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Seven Days in May (Widescreen)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien
  • Directors: John Frankenheimer
  • Writers: Charles W. Bailey II, Fletcher Knebel, Rod Serling
  • Producers: Edward Lewis
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: May 16 2000
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RF83
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #23,997 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

John Frankenheimer's follow-up to The Manchurian Candidate is as intimate and subdued as its predecessor is flamboyant and energetic. Burt Lancaster is calm and calculating as the steely-eyed military hawk General Scott, who opposes the president's (Fredric March) plan to end the cold war with a bold nuclear disarmament plan. Lancaster's longtime friend and frequent costar Kirk Douglas is his smiling, joking right-hand man, Colonel "Jiggs" Casey, whose easygoing manner is jolted by evidence of a possible plot to overthrow the American government. Scripted by Rod Serling from the novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey, the film plays much like a classic live TV drama (the medium that spawned both Frankenheimer and Serling), with the drama arising from conversations and confrontations and the action largely limited to scenes within the Pentagon and the White House. An ominous undercurrent of danger seeps through the realistic (and often real) settings of the film, conveyed chiefly through the intensity of the excellent ensemble performances. Notable among the supporting cast are Ava Gardner as a lonely Washington socialite who was once the general's mistress, Edmond O'Brien as an amiable alcoholic senator, Martin Balsam as the president's shrewd but skeptical secretary, and underrated character actor George Macready as the wily presidential advisor. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Greg on Feb. 12 2003
Format: DVD
Seven Days in May is a wonderful cold-war suspense drama that looks superb on DVD. It features excellent acting and a truly unique and riveting storyline. The story, written primarily by Rod Serling (he of the Twilight Zone), describes the events leading up to a near-military coup within the U.S. at the height of the cold war. Given that the U.S. represents the largest fully democratic system of government on Earth, a military coup would usually be unthinkable. However, Serling makes the possibility semi-plausible: an unpopular pacifistic president, the threat of nuclear war, and a rising military star who is revered by the joint chiefs.
The acting is amazing. Lancaster and Douglas are at their very best here. And Frederic March easily gives the best portrayal of any U.S. president in a movie. He shows exactly the right mix of emotions: you see his leadership skills, his diplomacy skills, and even his own weaknesses. Two amazing scenes stand out: the one between Douglas and March where the coup is revealed and the one between March and Lancaster near the end of the film. Martin Balsam and John Houseman are equally convincing -- the latter actor only appears for a short time onscreen, but milks the time for all its worth.
The DVD is worth purchasing for 2 reasons. The picture quality is great and the movie looks crisp in its original 1:85:1 ratio. The second reason is that you get to hear the excellent commentary of the late John Frankenheimer, who goes into extraordinary detail about the scenes. He even relates one story where his ex-wife noticed a set decoration in apartment owned by Ava Gardener's character that Frankenheimer stole from the house they shared together -- it's a total crack up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JOHN GODFREY on July 1 2004
Format: VHS Tape
That is General James Matoon Scott, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, played by Burt Lancaster. He is dismissive & looks down on everyone including the president whom he despises for his perceived weakness. The President (Fredrick March) has decided to unilaterally disarm our nuclear weapons. General Scott will attempt to seize power. This concerns Col. "Jiggs" Casey, (Kirk Douglas) Scott's chief of staff & best friend. Douglas's character is the key. He informs the president of the plot, as it becomes known to him & contacts Scott's old mistress (Ava Gardner). Edmund O'Brien won an Oscar as the president's best friend, a drunken southern senator. Rounding out the fine cast is Martin Balsam as a presidential advisor. The suspense builds as they attempt to stop the coup. No special effects here, very little action of any kind.
Frankenheimer has a more subtle touch in this movie, the follow-up to the Manchrian Canidate. This one is not quite as good but still an engossing flick.
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Format: DVD
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.

BIOS:
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

2.
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Format: DVD
One year after "The Manchurian Candidate", John Frankenheimer was back at it with "Seven Days in May", screenwritten by "Twi-Light Zone" creator Rod Serling. Serling's "Zone's" were a masterpiece of semi-liberal social conscience. Frankenheimer seized on another 1950s novel based on the real events of 1934, in which Republican industrialists recruited Marine hero Smedley Butler to orchestrate a coup d'etat against FDR. The novel and Frankenheimer's film fictionalize the event. It was, again, one of the best movies ever made, but completely liberal. Frankly, I have to ask why in 1963 the decision was made to examine a political conspiracy from 1934 when the worst political crime in U.S. history, the stealing of the 1960 election by Kennedy over Nixon, had occurred just three years prior. The answer to that question, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.
After JFK's assassination, "The Manchurian Candidate" was pulled because it hit too close to home, but in June, 1968 RFK was staying at Frankenheimer's Malibu home the night of the California Primary. He was tired and wanted to stay there. The enthusiasm of his victory that night convinced him to make the long drive on a twisting, turning Pacific Coast Highway, up the Santa Monica Freeway to downtown Los Angeles, where Sirhan Sirhan was waiting for him with a gun at the Ambassador Hotel.
Kirk Douglas is the Butler character In "Seven Days In May", an upright Marine whose politics are explained early by a fellow officer who says to him, "I though you'd be an ACLU lawyer by now, protecting the great unwashed." Douglas describes this officer as the kind who would be better suited for an army that goosesteps. Good dialogue, though. Burt Lancaster is the right wing Air Force General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
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