Seven Days In May


D: John Frankenheimer

Paramount/Seven Arts (Edward Lewis)

US 1964

118 mins


W: Rod Serling [based on the novel by Fletcher Knebel & Charles W. Bailey II]

DP: Ellsworth Fredericks

Ed: Ferris Webster

Mus: Jerry Goldsmith

PD: Cary Odell

Burt Lancaster (Gen. James Mattoon Scott), Kirk Douglas (Gen. Martin 'Jiggs' Casey), Fredric March (President Jordan Lyman), Ava Gardner (Eleanor Holbrook), Edmond O'Brien (Sen. Ray Clark), Martin Balsam (Paul Girard)

Seven Days In May is a bit of an oddity, in that it manages to be both ahead of its time, but is also incredibly dated.

Released in 1964, this political thriller depicted a future with advanced technology for its time, but looking back on it now, it probably wouldn't even be noticed (let's call it the Star Trek paradox).

The story sees a colonel uncover a military plot to depose the United States president following political tensions with a similar background to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Fredric March play a trio of leads, but it's probably the latter who delivers the strongest performance, despite all three being excellent, whilst Edmond O'Brien steals the film with an Oscar-nominated performance as a corrupt senator.

The novel the film was based upon was a favourite of John F. Kennedy, who insisted that it should be adapted into a motion picture. Quite ironically, it was the assassination of JFK that caused the film's release to be set back a few months. 

From a modern day point of view, it's still worth watching to witness the cast of screen icons all delivering excellent performances, but everything else would have been much more impressive had it been watched during the 60's.


Burt Lancaster & Kirk Douglas in Seven Days In May
Burt Lancaster & Kirk Douglas in Seven Days In May