Seven Arts Productions presents "SEVEN DAYS IN MAY" (1964) (118 min/B&W) -- Starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Frederic March, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien & Martin Balsam
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Adapted by Rod Serling from the best-selling novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles Waldo Bailey II, Seven Days in May was allegedly inspired by the far-right ramblings of one General Edwin Walker. Burt Lancaster plays General James M. Scott, who, convinced that liberal President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) is soft on America's enemies, plots a military takeover of the United States. Every effort made by President Lyman to find concrete evidence of General Scott's scheme is scuttled by political protocol, human error and accidental death. Ultimately, Lyman must rely upon the man who first uncovered the plot: Scott's best friend, Colonel "Jiggs" Casey (Kirk Douglas). John Frankenheimer's terse direction and Ellsworth Fredericks' stark black and white photography add considerably to the this absolute ripper of a film.
Oscar Nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Edmond O'Brien) Oscar Nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Cary Odell & Edward G. Boyle)
Special footnote: -- Kirk Douglas had originally signed to play Gen. James Mattoon Scott. Douglas eventually realized that his friend Burt Lancaster would be ideal as Scott, and took the less flashy role of Col. Martin "Jiggs" Casey after Lancaster signed on to the film. Fifth of seven films that Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster made together.
Every president and government since this film is always weighed against the characters in this film. People are paranoid on both sides of the issue. Do not think it is not still relevant today. The story was adjusted a little from the book "Seven Days in May" by Fletcher Knebel to accommodate the media; however the essence of the story is still there. The timing of the movie was perfect as it was during the cold war. And we are not out of the woods today. Anyway President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) is planning a disarmament treaty. Everyone knows including the President that the Soviets never keep a promise. How ever something has to be done and the President thinks he has a workable plan. Openly opposed to the plan is General James Mattoon Scott (Burt Lancaster) sort of a Douglas MacArther of his time. Covertly opposed is the Vice Admiral Farley C. Barnswell (John Houseman) sort of the Admiral Nimitz of his time. Being opposed is one thing; however the constitution leaves only one way to handle this situation (the election). Yeah right. Colonel Martin 'Jiggs' Casey (Kirk Douglas), Scott's right hand man gets suspicious. He thinks Scott is planning "Yeah right" for real and brings this suspicion to the Whithouse. As the story unfolds is the threat real and if so what can be done about it? Whose side are you on? If you were Jiggs working for a great General and a good friend, what would you do? Where should loyalty lay? If the president relied on blackmail, would he be any better then the opposition? How would the Soviets react to a military take over in the US? OK let's face the real question this movie poses: Does the end justify the means? Or is the end the results of the means? There is a 1994 remake of this film "The Enemy Within" (1994)