Moore Not Less - Gold of the Seven Saints
Gold of the Seven Saints is a 1961
Western that features Roger Moore alongside Clint Walker. The director
Gordon Douglas and Clint Walker had already made 1958's Fort Dobbs and
1959's Yellowstone Kelly together and Gold of the Seven Saints was
their final Western collaboration. Walker is the lead and Gold of the
Seven Saints feels like an attempt to make the brawny actor (then
appearing in the popular television series Cheyenne) and Roger stars on
the big screen. Clint Walker, who was 6'6 tall and built like Arnold
Schwarzenegger, never really became a big star in the end though. Fans
of seventies made for television horror movies might know Walker from
such guilty pleasures as Killdozer! and Snowbeast.
this time Roger had already done The Alaskans on the small screen and
taken on a regular role in the television series Maverick so one could
forgive him if he was starting to tire of Westerns somewhat. This is
that stage in Roger's career where he was still gamely trying (but
failing) to become a star in Hollywood. He was in his thirties by now
and coudn't be really be called a young up and coming actor anymore. A
year after this film came out, Roger began playing Simon Templar in the
TV show The Saint - which of course eventually led to James Bond a
decade later. You could say the message of Roger's career is that
patience sometimes has its rewards. You just have to keep plugging away.
of the Seven Saints is sometimes dubbed an inferior The Treasure of the
Sierra Madre and while, yes, it's true that Sierra Madre is a much
better film, Gold of the Seven Saints is an interesting and well made
picture with some beautiful photography by Joseph F Biroc. What is the
plot of Gold of the Seven Saints? Trappers Jim Rainbolt (Clint Walker)
and Shaun Garrett (Roger) discover some gold but when Garrett uses a
nugget of this gold in order to escape a charge of horse theft he
attracts the attention of the bandit McCracken (Gene Evans) and his
mob. Rainbolt and Garrett soon have their hands full trying to keep
their gold safe and their lives secure...
on a 1957 Steve Frazee novel titled Desert Gun, Gold of the Seven
Saints is a passable Western that benefits from the outdoor location
work. The film looks great in sepia tones and the lack of too many
interiors prevents it from ever seeming cheap or constrictive despite
the fact that it clearly didn't have the most lavish budget at its
disposal. The plot is fairly simple but works well enough to set up all
manner of trouble for our central characters as they find some
unwelcome eyes turning towards the stash of gold they are rumoured to
have stumbled across.
is a solid stock baddie as the dubious McCracken and the film manages
to introduce a range of characters without feeling as if they have been
too artificially inserted into the story. Rainbolt and Garrett take
refuge with Amos Gondora (Robert Middleton) and his Indian ward Tita
(Leticia Roman). Roger is required to wrestle with an Irish accent here
and while the accent is never completely convincing he doesn't do too
bad a job with the task. Roger and Clint Walker make a surprisingly
good team and the two characters are so close and devoted to one
another that Gold of the Seven Saints almost develops a homoerotic
quality. Both Walker and Rog get to bare their chests a lot although
Walker is clearly the one who has spent his spare time in the gym!
as Rainbolt is more laconic and laid-back with Roger required to be the
more chirpy talkative one. Roger Moore is plainly a lot better at
comedy than Walker so he plays the lighter and more boyish sort of
character here. Once his accent settles down he does this competently
and both characters are likeable, giving us someone to root for.
Walker, with his amazingly deep voice, delivers every line he has in
the same deep monotone drawl however perilous the situation may be.
Roman is the only thing that threatens to come between them but this is
a warm, cosy Western and you know things will probably turn out pretty
fine in the end. There is some decently staged action but it's not
particularly violent. Chill Wills also lends some authentic Western
support as medicine man Doc Gates. The scorching heat almost blazes
through the screen at times and the characters are made to look
suitably sweat caked. The score is very good too on the whole. There
are some suspenseful cues when appropriate and then some old fashioned
sweeping melodrama in other spots.
its modest budget, Gold of the Seven Saints is quite compelling at its
very best - especially the section at the start of the film where
Rainbolt and Garrett must negotiate the harsh alienation of the desert
landscape. This minimalist approach has some rewards for those who fall
under the spell of the atmosphere and backdrops. Gold of the Seven
Saints is a competent and entertaining little Western and worth a look
if you've never seen it before. At around 85 minutes this film never
threatens to overstay its welcome and is always a fairly easy and
interesting experience. It's not exactly The Searchers but Gold of the
Seven Saints is a perfectly watchable and decent little film.
Buy No Time to Die - The Unofficial Companion.