- 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: Kirk Douglas, John Frankenheimer, 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:
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Release Date: May 16 2000
- Run Time: 118 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00004RF83
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Seven Days in May (Widescreen) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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. Burt Lancaster does his usual steely Burt Lancaster thing as the film's villain and Kirk Douglas meets him line for line as a subordinate who begins to doubt his boss's integrity. Ava Gardner gives a somewhat weird performance as the film's lone female character; she walks through the film as if drugged, but it works. And Edmond O'Brien won an Oscar nomination as a hot-tempered southern senator and friend to the president, somewhat curious since March's performance of all of them seems ripe for Academy consideration.
"Seven Days in May" isn't as taut a film as "The Manchurian Candidate," and it's more heavy handed in its political agenda (this severely dates the film), but it's still a rousing good time and comes highly recommended.
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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