1971 Marianne McAndrew
"The Seven Minutes" represents a departure for producer-director-writer Russ Meyer in several ways. After producing 19 low cost sexploitation films (top budget was $90,000) which were tremendously successful and so well made that one major critic described Meyer as "the best craftsman and only artist in this field," Meyer was signed by 20th Century-Fox where he created "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls." This film more-or-less followed Meyer's approach in his earlier offerings in that it was lusty, exaggerated, violent, with an added quality of camp humor.
With this background, Mr. Meyer has had plenty of experience with censorship, making him ideally suited for "The Seven Minutes," which is a study of a hypocritical employment of censorship for unworthy political ends. Paradoxically, this is Meyer's most restrained film in the areas of sex, nudity and violence although the various characters operate within the framework of today's permissiveness. And, of course, in a story about censorship and alleged pornography there must be something sufficiently provocative to make a prosecution for obscenity a reasonable possibility.
However, Meyer makes his point seriously and in this film declined the broad, bawdy, humor that has marked his previous work.
Another innovation for Meyer was his making "The Seven Minutes" with experienced actors.
Even "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," his most ambitious previous project, had only a scattering of pros with the vast majority of the cast virtual newcomers. The cast of "The Seven Minutes" ranges from such old pros as Yvonne DeCarlo, Philip Carey, Jay C. Flippen, Lyle Bettger and John Carradine to a pair of relative newcomers, Wayne Maunder and Marianne McAndrew, in the leading roles.
"The Seven Minutes" marks Wayne Maunder's debut in a feature film, though he has starred in two TV series, "Lancer" and "Custer," and has done extensive Shakespeare acting in the American Shakespeare Festival.
Marianne McAndrew first attracted movie attention as the pretty milliner in "Hello Dolly" and was promptly typed as a musical comedy performer. This was rather devastating as Hollywood is no longer making any musicals. In "The Seven Minutes," she has a straight dramatic role and even gets to play a nude scene after being covered from feet to chin in "Dolly."
After completing "The Seven Minutes," Yvonne DeCarlo made her Broadway debut in "Follies," the reigning musical hit. Miss DeCarlo had previously conquered films in "Salome Where She Danced," "Band of Angels," "The Ten Commandments" and "The Captain's Paradise," among dozens of others.
"The Seven Minutes" does have one graduate from the sexy shenanigans of "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," gorgeous Edy Williams. She is now Mrs. Russ Meyer and in this film she is playing a more or less proper society girl.
This marks the first time that Meyer has worked from a recognized literary work. All his prior films have been from concepts he dreamed up and then, either singlehandedly or in collaboration, developed into a screenplay. Irving Wallace, author of the original novel, "The Seven Minutes," is one of the world's most prolific and successful writers. "The Seven Minutes" sold 475,000 copies in hardcover and millions in paperback.
Wallace also has had to cope with problems of censorship. While none of his books have actually been banned in the U.S., his publishers, Simon and Schuster, were not allowed to advertise "The Seven Minutes" in nine American cities from Boston to Dallas. His novel, "The Chapman Report," was charged with obscenity in Italy and was acquitted. "The Prize" was considered a defaming of the Nobel Prize, a prohibition which has since been lifted. South Africa has forbidden several Wallace works because of their inter-racial content, notably "The Man."
"The Seven Minutes" is about the censorship problems of a fictitious novel called "The Seven Minutes" by a fictitious writer named J.J. Jadway.
The film required the use of hundreds of copies of the fictitious novel. So 20th Century-Fox commissioned Paul Bacon, the artist who had fashioned the misty nude on the dust jacket of the Wallace book, to slightly alter it for dust jackets printed up with Jadway's name substituted for Wallace's. The book inside the jacket is a slim volume by another author.