Gold of the Seven Saints

Gold of the Seven Saints

"Gold of the Seven Saints" is the film version of a 1957 Steve Frazee novel titled "Desert Guns." Released by Warner Brothers in 1961, this 88-minute film starred Clint Walker, Roger Moore, Leticia Roman, Charles Middleton, and Chill Wills. It was directed by Gordon Douglas, who'd earlier directed Clint Walker in 1958's "Fort Dobbs" and 1959's "Yellowstone Kelly." Leigh Brackett wrote the screenplay and Joseph F. Biroc provided the striking black-and-white photography, most of which occurred in and around Arches National Park in Utah. The film did not do notably well at the boxoffice, perhaps indicating that Clint Walker was more a TV star -- thanks to his "Cheyenne" series -- than a movie star. Another factor may have been the glut of TV westerns in the late 1950s and early 1960s which diminished their appeal on the big screen.

The plot of "Gold of the Seven Saints" involves two itinerant adventurers who stumble upon a gold strike and who then find their lives in danger as a result of this discovery. Walker and Moore play the adventurers as "mismatched buddies." Walker is the older, more taciturn of the two whereas Moore provides a bit of comic relief with his volatile, talkative manner. Despite their squabbles and complaints, one senses a deep affection between this pair, an affection which not even the desirable (and available) Leticia Roman can challenge.

Not surprisingly, Walker gets to take his shirt off for a scene in which he bathes, (while standing up), inside a large barrel. Moore, however, gets most of the "beefcake" footage when he's captured by the villains. They strip him to the waist, stake him out on the ground, and tie strips of wet rawhide around his chest. As these strips shrink, they'll "encourage" Moore to reveal the location of the gold. (In Frazee's novel, this torture involved wrapping the victim completely inside a freshly-cut hide, but such a method would hide the actor from view and would probably be too distasteful for most audiences.)

"Seven Saints," incidentally, is the name of a town.

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