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RICHARD RUSH DIRECTS ADAM ROARKE IN 'THE SAVAGE SEVEN'

Title: THE SAVAGE SEVEN Director: Richard Rush Year: 1968 Score: ***1/2

Perhaps the reason most 1970's Westerns played like violently marauding, town-taking-over biker flicks is that biker flicks from the 1960's were in fact fully-charged/revved-up modern Westerns... 

Especially with Richard Rush's THE SAVAGE SEVEN about a rural, dilapidated Indian Reservation resembling a ghost town slum where white actors Robert Walker Jr and John Cardos, along with half-black Max Julien, play the Indian residents, initially dealing with that titular gang led by an otherwise polite, handsome and helpful Adam Roarke... 

Penny Marshall with John Garwood in THE SAVAGE SEVEN with Adam Roarke

But soon enough it's the greedy store-owners that inadvertently turn our edgy bikers into good guys by comparison; which doesn't keep the titular gang... including sex-fiend Larry Bishop, burly mascot Richard Anders and Roarke's serious sidekick John Garwood...  from Raising Cain while bedding down (equally) miscast Caucasian squaws... 

These gruff albeit mostly likeable mutts are curbed by director Richard Rush's instigating stuntmen/actor regulars Gary Kent and Chuck Bail, knockaround pros making ample use of the perfect-for-fighting movie sets, inside and outside, including their swinging bonfire headquarters, further down the road...

John Bud Cardos, Max Julien & Robert Walker Jr. in The Savage 7 

Ironically, SAVAGE SEVEN never acquired much of a cult following since it's really not that bad; in fact the worst aspect, other than particular scenes of ponderous dialogue that make ten minutes feel an eternity, is that the ambiguous theme song, ANYONE FOR TENNIS by Cream, leaves out the groovy/magical bridge...

Meanwhile Adam Roarke, smitten with melancholy local Joanna Frank, smoothly underplays rough and romantic, making he and director Rush's  HELL'S ANGELS ON WHEELS feel like batting practice. 

Adam Roarke in The Savage 7 
Local sellers Billy Green Bush & Charles Bail in The Savage 7 
Larry Bishop as Joint in The Savage 7 
John Garwood and Penny Marshall in The Savage 7 
Robert Walker Jr in The Savage 7 
Susannah Darrow and John Garwood in The Savage 7 
Larry Bishop as Joint in The Savage 7 
Adam Rourke in The Savage 7 
John Garwood and Penny Marshall in The Savage Seven
Richard Anders quasi seduced by the late Max Julien in The Savage 7 
Adam Rourke with Robert Walker Jr. and Richard Anders in The Savage 7 
Adam Roarke in The Savage 7 with Larry Bishop and John Garwood
John Bud Cardos, Max Julien & Robert Walker Jr. in The Savage 7 
Poster artwork for SAVAGE 7 directed by Richard Rush starring Adam Roarke
Richard Rush stock trouper Adam Roarke in Richard Rush's the Savage 7
Susannah Darrow with John Garwood in Richard Rush's Savage 7
John Garwood and Penny Marshall in The Savage 7 with Adam Roarke and many others

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