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Seven Days in May

Posted by martinteller on April 21, 2012

When the President signs a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets, the top military brass hatch a sinister plot to take hold of the government.  Frankenheimer delivers another wonderfully constructed paranoid thriller.  It’s a milieu he seems to excel at, and you might consider this part of a trilogy with Manchurian Candidate and Seconds (a different sort of paranoid thriller, but the essence is still there).  I support being a little paranoid about our military, though.  Like Dr. Strangelove there’s a healthy bit of sanity in worrying about men with such power abusing it.

This film doesn’t have an ounce of Strangelove‘s humor, but it is a breath of fresh air in times of Cold War jitters about the Evil Empire and all that.  And it holds up well as a thriller.  The situation builds nicely as the situation escalates and splinters into different subplots as they try to uncover the details of the scheme.  And the cast is superb.  Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster (as in I Walk Alone, squaring off against each other), Frederic March, Edmond O’Brien, Martin Balsam.  Ava Gardner is billed rather high for her miniscule role, but she plays it very nicely.  I really like George Macready, too… I don’t think about him much, but I realized how much I enjoy his performances.

I know this is a pretty weak review.  Not much in a writing mood today, I’m afraid.  I did really enjoy the film, although it seems to lose steam a bit at the end.  Rating: Very Good


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