Once you get past Jeffrey Hunter (at thirty-seven) playing a character about fifteen years younger–and some other significant bumps, Seven Miles of Bad Road isn’t entirely bad. It shouldn’t be entirely bad, even with those bumps, but it’s an episode of “The Chrysler Theatre,” shot on limited sets with limited imagination from director Heyes.
Heyes also wrote the teleplay, which tries real hard. Heyes is talking about big issues–he’s talking about men, women, post-war, youth, age, responsibility, regret. There’s subtext about race and class and all sorts of things. Heyes doesn’t know how to direct any of it. He doesn’t know how to direct his actors. Neville Brand–as Eleanor Parker’s abusive husband–is simultaneously good and bad in the part.
The overbearing Jerry Goldsmith music doesn’t help.
Parker and Hunter have their problems due to Heyes’s direction, but they’re effective. Parker’s got a couple fantastic scenes.
Written and directed by Douglas Heyes; “The Chrysler Theatre” executive produced by Roy Huggins; music by Jerry Goldsmith; produced by Richard Berg; aired by the National Broadcasting Company.
Starring Eleanor Parker (Fern Selman), Jeffrey Hunter (Gabe Flanders), Neville Brand (Sheriff Rufus Selman), James Anderson (Bert) and Bernie Hamilton (Joe).