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Seven Days in May (Widescreen) (Sous-titres français) [Import]

4.5 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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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, Import
  • 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 43 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00004RF83
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Product Description

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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
I'd been meaning to see this film for many years and finally did last year in our local photography museum's theater. They used the DVD and I was not only very impressed with the film itself, but the quality of the DVD's image projected on the big screen as well. This was one of those times where I left the theater saying to myself, "Now THAT'S how movies should be made!" I feel Leonard Maltin's review is sufficient; I will only add that some of the rocket models (intermingled with scale models of real ones) used to decorate Gen. Scott (Burt Lancaster)'s office and the Senate hearing room looked like cheap props out of bad science fiction movies, but that was only a minor distraction for me. Lancaster's character was quite frightening, Fredric March made a believable President of the United States, Edmond O'Brien turns in another great character performance (this time as a Senator from Georgia), and the title sequence (reportedly by Saul Bass) coupled with Jerry Goldsmith's score is quite dramatic. And I found it amusing that Kirk Douglas (Col. Casey) once again crossed swords with George MacReady (Sec'y. Todd) and Richard Anderson (Col. Murdock) as he previously did in "Paths of Glory!"
My only complaint with the DVD is that it did not have more in the way of supplemental features, especially more complete cast information than was provided in the film itself. I was interested in knowing who other actors in minor roles were since a good many of them are not listed at all (most notably John Houseman as Adm. Barnswell); I ended up having to go to the Internet Movie Database for that. Other than that (and a few other very minor technical nitpicks in the plot), this is indeed a true classic and I'm proud to have it in my collection.
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Format: DVD
John Frankenheimer (who died not very long ago) left us with a terrific repertoire of films, yet I don't hear his name mentioned often in discussions about influential American directors. "Seven Days in May" seems to be all but forgotten; at least, I don't know anyone who's seen it or even heard of it. But it's a terrific political intrigue film, its impact lessened only somewhat by the release of "The Manchurian Candidate" two years earlier.
There's no mistaking the John Frankenheimer style: the sharp black and white cinematography, stark sets and lighting, claustrophobic compositions. Faces are framed in extreme close-up to completely dominate the screen. He uses deep focus effectively; two characters will be having a conversation in the foreground, but a third will be constantly in view in the background, as if to suggest that every whispered secret has the potential to be overheard.
This style is fabulously on display in "Candidate" and is reprised here in "Seven Days in May." Frankenheimer makes great use in both films of TV screens: a character will be simultaneously in view of the film's camera and projected on a screen within the world of the film, giving the movie viewer different angles of the same scene both literally and figuratively; since media plays a role so frequently in his movies, Frankenheimer constantly draws our attention to its existence and the power it has to manipulate what we perceive to be the truth.
As for the performances, there is no improving on Fredric March's understated interpretation of an ailing president, stuck in the dilemma of acting in what he thinks is the country's best interests even though the country itself is rejecting his beliefs.
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