Seven Days in May [VHS] 
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When American President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) prepares to sign a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James M. Scott (Burt Lancaster) takes moves to stop him. While Scott and other opposed generals work on a coup d'etat, aide Colonel 'Jiggs' Casey (Kirk Douglas) finds out what they are up to and warns Lyman. However, the President's attempts to gain proof are thwarted when the men he sends to obtain it are either captured or killed by Scott.
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But when the General's aide Colonel Casey (Kirk Douglas), accidentally uncovers the plot, Casey has to try and convince the President, and the inner circle, before it is to late.
With a story line that includes murder,kidnapping,and blackmail, the viewer is kept in suspense right up the final scene.
A superb cast that includes Lancaster, Douglas, Edmond O'Brien,
Ava Gardner, Frederick March as President Lyman, George Macready, and Martin Balsam, and directed by the master John Frankenheimer, this is a superb political thriller, and comes highly recommended.
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.
1. John Frankenheimer [aka: John Michael Frankenheimer] [Director]
Date of Birth: 19 February 1930, New York City, New York
Date of Death: 6 July 2002, Los Angeles, California
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The story was adjusted a little from the book (ASIN: 0553269569) to accommodate the media, however the essence of the story is still there. Place the ASIN number in the search engine to find the book.
The timing of the movie was perfect as it was during the cold war. And we are not out of the woods today. Anyway the President 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) sot 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). Yea right. Colonel Martin 'Jiggs' Casey, Scott's right hand man gets suspicious. He thinks Scott is planning "Yea 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 lets face the real question this movie poses. Does the end justify the means? Or is the end the results of the means?
Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Classic movie, far superior than the remake!!!
Great performances all round.
Classic atmospheric thriller, all the better for having a great big hitting cast working together in black and white, which always heightens the importance of dialogue and plot. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Stephen Bacon