John Sayles debut film, “Return of the Secaucus Seven,” gave birth to the modern independent film. Here’s a film, shot in static locations, with no camera angles, made in twenty five days on a budget of forty thousand dollars, filmed in 1978 and released two years later. There was a time when these details were special, when independent film was special, not just a pile of “product,” one of thousands made each year, to be given away by their makers, because there’s no interest. Forget John Cassavetes, who only spoke to the snobby film literati set. “Return of the Secaucus Seven” was the first indie film seen by the mall crowd. It was the first independent film they showed on my local affiliate which is saying something. The film is like that: a pioneering experiment. It’s something, anything, and it was the first. Where now it’s like, “Hey, would somebody please watch my independent movie?”, back in 1980 it was, “HERE’S MY INDEPENDENT MOVIE!” Of course, Burt Reynolds was also the number one box office draw in America at the time. And no, “Return of the Secaucus Seven” is not the name of a Spanish Western. This is a real movie, warts and all, bare bones and vanilla, before independent films felt an overwhelming need to be “about something.” The film is basically about itself, its form, and for those who don’t like those kinds of films, it offers no apologies. For the unadventurous, or untraveled moviegoer, “Return of the Secaucus Seven” is a rebuke.
Get the rest of the story in the next part of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE “SECAUCUS SEVEN?”>>>