Seven Days in May

SevenDaysInMaySuggested by Brad Nelson • United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack. It’s an excellent cold war drama, made at a time when tension between this country and the Soviet Union was at boiling point.
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2 Responses to Seven Days in May

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This is the kind of slightly stilted morality tale that you figure would have Henry Fonda cast as the squishy president. In this case, it’s Fredric March in one of his best roles.

    Some of the military brass, especially including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Burt Lancaster, oppose the president’s agreement (about to take effect) with the Ruskies of total nuclear disarmament. Lancaster thinks it’s a fool deal, that the Russians will cheat (When have they ever not, he says) and plunge this country into destruction.

    The fun part, from a conservative perspective, is seeing the libtard sensibilities of the president (Fredric March) so thoroughly rhetorically whipped by Lancaster who, of course, will eventually be the bad guy with the president being the preserver of American ideals (by leaving ourselves open to nuclear attack, of course).

    But give March credit, he’s not Henry Fonda and is the better for it. His stance, while clearly foolish, does not come form a man that you don’t otherwise respect. And, of course, as sensible as Lancaster is, his opposition (in movie terms…that means, in social terms as well) will be discredited because he’s part of a plot to overthrow the government.

    But it’s a great cast of characters, especially including the central character, Kirk Douglas, who plays the top aid to Lancaster and begins to think something is going on. Ava Gardner is thrown in this for no other reason than that she’s Ava Gardner, but it’s a good role and makes for some nice scenes between her and Douglas.

    If you can choke down the ass-backwards morality tale, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Note that the movie is based on the novel by Fletcher Knebel. In that novel, it turns out that the Soviets are trying to cheat, and Jordan Lyman has to figure out the best way of dealing with that even as he fends off the plot. The climax, in which a series of major events finally go their way at the key moment, is a lovely one.

    Knebel was noted for his political thrillers, of course (and solidly liberal, albeit at a time when that didn’t mean what it does now). He also wrote Convention (about a Republican convention roiled by the favorite’s stance in favor of watching the defense budget as carefully as the domestic budget — a much better notion half a century ago), Night of Camp David (about a junior senator who comes to realize that the popular president is paranoid), and Vanished (about the difference of a key federal advisor, which eventually gets linked to a proposed nuclear disarmament), as well as others.

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