a killer he fails to convince the kid to partner with him. Flood also knows that Seven’s brother was killed because a cowardly Ranger deserted him during the attempted apprehension of Flood, and the viewer if he hasn’t figured out who it was up to at this point will now find out it’s a Ranger in a high place.

I liked it better than I should have because I’m a fan of Audie’s and find it easy to overlook his limited acting range.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”